2016 is going to go down for me as the year that the braid market changed significantly for the better for us anglers, and I must put that down largely to Daiwa bringing their aggressively priced and truly fantastic 8-strand J-Braid onto the market. The Sufix Performance Pro 8 braid is just as good, but it’s the bigger company Daiwa that seems to have their own “cheap” 8-strand braid all over the place, and yes, to me a sub-£20, serious quality 8-strand braid is cheap when compared to the prices that so many of us have been paying over the last few years. I have wracked my brain but for the life of me I can’t recall ever fishing with any of the SpiderWire braids, so it’s my thanks to the Fishing Mayhem tackle shop in Liskeard for kindly getting me a spool of the brand new, very much sub-£20 SpiderWire Stealth Smooth 8 braid to fish with………
I have looked around and I am not quite sure if there are two SpiderWire braids carrying the name “Stealth”, but so you know, it’s categorically the “SpiderWire Stealth Smooth 8” that I have been lure fishing with for a while now. This is a very good braid, indeed I have not had one single problem with the stuff - I have the 9.2kg/20lb in translucent (essentially white) loaded on a spinning reel, and it has behaved impeccably. One thing that really annoys me though are the figures on the spool - SpiderWire are claiming that this 20lb Stealth Smooth 8 braid has a 0.10mm diameter, and whilst I have no means of verifying if this is true, when I compare it to other 20lb 8-strand braids I have here, I know that those claims are a steaming pile of horse poo. How do line companies get away with this? Beats me, but rest assured that if you go looking at 8-strand braids and their respective diameters, there is no possible way that this 20lb SpiderWire Stealth Smooth 8 braid is as thin as 0.10mm. Sure, it’s a very thin braid as indeed you would expect, but the 0.10mm figure is crap, plain and simple.
Treat this stuff as a regular 20lb 8-strand (bloody thin anyway) and diameter wise it feels comparable with the Daiwa J-Braid and Sufix Performance Pro 8, albeit this SpiderWire Stealth Smooth 8 braid is not quite as smooth feeling as those two. I guess this is deliberate and so far it’s been a very robust braid, and whilst I can’t test breaking strains of braid out here at home, this SpiderWire stuff fishes as I would expect a good 20lb braid to. It knots well, it casts great (not the merest hint of any trouble), it deals just fine with wind and waves, and I have fished any number of different lures with it. All rather damn good if you ask me, and I pulled the hell out of a bass that was north of 8lb the other day without any fuss whatsoever - but then you’d expect that from a good 20lb braid that has no nicks etc. in it. I believe this braid is trickling onto the UK marketplace right now - line colours are translucent (white to me), yellow, red, and moss green, breaking strains from 6-80lbs, with spool sizes at 150m (RRP £14.99), 300m (RRP £24.99), and 3000m (RRP £199.99). Crumbs.
That’s now three very good sub-£20 (for 150m spools) I have fished with this year and I love it. Because the not remotely cheap Varivas high-end braids have done so well for me over the years I will always have a bit of a thing for them, but in reality when it comes to getting my cash out for a spool of braid for my bass fishing I just can’t see any reason now for paying any more than what a 150m spool of Sufix Performance Pro 8, Daiwa J-Braid or indeed SpiderWire Stealth Smooth 8 braid costs me. These braids are serious mainlines and it’s good times for us anglers. Whilst I am not about to catch a 10lb plus wrasse on a lure, they are of course a fish that require bullying tactics, and whereas I would have tended to turn to the rougher feeling PowerPro for that particular style of lure fishing, I can’t see much point in that anymore and now I’ll turn to slightly heavier and therefore thicker/more robust versions of any of these three braids - and when I need to replace my mainlines it’s not hurting the wallet anywhere near as much as it used to.
And below is a look at my articles that are out in the brand new issue of Sea Angler magazine. Enjoy!