Duel Hardcore X4 and X8 braids - review
You've got to admit that it's pretty amazing what we can increasingly get our hands on here in the UK and Ireland as regards what might be termed "modern lure fishing tackle" - rods, reels, lures, lines, accessories, has the tackle tart ever had it so good? When it comes to braids I can't believe how things have changed over what is a pretty short space of time. I happily use 20lb PowerPro for some of my wrasse fishing with plastics for example, but braids have of course moved on somewhat from a 4-strand like this - and for my bass fishing especially I like taking advantage of what I feel some of these more modern mainlines can give me.
The Duel Hardcore X4 braid is around the £20 mark for a 150 metre spool - it's a 4-strand braid and try as I might I can't fault it. If we take PowerPro as a perfectly good, standard 4-strand, then this Duel Hardcore X4 stuff just feels a bit more modern for want of a better word. This braid casts very well, it knots just fine, and neither me or my mate Mark who has used it now for months have had any issues at all with wind knots, unexplained breakages etc. It's the kind of 4-strand that feels so bloody good to fish with that at times you can't help wondering why on earth it's worth paying more for a good 8-strand - but then you go and fish with a good 8-strand again and you do know why, albeit we're talking about some marginal differences that some would debate are perhaps not even worth it. Horses for courses as per always with fishing tackle.
But - and this is nothing to do with the great quality of the line - have a good read of the packaging, because Duel are being quite clever here. Look on the front of the PE#1.2 Hardcore X4 and you might think wow, this is amazing, a PE#1.2/20lb breaking strain 4-strand for £20 - but now check that packaging closely and you will see that the PE#1.2 in fact breaks at an average of 6.6kg, which in my book is 14.6lbs (let's call it 15lb to make things easier), and the 20lb you see quoted on there is in fact "Max lbs". I don't like assuming stuff, but here I must assume that under various (dry) tests, this Duel Hardcore X4 PE#1.2 averaged out at a 15lbs breaking strain, with the maximum it broke at being 20lbs. What does this mean? Well I must take the average for a line's breaking strain, so to me it's a PE#1.2/15lb 4-strand braid that is great to fish with. Oh, and did I ever tell you how much I despise these sodding PE# ratings? They're pretty meaningless and bloody confusing if you ask me.
Now we come to the more expensive Duel Hardcore X8 braid - it's an 8-strand braid that retails at around £33 for a 150 metre spool. I really, really like this line. It's a typically smooth and limper feeling 8-strand braid that like any decent 8-strand feels like it moves through the rings that little bit more efficiently than a 4-strand. This braid did me proud for my most recent week in Ireland and I didn't come across a single issue with it. This is a really good 8-strand, albeit I haven't fished with it long enough to be able to say that it's in the same league as that scary-good (and somewhat more expensive) grey Varivas 8-strand stuff that I like so much, or even the excellent 25lb Daiwa Tournament 8-strand. It's a strange day when you say that the princely sum of £33 for a 150 metre spool of mainline is actually pretty good value, but when compared to the other stuff out there this Duel Hardcore X8 is just that. Both the X4 and X8 lines also come in 200 metre spools, but for my bass lure fishing the only real point I can see to this is that when you reverse a braid on your reel you're getting access to more unused line - unless that is you are casting 100m plus with your bass lures?
And we've got the same Duel packaging issues that you need to be aware of. A few people said to me when they first saw the PE#1.2 Hardcore X8 braid that it was incredible to get a 27lb breaking strain at this low diameter - but as good and strong as this line is, this PE#1.2 ain't a 27lb braid. Check that packaging and again the figure of 27lb is the "Max lbs" - it's not right if you ask me to take this as the breaking strain of the braid, so I'll take the quoted average of 8.8kgs or 19.4lbs, but as above let's call this a PE#1.2 line that has a 20lb breaking strain. And yes, these PE# numbers continue to drive me loopy..........
I like both these lines a lot and I think their prices in the UK and Ireland represent good value for money when compared to other lines out there (check out The Art of Fishing in the UK and Absolute Fishing over in Ireland for starters). There are of course plenty of other breaking strains available with these braids. I am hoping it's pretty obvious that by paying a bit more you are getting a stronger line at the same diameter with the 8-strand Hardcore X8, but only you can decide if this slight difference in diameter, feel and potential casting distance is worth more cash. These are two really good lines in my opinion and I don't reckon you could go wrong by lure fishing with either of them.