What are the advantages and disadvantages of different 8-strand braids?
It is my hope that somebody who actually knows hard facts about the different kinds of braids that we might fish with sees this blog post and then leaves a really helpful comment below - pretty please!! Many of us here know what we like and what we think might work best for us, but how many of us can really go much beyond speculation and opinion rather than hard fact? If you mess around with a bunch of different braids for your fishing, and I do, then you can't have failed to notice the differences in how some of them seem to be made - and as much as over the years I have formed my own opinions as to what works well for me and why, I wonder if I am anywhere close to being right?
Those very expensive, "silky" feeling 8-strand braids - I am talking about the braids that are very, very thin and tend to be so smooth feeling when you first load them on a reel that they remind me almost of a thread of silk - the high end Varivas and YGK stuff for starters, plus the Daiwa Tournament, Duel X-8 etc. I really like lure fishing with these kinds of braids, and in my mind they cast awesome and cut through wind and current really well, they don't drag much when you've got say side on waves rolling over your mainline on the retrieve, and with the right knot (here), they tend to be incredible as regards diameter to breaking strain. I accept that the uber-thin nature of these braids plus their slightly "delicate" feel requires that I do my best to keep the line away from sharp rocks - but if we're honest, does any tight line of any kind respond that well to being run over a sharp rock?
Those expensive, very slightly thicker but perhaps more "robust" feeling 8-strands - braids such as Sunline Momentum 4x4, Sunline Castaway, this new Sunline Super PE8, and Sufix 832. I couldn't get on properly with the Sunline's top of the range Castaway, but the cheaper Momentum did me proud, and their (cheaper again) Super PE8 is really impressing me. I absolutely love the Sufix 832, albeit it drives me loopy how it's essentially unavailable here in the UK in the colours and breaking strains we might want. Without a doubt these braids feel different to the ones I mentioned in the paragraph above.
Now this is where I could do with some clarification, because with such a well respected Japanese line company such as Sunline, I have to assume there's a reason they are making their braids differently to say Varivas - put their Castaway against the Varivas Avani Sea Bass Max Power PE braid for example, and you can't fail to notice the differences. Now I would guess that each line company is going down the path which they reckon is the best, but are there actually any advantages or disadvantages to using these different kinds of 8-strands? The logical part of me says that a very slightly thicker and more robust (rougher?) feeling 8-strand like say this new Sunline Super PE8 should be that little bit tougher than such a silky smooth and obviously thinner braid like the YGK G-Soul WX8 - but is this the case? Is it as cut and dried as that? I come back to tight lines and sharp rocks again.
The Sunline Momentum 4x4 did me proud when I used it, but I could never shake the feeling that a slightly thinner and smoother 8-strand was giving me more distance on the cast, plus less wave-drag etc. But is that intentional on the part of Sunline, as in are they deliberately building a bit more "safety" into their (slightly thicker) 8-strands whilst perhaps accepting that there might be an admittedly rather slight distance loss when compared to the "silky" 8-strands? Surely a minimal distance loss is well worth it if you get a slightly tougher high-end 8-strand? Or am I way off here?
Another question I must also ask here is this - as much as I love fishing with some of these high-end 8-strands, am I really getting that much benefit over something like the tried and trusted PowerPro or say the rather lovely Duel X-4? I think I am, but when I've fished for session after session with one of those "silky" feeling 8-strands that I can't help but be drawn to, I then go back to a more regular 4-strand and sometimes wonder if I am actually getting a lot more benefit from the more expensive lines. I then go back to the "sikly" 8-strands and marvel at how well they cast and cut through wind etc., but are these feelings of mine a mix of hard fact and imagination, or are these more expensive braids really giving us more?
And does this "more" do us a lot of good when it comes to catching more fish? A high-end 8-strand does just fine with wrasse fishing I reckon, but I nearly always turn to something like PowerPro because I don't want to drag my expensive 8-strands directly through rocks any more than I have to. They cost more and as such I try to look after them that bit more and save them predominantly for my bass fishing that I think might benefit from what I perceive as being the performance advantages. What do you think? Anglers spend what they want to or are able to spend, and whilst £40+ is a lot of money to spend on a 150m spool of mainline, if that line then does you a whole year and lands you a heap of fish whilst making you feel that you're getting any number of benefits from using it, then surely it's money well spent? As I said above, I would welcome your thoughts and hard facts if you have some.
And it goes without saying - Je suis Charlie...............