ArticleGear

Numbers Game

Premium Superlines woven with high molecular weight polyethylene fibers revolutionized the industry by influencing the way anglers approach unique fisheries and also how manufacturers design the latest rods, reels and lures. Thanks to ultra-thin diameter braid, anglers have pushed tackle and technique to the extremes and continue to excel in the development of new angling methodology once unfathomable.

The benefits of fishing with braid are numerous and include reduced diameters at any given strength, low memory, greater line capacity and heightened sensitivity. In combination with these attributes, braid has allowed anglers to explore new depths and improve bait presentation across all venues. From daytime swordfishing to drop-shotting Lake O largemouth, braid is arguably the most significant development in the history of sport fishing.

When it comes to manufacturing technique-specific braid, the quality of chosen fibers and filaments, number of carriers, picks per inch, coatings, color, softness, shape and end price must all be considered. Like many aspects of sport fishing there’s not always a single best choice to suit every scenario, with educated anglers entrusting several strategy specific lines.

Photography: doughertyphotos.com

Braid from any manufacturer comprises individual strands of Dyneema or Spectra that are then entwined together in a tight and uniform pattern with incredible precision and customization extending to the specific tension of each individual bobbin. The newest braided lines are woven with a select number of threads, called carriers, to achieve the manufacturer’s desired properties. Picks per inch is the entry noting when one carrier, or thread, crosses another in the weaving process. Ultimately, choosing carrier count is largely determined by application, preferences and desires. Are you looking for maximum reel capacity? Is a perfectly round line best suited for your application? Whatever is most important, you can count on remarkable abrasion resistance, incredible sensitivity and overall excellent fishability as technology continues to evolve.

The comparison among braided fishing lines requires serious caution and the lack of industry standards for the precise measurement of braid makes evaluations relatively inaccurate and confusing. In the absence of uniform guidelines, stated diameters can vary wildly when comparing one brand of braided line to the next. And with slow pitch jigging increasing in popularity, anglers must also familiarize themselves with PE ratings.

Regardless of how lines are rated, the construction of braid is what matters and carrier count is perhaps the most important term to understand. In Florida, the oldest largemouth with jagged black camouflage hunker down in the heaviest cover. This often consists of lily pads, reeds, cattails, hydrilla, bulrush, hyacinth and many other forms of matted grass and vegetation. Very few presentations can penetrate such numerous obstructions, let alone effectively hook and coerce big bass without the use of braid. Touring professionals in Florida and beyond often rely on 4-carrier braided lines and their ability to cut through dense vegetation. These lines are woven to a parallelogram form and typically have a finish that’s noticeably rough.

Photography: doughertyphotos.com

Tuf-Line (tuf-line.com) 4ORCE in 65 lb. breaking strength is a 4-carrier braid that is extremely durable, made in the U.S.A. and very economical. A 125 yard spool of 65 lb. retails for just $15.99. The inherent diamond pattern that results from neat and uniform weaving results in a knobby and somewhat abrasive line that is relatively loud through the guides but provides ultimate strength and easily slices through thick stalks of grass. PowerPro Maxcuatro (powerpro.com) is another great example of a 4-carrier braid, with a four-end construction made with the newest Honeywell Spectra HT fiber.

In recent years 8-carrier braids have been popularized for their quiet casting and round profiles resulting from the two-over, two-under weave. Sufix 832 comprises seven HMPE fibers plus one GORE performance fiber, with 32 pics per inch. The resulting architecture improves accuracy, decreases wind knots and tip wraps, and reduces vibration and noise with a line that is supple and silky smooth.

Photography: doughertyphotos.com

In general, the more carriers, the rounder and smoother the resulting weave, which is ideal for long casts and finesse presentations. Though 4-carrier and 8-carrier braids are common, Berkley (berkley-fishing.com) recently introduced X5 and X9, consisting of four and eight strands encircling a center fiber to become 5-carrier and 9-carrier braided lines. Similarly, Fins 40G (finsfishing.com) is a 9-carrier braid with construction featuring a center of high tenacity yarn overbraided with eight strands of tightly woven raw white spectra. Fins also provides a full disclosure label with actual breaking strengths, with a 150 yard spool of 65 lb. retailing for $28.75. Diamond Fishing (diamondfishing.com) recently introduced a super soft 9-carrier braid that packs evenly on the spool, rockets through guides and provides outstanding knot strength for how slick the line is. 

Today, just about every familiar manufacturer sells braid. But anglers don’t need to choose just one. The selection between carrier count comes down to what you expect from your mainline and what you prefer fishing with. If you desire a quiet line that is smooth and maximizes casting distance, then a pricey 8-carrier or 9-carrier braid is the best fit. If environmental conditions demand a line with superior abrasion resistance that’s both dependable and affordable, then widely accessible 4-carrier braids will provide excellent results. 

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