Sport Fishing - - GEAR GUIDE -

All an­glers have sto­ries about the fish that got away, but none are as mad­den­ing as those that in­volve a bro­ken fish­ing line. And in many cases, abra­sion led to the break­age. As a re­sult, line man­u­fac­tur­ers tout the abra­sion re­sis­tance of their prod­ucts, but how does a fish­er­man fig­ure out what type of line of­fers the best re­sis­tance to abra­sion?

One method of mea­sur­ing the abra­sion re­sis­tance of fish­ing lines is fairly stan­dard: Run a piece of line back and forth over a sand­pa­per­like sub­stance, and count how many times it goes across the sur­face be­fore it breaks.

Ben Miller, a project man­ager for VMC Rapala, said the com­pany runs sev­eral dif­fer­ent tests of this sort on its Sufix lines, rub­bing lines over a nail head.

“It’s re­ally dif­fi­cult to mea­sure [the abra­sion caused by] things like dock posts or trees or rock or weeds, but at least the tests give us a base­line of com­par­ing ap­ples to ap­ples in a lab­o­ra­tory,” Miller says. “There isn’t an ex­act sci­ence to it. Some lines will have bet­ter abra­sion re­sis­tance over sand­pa­per, and some last longer over a nail head.”

An­other way to mea­sure abra­sion re­sis­tance is what’s known as the 3,000-cy­cle uni­lat­eral abra­sion test, ac­cord­ing to Tom Wol­druff, the prod­uct man­ager for PowerPro. The fish­ing line goes back and forth 3,000 times over a ce­ramic guide — as would oc­cur with a fish­ing rod.

PowerPro goes a step fur­ther and also tests its braided line for what’s called trans­verse abra­sion.

“When an­glers re­turn bro­ken line to us, we can see that it was abraded against struc­ture with fish on,” Wol­druff says. “We use our own equip­ment, take line un­der­wa­ter and repli­cate the move­ment of the line in a real-world sit­u­a­tion, in all direc­tions, across 800-grit sand­pa­per. I’ve not seen any­body else in the in­dus­try do this test.

“We use the in­for­ma­tion to fine-tune our prod­ucts,” Wol­druff adds. “We’re fo­cused on both [uni­lat­eral and trans­verse] abra­sion. I think even­tu­ally the rest of the in­dus­try will have to catch up with that.”


Fish­ing lines made from dif­fer­ent ma­te­ri­als vary in abra­sion re­sis­tance. The four main types are fluoro­car­bon, monofil­a­ment, copoly­mer and braid. All things be­ing equal in terms of di­am­e­ter, fluoro­car­bon is usu­ally the most abra­sion re­sis­tant.

Dave Burkhardt, pres­i­dent of Trik Fish, says fluoro­car­bon weighs ap­prox­i­mately 1.85 to 1.9 times as much as monofil­a­ment. That den­sity ex­plains why it sinks, plus — un­like mono — it doesn’t ab­sorb wa­ter.

“Be­cause of the den­sity fac­tor, it’s much more abra­sion re­sis­tant. It’s just physics,” Burkhardt says.


“Typ­i­cally, fluorocarbons have al­ways been a harder ma­te­rial,” Chris Pit­si­los of Pure Fish­ing says, which makes Berkley, Spi­der­wire and Stren lines. “They’ve had a ten­dency to be springy and stiff but also very abra­sion re­sis­tant.

“Some of the first fluorocarbons that came out were leader ma­te­rial,” Pit­si­los con­tin­ues. “We of­fer a main­line fluoro­car­bon, Van­ish. A lit­tle bit thin­ner di­am­e­ter, it’s also go­ing to be sup­ple but man­age­able.”

Burkhardt says monofil­a­ments can be made with a harder sur­face, but if too hard will also be dif­fi­cult to cast. “Your bet­ter lines have a nice bal­ance as far as sup­ple­ness ver­sus abra­sion re­sis­tance.”

Pit­si­los notes that an­gler pri­or­i­ties for monofil­a­ment are less stretch, more sen­si­tiv­ity, and more abra­sion re­sis­tance. He says of Berkley Tri­lene XL and XT (the brand’s top-sell­ing monofil­a­ment lines), “XL is ex­tra limp;

XT is ex­tra tough — a bit stiffer and more abra­sion re­sis­tant.”


Copoly­mer lines fea­ture both hard and soft lay­ers, mak­ing for the best of both worlds, ac­cord­ing to Burkhardt. Trik Fish X-Rated has a harder fin­ish on the out­side layer, cov­er­ing three more­sup­ple in­ner lay­ers, “so it ac­tu­ally has four di­men­sions rang­ing from greater abra­sion re­sis­tance out­side to more soft­ness on the in­side.”

Burkhardt adds that copoly­mer line has more ten­sile strength than mono of equal di­am­e­ter, which means an­glers can fish 10-pound X-Rated on a reel rated for 8-pound line.

Miller says the new Sufix Ad­vance is a low-stretch, sup­ple monofil­a­ment with “flu­o­ro­car­bon­like abra­sion re­sis­tance” thanks to a mag­netic ex­tru­sion process that makes the sur­face of the mono more abra­sion re­sis­tant.


Braided line of­fers great abra­sion re­sis­tance, but Wol­druff says more fibers or strands do not trans­late to more abra­sion re­sis­tance.

PowerPro’s Su­per­Slick V2 Braid (voted the best new fish­ing line at the 2018 ICAST in­ter­na­tional tackle show) uses eight fibers flooded with resin to make it smooth and castable. But 4-car­rier (four-fiber) PowerPro pro­vides greater abra­sion re­sis­tance.

“Four-end prod­uct is very, very strong and abra­sion re­sis­tant be­cause the fibers run more par­al­lel,” Wol­druff ex­plains. “Eight-car­rier has more ex­po­sure be­cause you have twice the num­ber of fibers cross­ing one an­other.” But be­cause Berkley’s FireLine Ul­tra 8 is fused, ac­cord­ing to Pit­si­los, it’s a bit stiffer than most, but for abra­sion, it’s prac­ti­cally “in­de­struc­tible.”

Berkley x5 gel spun poly­eth­yl­ene braid is four strands wrapped around a core, and x9 is a core with eight outer fibers. The x5 of­fers greater abra­sion re­sis­tance than the same-di­am­e­ter

line in x9 be­cause the size of in­di­vid­ual strands is greater.

As Burkhardt notes, big­ger di­am­e­ter line is more abra­sion re­sis­tant than thin­ner line be­cause it takes more time to abrade a thicker line to the break­ing point. “It would take you longer to wear out thicker line be­cause there’s more mass. It’s that ba­sic.”


If your line feels abraded, cut and retie, es­pe­cially if you fish around rocks, docks, reefs, oyster bars or oil rigs, or catch fish known for abrad­ing line. Snook have sand­pa­per­like mouths; king­fish sport a mouth­ful of teeth; and sail­fish can rub bills or tails against your line. Wol­druff notes that it’s the last few feet of line that break, not the line in the mid­dle of the reel spool.

“There’s noth­ing fool­proof,” says Pit­si­los of abra­sion re­sis­tance. “It’s best to retie. You can’t be a lazy fish­er­man or you’re go­ing to lose fish. It’s amaz­ing when you do talk to pros how of­ten they retie and even re­fill spools.”

Check your rod guides for nicks. Pit­si­los re­calls com­plaints about a pro­to­type line from one of Berkley’s line testers in the field. It turned out the prob­lem wasn’t the line but rather the an­gler’s nicked guide.

“If you’ve got a nicked guide, it will tear up a braid — there’s no ques­tion,” Wol­druff says. “Rub a cot­ton swab around each guide. If it pulls that cot­ton off, you need to re­place the guide.”

Change your fish­ing line, even if you don’t no­tice any abra­sion or other weak­nesses. Wol­druff says the av­er­age an­gler will get a sea­son out of a qual­ity braid, but you should change it more of­ten if the line is used around pil­ings and oyster beds. You’ll be glad you did when you con­nect with a fish of a life­time.

Try­ing to mus­cle a big fish out of a shal­low reef will test the abra­sion re­sis­tance of line and leader.

Top: Bar­na­cle-en­crusted man­grove roots pose a WKUHDW WR DQ DQJOHU KRRNHG WR D ODUJH ERQHƓVK RQ light line. Below: The less-abra­sion-re­sis­tant line at left shows a bit more wear af­ter 30 cy­cles against an abra­sive sur­face than the sim­i­lar line at right that boasts more abra­sion re­sis­tance.

3XWWLQJ RQ WKH EUDNHV *XOI RLO ƓHOG VWUXFWXUH RIIHUV lots of op­por­tu­ni­ties to hook up, but just as many FKDQFHV WR ORVH KRRNHG ƓVK LI WKH\ FDQ PDNH LW LQWR or around jagged metal against which no line can last long.

Light lead­ers might be fa­vored for be­ing less ob­tru­sive, but such thin strands also are more likely to sep­a­rate if rubbed against rocks than are heav­ier, thicker-di­am­e­ter lead­ers.

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