The Confusion Of Braided Lines
Written By: Steve ‘Hippo’ Lau, August 13, 2013 Species:
Last time we were together, we looked into the confusion that comes with fishing lines in America. Grading lines by pound test leaves all sorts of things in a confused state. Because the pound test of lines leaves one end of the standard open (that being how much more than the stated pound test line the line can be labeled) we are not anywhere close to comparing apples with apples.
Things will be so much easier if lines were sold according to line diameter; then, with lines sold being the same diameter, it would be a standard for comparison.
Brand A's .009" line can be compared to Brand B's .009" line and then when Brand A's .009" line breaks at 11 pounds and Brand B's .009" line breaks at 9 pounds, we have some basis for deciding which line we may want to use.
Since no such standard exists for lines in America, so we are stuck with the same old "pound test" standard for braided lines as we do for monofilament lines.
Whatever problems we have in classifying mono lines, the problem is amplified with multifiament lines. Mono lines can come close to having 100% knot strength, but no multifilament does.
A big part of the reason is that knot strength is related to line diameter, and multifilaments are made up of many, many small diameter lines. This problem is highlighted by the "super lines" made from Spectra or Micro-Dyeema. The strands from these two materials are super tiny and are therefore lack impact or knot strength.
Where you can expect 90 - 100% knot strength with a good quality mono line, one cannot expect any more than 75 - 80% knot strength from any multifilament line. Knowing this, what is a line manufacturer to do?
If a line maker makes a line that breaks true to its pound test, any good knot will make the line look weak. If you are a manufacturer and know that your 30 lb. line will break at 22 lbs., would you want to market that line as such? Or would you rather make a 40 lb. line that breaks at 30 lb. after you tie a good knot in it?
Monofilament lines are actually a modern marvel. There are hundreds of nylon formulas to work from, and makers also have to make decisions regarding extrusion processes.
By comparison, multifilaments are relatively simple. The strands are relatively similar, so the differences between different lines depends on the number of strands used, and how they are braided.
The number of strands used will determine the ultimate strength of the line. The manufacturers choose how many strands are needed for how much over the pound test the manufacturers desire. From there, how the strands are braided will determine the texture and the smoothness of the line.
To make a braided line, bundles of strands are woven together to make the line. The bundles are known as carriers and braided lines are classified by how many carriers are used in the braiding.
For instance, if it takes 120 strands to make a 30 lb. line (just an example), a three carrier braid will be made from three bundles of 40 strands. A four carrier braid is made with four bundles of 30 strands. A six carrier braid is made with six bundles of 20 strands.
It can be seen that the more carriers are used, the finer the texture of the line. This will also increase the cost of the line as the more carriers are used, the more involved the braiding process will be. Another factor is how "tightly" or "loosely" the braid is woven.
The other factor in making a difference between lines is the silicone (or other) material squeezed onto the line. Some use a minimal amount of "goo" and some are over "gooed.” There are even bare naked lines, but these are mostly hollow braided lines.
In all of this confusion, I hope that I have at least highlighted some of the different factors that go into multifilament lines and that you have at least some increased understanding of what goes into braided lines. The take away from all this is, like mono lines, there are differences in lines, understand the differences, but in the end, pick a line, use it, understand its limits, and then work around it.
Braided lines have been around for a while now, but they are constantly evolving. Just know that the lines of today are much better than they were just ten years ago, and are looking to be better in the future.