Sufix 131 G-Core braid review - £40+ for a 150m spool, £75+ for a 300m spool
I don’t find it particularly easy writing a review about a considerably more expensive mainline than at least three current and somewhat cheaper braids which I use, know and trust - the new and outstanding Sufix X8 (review here), the “tough as hell, would trust with my life” Sufix 832 (review here), and Spiderwire Smooth Stealth 8 (review here, and I got on really well with Daiwa J-Braid but I haven’t used it for a fair while now). But of course things move onwards and upwards, and we now have this distinctly non-budget, 13-strand Sufix 131 “G-Core” braid on the market and available to any anglers who are prepared to pay what it takes to spool up with a mainline like this. What I am going to do with this review is tell you what I think about it, and then at the end I am going to get some input from Mr.Sufix about what’s really going on with their new Sufix 131 13-strand braid - please note that this review was written before I asked for this technical information and I haven’t then gone back and changed anything about my review after the fact……………...
Okay, so the easy part of this review is that I have fished a fair bit with this Sufix 131 now in the 15lb, 20lb and 28lb breaking strains - and I seriously, seriously like this braid (I have been using it for a fair while before it went on sale in the UK). The problem is always going to be though that I seriously like its cheaper sibling as well, the new Sufix X8, and I also hugely liked its discontinued predecessor, Sufix Performance Pro 8. For sure this Sufix 131 is a different braid, but I can’t sit here and tell you that you should go out and spend at least double the money for a spool of the Sufix 131 and then expect double the performance when the Sufix X8 is so damn good anyway. But there are differences, and whilst some of these are obviously technical - the “12 HMPE fibers + 1 GORE® Performance Fiber in core” of the 131 G-Core against the “8 carriers construction of thin HMPE fibers” of the X8 - it’s interesting how different these two Sufix braids feel in the hand.
The Sufix X8 is, if you like, your “traditional” silky-smooth, very thin, modern 8-strand braid, whereas this more expensive Sufix 131 is a little less “floaty”/limp - the 20lb version in the surf for example seems to cut through wind and “float” less on the breeze, indeed it has fast become my surf fishing braid of choice. I can recall only three high-end braids I have fished with that have this different, ever so slightly “wiry/less limp” feel to them, and they are all noticeable for how easily the line seems to literally ease off the reel on a cast - the Daiwa Morethan 12 braid (review here), this Sufix 131 braid, and then the Varivas Avani Sea Bass Full Cast LS8 braid (review to come, another very special braid). Three braids that are not cheap at all, but they all feel more like a “fused together/single line” rather than a bunch of tightly wound strands if that makes any sense at all - which I guess comes from some uber-technical way in which these companies have managed to oh so tightly weave together their 12, 13 and 8 strands respectively.
Now I can’t get away from another factor here, and that’s me looking hard for something extra when I am fishing with a braid mainline that I know is considerably more expensive than the mainlines I would more usually fish with these days - and then because of that price difference I have to ask myself whether any differences I think I am finding are in fact a product of my imagination! I don’t remotely mean this as some kind of psycho babble, rather it’s me trying to get across to you that I am pretty damn sure I can feel or find some differences between this Sufix 131 and the cheaper Sufix X8, but in no way am I telling you that you need to go out and spend more money on this Sufix 131 when a mainline like their killer X8 will do you just fine. This new Sufix 131 exists though, I have fished with it, and I am telling you what I think of it.
Wow this Sufix 131 is seriously nice to fish with, and I have noticed what I think I have found on the 28lb/0.205mm/PE#1.5 version especially. I am not sure what to make of the quoted diameter for this breaking strain though, because 0.205mm implies a relatively thick braid to me, but this Sufix 131 feels and looks incredibly thin for its breaking strain (the PE#1.5 rating makes most sense to me here). By no means do our bass warrant a 28lb mainline for their size or scrapping prowess alone, rather it’s me upping my game over very rough and shallowish ground especially to try and get as much abrasion resistance as I can through an increase in diameter. I know that bass aren’t dirty fighters like wrasse, but if I can fish with a larger diameter mainline but not lose any performance at all then I’m sold. This braid is it for me.
I honestly can’t recall a similar strength braid ever casting quite as well as this Sufix 131 has been. All three breaking strains of Sufix 131 that I have fished with now feel like they are coming off my spinning reels about as efficiently as I have ever felt - with the heavier 28lb version perhaps the most noticeable because it so feels like fishing with a much lighter braid with how efficient it is. I said earlier that this Sufix 131 seems to be literally “easing” off my reels with how well my lures are going out there, and whilst I am not about to start measuring lure casting with the same lures but different braids, I am utterly convinced that this Sufix 131 is the best casting braid I have ever fished with. Sure I’d be a bit gutted if a lot more money wasn’t buying me something extra special, but price aside this is one seriously special mainline.
This Sufix 131 knots great and it’s as strong as I would expect it to be - I only ever use the FG knot for securing braid to leader so that it what I am basing this on. I don’t know what treble hook Savage Gear put on their 35g Psycho Sprat metal lures for example, but it seems pretty heavy duty to me - I snagged one up good and proper the other day and managed to straighten one hook on the treble enough to wrench it out. I was using the 28lb/PE#1.5 Sufix 131 on my incredible Penn Slammer III 3500 spinning reel (review here) which seems born to a mainline like this.
I was quite surprised to see Sufix launch a braid as expensive as this 131 G-Core, but considering they make and sell some serious monofilament mainlines then I guess a high end braid was the next step. I am liking this Sufix 131 so much that if price wasn’t an issue I’d most likely fish with nothing else, but of course price is an issue when buying a mainline - it’s an outstanding braid and as with many products there will always be consumers who want the best. Is this Sufix 131 the best braid out there though? Well I happen to think it’s easily as good a braid as I have ever fished with, but then the voice of reason has to say that something like Sufix X8, Sufix 832 or the Spiderwire Smooth Stealth 8 braids are amazing mainlines for a lot less money. Whatever mainline you end up fishing with, yet again I come back to how we as anglers have never had it so good on the braid front.
And here’s the technical bit about this Sufix 131 from Mr.Sufix - I have broken down and edited his words to make it easy to understand and digest: “We have arrived at this line via trying to solve the construction issues of braids with a number of carriers superior to 8. In fact from 10 and onwards the machines create a hole in the middle and the line becomes like a sock. And since the dyneema is super soft, the construction flattens which creates problems for casting and retrieving. Furthermore a lot of water is entering the line, making it heavier, and with saltwater fishing, once dried the salt crystal works internally like sandpaper. We have tried various ways with 12, 16, 18, 20 carrier constructions and we initially we could not solve this problem. Then we thought about adding a “spine” in between, something solid, because a central dyneema carrier won’t help, it won’t avoid the flattening. Finally we arrived at Gore: this textile material is like a mono but has the same elongation ratio of dyneema, and we have managed to avoid the internal fraying of the line. So 131 is a gore filament of different diameters depending on the strength of the braid, with dyneema wrapped around it. This is why 131 is round and all the other 12, 16 and even 20 carriers are flat, including the super expensive Japanese ones. I know other companies will introduce 13 carriers full dyneema, but as mentioned they won’t solve the flattening problem. So you could ask why make a braid with more carriers than 8 - well the line is smoother in the surface, with less weak points in case of damage (strength split on more carriers), the knots will be easier and stronger (same principle of wires: more carriers equals better knots). The line will fray less and last much longer. But the line cannot be magically stronger, because to obtain the right diameters you would need to use super thin UHMPE fibers. A practical example - to make a certain size I could use 4 carriers of UHMPE 100D (D=denier), then to obtain the same in 8 carrier I should use 8x50D, and with 12 plus a Gore core the size will be much smaller again. Since the quantity of dyneema to make a size is the same, the strength is the same. But since in UHMPE the thinner the fiber, the more expensive it is, this explains the price apart the low productivity of machines with son many carriers.”
So there you go, straight from the horse’s mouth. I knew none of the technical details above when I wrote the actual review so I find it interesting how this new Sufix 131 13-strand braid has made such an impression on me. I have talked before on this blog about how braid breaks down from the inside when used repeatedly in saltwater especially (via these insights that I am lucky enough to get from Mr.Sufix) - are you getting a well used braid suddenly snapping for no apparent reason for example? Did you realise that a braid abrades internally over time? So with what I have now learnt about how this new Sufix 131 is made, my next question is whether spending that fair bit more is really going to get me a high performance braid that performs consistently for a proper length of time. Time will tell, but it’s one hell of a mainline so far. It’s available here in the UK in dark green and neon chartreuse, but please Mr. Sufix can we also have a nice bright orange or yellow Sufix 131 as well………..
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