Picking the Perfect Braid

Buyer Beware

Edward Gaw January 28, 2015

While comparison shopping for braid, I came across confusing numbers regarding diameter, specifically from one brand to the next for the same strength line. How is that possible? – Phil DeLuca.

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Photo: doughertyphotos.com

Line diameter is crucial in the selection of traditional fishing lines, and as technology spawns more choices in raw material and polymer extrusion processes continue to advance, specific line selection becomes even more complex. Additional considerations include target species, reel class and line capacity, and a host of environmental factors—all of which influence a multi-dimensional decision.

…the Internet remains a dangerous place, and advertised diameters have limited accuracy with manufacturers exercising some level of poetic license…

Considering braided fishing line and its inherent characteristics, and it’s easy to understand why the introduction of multifilament super lines has both complicated and simplified the decision making process.

Monofilament line comparisons use a collection of specifications to separate one from the other, including breaking strength, stretch factor, diameter, clarity and base material. In the past, these metrics were sufficient to select and justify, or defend a particular line choice for any specific application. However, the comparison among braided fishing lines requires serious caution, and nowhere is this more evident than in the precise measurement of high performance braided fibers.

The angling benefits of fishing with braid include reduced diameters at stated strength, greater line capacity, reduced stretch and heightened sensitivity. In combination with additional factors, ultra-thin braid has allowed anglers to explore new depths and improve bait presentation, while also leading to new techniques never before possible.

The simple fact is that it is extremely difficult to accurately gauge diameter on a braided product. It is not the same as monofilament nor can it be treated the same. The use of a micrometer requires great care be taken when applying pressure through the measuring device. At the thinnest line classes, even the slightest variation can lead to significant swings in reported diameters. This becomes especially true when measuring hollow core products. Sadly, the lack of industry standards for the precise measurement of braid makes comparisons relatively inaccurate and confusing to the general public.

Keep in mind that diameter determines line capacity. For this reason, a number of line manufacturers report a monofilament equivalent diameter for their braided fishing lines. This serves as a proxy for fishermen calculating how much braid to purchase to fill one, or multiple reels.

In the meantime, the Internet remains a dangerous place, and advertised diameters have limited accuracy with manufacturers exercising some level of poetic license in the publication of their braid diameters. In the absence of uniform measurement standards, stated diameters can vary wildly when comparing one brand of braided line to the next.

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