8-strand braid review - YGK and Toray

Can you imagine a few years ago even contemplating spending perhaps north of £40 for say a 150 yard spool of line? It's a lot of money for not a lot of line, indeed I remember those kilo spools of mono that used to cost less than that - yet here some of us are, fishing with 8-strand Japanese braids that are so thin you kinda can't believe they really are eight strands weaved tightly together, and we're tending to hope that these lines keep on going long enough for us to to feel more comfortable with dropping that amount on one fill of a spinning reel.

How times are a changing. I don't imagine that these high-end spools of braid are exactly flying off the shelves, but I am aware of more and more anglers who are using them for their lure fishing. I still stand by the awesome 8-strand Varivas Avani Sea Bass Max Power PE braid as my benchmark for these kinds of lines, but I feel confident telling you that over a fairly long period of time I have built up enough confidence in two other braids to put them in the same sort of category as the Varivas stuff - and thanks to the Labrax Squad lads, I have found out that at last the grey Varivas Avani Sea Bass Max Power PE braid is coming out in a bright green colour - see here. Yipee!!

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YGK G-Soul WX8 braid - This is one serious line that really reminds me of the Varivas stuff in the way it comes off the reel and fishes so well. I like a bright green colour as it is, and not once have I had anything go wrong with this YGK G-Soul WX8 braid. I have been using it in a 20lb breaking strain, and together with "that" knot I feel perfectly confident pulling the living hell out of anything I have hooked with it. It's one of those 8-strands that almost feels like a high quality cotton thread it's so smooth.

There is not much point in me telling you how well this line casts or how thin it really is, because I am pretty sure that with the name YGK and at the price it is you have half a clue already. This is one class line and I feel perfectly comfortable putting it up there with the Varivas stuff. YGK make awesome lines and I can't see myself stepping away from their incredible value for money YGK Nitlon DFC fluorocarbon for example. Me and 50 yard spools of more expensive fluoro have parted company.

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Toray Sea Bass Power Game PE 8-strand braid - This is another seriously good, high-end 8-strand braid, and to me it feels a bit like a cross between say the smoothness of the Varivas or YGK 8-strands with a bit of the tougher feeling Sunline Castaway in there. This Toray Sea Bass Power Game PE braid is the first Toray line I have used and I just love it - I have got a spool of the 22lb and it cuts through the wind like nobody's business. As with the YGK, I can't find anything that I dislike about this Toray braid - it's just a class mainline and it inspires confidence in me. Lure Heaven bring Toray into the UK and TronixPro distribute YGK here if that helps.

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I am not sure how long lines like these are meant to last, and I suppose a lot depends on how often you fish, over what sort of ground you fish, and whether you do stuff like occasionally overfill your spinning reel a bit and get a few wind knots while you find the correct level (who, me?) - but most of us at some stage will reverse these lines so we get access to the unused sections. I accept that if you are regularly banging lures out over 100 yards and hooking bass which then run another fifty yards, well you've got no unused line to get at (you know I want to offer up words such as drag, tighten, up, 100 yards?, horses$$t, etc.). For us mere mortals though I have never seen an issue with trying to extend the life of these lines, and I can't report any problems from having reversed my lines plenty of times over the years.

But would I be putting lines like the YGK and the Toray through a load of wrasse fishing? No. They'll do it just fine, but I can't bring myself to put the really expensive braids through it when I want to try and make them last as long as possible. For wrassing I tend to turn to something like PowerPro in the 20lb/0.15mm as it's a lot cheaper, and if you ask me is also better suited to a more rough and tumble kind of life - accepting of course that no tight lines like to be rubbed over sharp rock edges (loving those longer leaders and "that" knot).

And are these expensive 8-strand braids a massive amount better than cheaper lines such as Sufix 832, PowerPro, YGK G-soul X3 braid, and that soon to be in the UK Duel Hardcore X4 that a friend of mine has been using? Well I can't help but love fishing with the high-end 8-strands, and the fact is that when you cast them side by side against a somewhat cheaper line there are some differences, but it's marginal at best, and as such I don't think an angler who can't or won't spend 8-strand money on a mainline is losing out.

So what on earth is the point in spending what it takes to fish with high-end 8-strand braids? Well why not if you want to? Just like the angler who wants to spend a lot of money on a fishing rod and the angler who can't or won't - it's personal choice at the end of the day. Some people like the best stuff even if the incremental benefits are marginal at best, and some people don't. Is a £400 lure rod twice as good as a £200 lure rod? Is black metal twice as good as other music? Is my car twice as good as yours because it's got an unidentified species of mould growing on the passenger window frame?