How to choose PE Braided lines? Which is the best? (Dyneema(R), Spectra(R))

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   Braided lines of Dyneema and Spectra are Poly-Ethylene based filament lines. These lines are much stronger than classic mono-filament nylon, and now many anglers use them.  It floats because it has 0.97 weight ratio, when water has 1.0 weight ratio. The line is braided with a lot of very thin fibers and it tend to have coating to protect the thin fibers. There are too many braided lines in market, and we should study before we use them.

   Most differences of PE braided lines come from the material,  way of braids, coatings and construction.

Material:

 Dyneema or Spectra fibers are brands name of high-density poly-ethylene. Dyneema has upgraded fibers from original to following, and other manufacturer as well.

Material Breaking strength to nylon in the same diameter * weight ratio
Dyneema/Spectra 3.0 0.98
Super Dyneema 3.5 0.98
Ultra Dyneema 4.0 0.98
Ultra 2 PE fiber (YGK WX8, Varivas Max Power) 4.2 0.98
*Nylon (standard) 1.0 1.14
*Nylon (high tensile) 1.1-1.2 1.14
*Fluorocarbon mono 1.05 1.78
*Ester mono 1.4 1.41
*Keplar/Vectran 4.3 1.4
*Zylon 6.4 1.54

 *Data from YGK

Way of braids: Not braided, 3strands, 4strads, 8 strands

 There are none-braided PE lines in market, which has PE spectra fibers bonded by hard coatings. The surface of the line is very smooth, and it is a great advantage. The bonding material makes the line very hard, like mono-filament line, and it is easy to handle. These none-braided lines have the compromised tensile strength between mono-filament and braided lines. Durability and casting distance are also compromised from braided line. These lines are recommended for bait casting reels, but not much for spinning reels.

Most braided lines are "braided" with multiple strands.  Each strand is composed of a number of very thin fibers.

Some lines are braided with 3 strands, and it is flat in shape. It is less expensive. It receives more wind than 4-strand line. When lines are twisted, the 3-strand line shows more roughness.

Most braided lines are braided with 4 strands. PowerPro, Spiderwire, Fireline and most PE braid lines in market are braided with 4 strands. Braided lines with 4 strands are in the shape of square, but with thin lines it looks round. The braided body has some roughness, and you may feel the noise when you reel in the 4 strand lines.

There are a few PE braid lines braided with 8 thinner strands for better smoothness. These are mostly for offshore deep jigging, rated at more than 40lb-test, and they are expensive. Smoothness is very important because line always contact to line guides with relatively high tension in jigging. 

From left, 8-strand, 4-strand, 3-strand

From left, Zenaq-Jigger Trust 40lb, PowerPro 10lb, Ripcord Si 15lb


Coatings: Hard coat, thin coat, non-coat

   Most braided line are coated with some kind of abrasion protector because PE fiber has less abrasion resistance than monofilament lines. One of the hardest coating is on Berkley Fireline and Spiderwire fusion. Fireline looks like one fiber, but it is braided with 4 strands and then coated with plastic coating. PowerPro has relatively hard coating, applied to each strand, and you may easily identify the braids of the line. YGK Power Hunter, WX8 and WX4 have thin fluorine coating, and it is as soft as non-coated PE line.

   Coating gives the line harder body, and it also make body slimmer. The slimmer body receives less affection by wind or current. But, harder line has more friction with guides in casting, and leads to less casting distance. PE fiber material itself doesn't have memory, but the hard coating has memory. Softer, less-coated lines require special care in handling to prevent tangles, but cast farther.

   Considering the extent of added abrasion protection by coatings and the disadvantage of them, I prefer to use thin-coat line because it casts much farther, and retrieve much smoother. By using mono-leader, I can achieve the abrasion resistance, and don't much need it for main line. Currently, some nylon lines have 20times abrasion resistance to normal mono, and coated braided line may have only the similar resistance of normal nylon line.

Construction: 100% PE braid,  hybrid construction with other fibers

  Most PE braided lines are made of 100% PE fibers, but some lines have hybrid construction with mono filament, or other fibers. These hybrid fibers/filaments are used to add some tension to the line and improve the easiness in handling. One good example is Sunline Cast Away line, which has 4 PE fiber and 4 high-density ester filaments braided together. The line is famous for great casting distance and none of line-trouble for offshore casting purpose. Other lines have hybrid construction with PET fibers, which is inexpensive, but still stronger than nylon. In the past, I have used a hybrid line with single mono core, but it was not much good because the core pops up from braids.

Specifications of braided lines

Coloring Material # of Strands Coating Hybrid/construction
None (white) Original Dyneema 3 None 100% PE fiber
Single color Super Dyneema 4 Thin 4+1 mono filament
Metered by 25m Ultra Dyneema 8 Medium hard 4+4 mono filaments
Metered by 10m Ultra 2 PE filament (YGK WX8) @ Hard 4+4 ester filaments
Metered by 1m @ @ Super Hard fusion (Fire line) 4+4 pet strands

Recommendations

Products Material # of strands Coating Construction Pro's and con's of the line Recommendation
Duel Super Smooth Ultra Dyneema 0 Hard coat 100% PE fiber Easy to use like nylon, less casting distance Bait casting reels, spinning light rigs
Berkley Fire line @ 4 Super Hard fusion 100% PE fiber Easy to use like nylon, less casting distance Bait casting reels, spinning light rigs
YGK Power HunterYGK PE compact Super Dyneema 4 Thin Silicone 100% PE fiber Super strength, dig-in with bait casting reels Deep jigging, spinning light rigs
YGK WX8, YGK Jigman WX8 Ultra 2 PE filament (YGK) 8 Thin Silicone 100% PE fiber Ultra strength, super smooth, dig-in with bait casting reels Spinning inshore/offshore, deep jigging
YGK G-soul 112Sunline Cast Away Ultra Dyneema 8 Thin Silicone 4+4 ester filaments None-tangle, easy to handle, great casting distance Spinning inshore/offshore casting, freshwater, bait casting reels
Power Pro @ 4 Hard 100% PE fiber Good strength, no dig-in with bait casting reels, noisy at guides Bait casting reels, spinning light rigs

From my experiences, I recommend 8-strands line for spinning reel if you will use mono-leader. Ultimate sensitivity line system 

For bait casting reels, hard-coated Fireline and lines like Power Pro are still the best. Softer lines will get dig-in troubles.

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