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What Line Should I Use? What knot should I tie?

At NE, someone always posts the question ?What Line Should I Use?? or ?What knot should I tie??. There are usually 4 answers, PowerPro, FireLine, SpiderWire and Sufix. The knots suggested vary between Palomar, Albright, Uni and Improved Clinch. All replies are based on user experience but where are the facts? In August 2006, Doug Olander from Sport Fishing Magazine began what I call the ?Line and Knot Bible for Braids? His articles, At the Breaking Pointhttp://www.sportfishingmag.com/techniques/natural-baits-and-terminal-rigs/at-the-breaking-point-43557.htm http://www.sportfishingmag.com/tech...erminal-rigs/at-the-breaking-point-43557.htmland Staying Power http://www.sportfishingmag.com/techniques/tips/staying-power-53427.htmlhttp://www.sportfishingmag.com/techniques/tips/staying-power-53427.htmlare ?must read? material. These articles reveal concrete line and knot strength information on braid and mono. It does not include abrasion or castability testing which I hope is performed and published in the near future. Doug went to IGFA in Florida and used the Instron 5543 line tester for two 3-day sessions. This machine is used to test lines that have caught world record fish. After dissecting this data and getting consumed in all of this information I came to four important conclusions.

1. Braid tensile strength is higher than I ever imagined
2. Uni, Improved Clinch and Palomar are the top three knots for braid IN THAT ORDER. Although doubling the line can change that!
3. Line is only as good as the weakest point. Combination of knots including use of doubled lines and double line knots can increase overall tensile strength.
4. At first glance the amount of data is staggering. Upon dissection I have more questions and found there is a huge amount of data missing.

I would stop here and read those linked articles before going any further.

For those who get bored reading this stuff and just want a summary, I prepared as Rich Trox would call it the ?INSTANT GRATIFICATION? snapshot. I peeled out the 4 brands we most commonly discuss (9 lines total) and provided you with the data from both articles. This data can not be argued unless your evidence has been proven 5-15 times on the Instron 5543. To create this cheat sheet I decided to compile all the data from both articles into one spread sheet. What was revealed was how much data was missing.

For those at the seminar, I took a gamble and assumed there would be 4 catagories of line users based on previous internet chats. I poled the attendees to see who used Mono, PowerPro, Sufix, SpiderWire, Fireline and other.

Mono- 12%
PowerPro- 50%
Sufix- 16%
Fireline- 10%
Spiderwire- 12%
Other- 0%

Filling in the data holes- Just my opinion

First Article

After reading the first article in August 06, I was ecstatic. I use Fireline 20 and was glad to see so much data to confirm what I already assumed. It had the highest breaking point. So what was the article lacking? Let?s review.

1. 31 braids tested 20# and 50#, 5 x?s each
2. Winning line 20# Fireline used for testing 27 knots 5 x?s each
3. 50# PowerPro (not the winning line) used for 27 knots 5 x?s each

-Why was Fireline excluded from the 50# test?
-Why didn?t they test all the lines equally?
-Why don?t they show the results of each test? Mean, median, average, highest and lowest are pieces of the puzzle. I?d like to study and concentrate on the two lowest breaking points for all the tests when making line decisions.
-How do the line and knot tests perform after 500, 1000 and 2000 casts?
-How did they test after 3years? Do they degrade on a shelf? Does the factory offer consistency in quality? Lot Consistancy?

It would take months to perform such tests using 27 knots on each of the 31 lines but I think those products deserve the attention. I can only assume Doug received numerous complaints from line companies in the market including monofilament and fluorocarbon producers asking why he didn?t test their lines. I don?t think the article was suppose to be an endorsement for any one particular line but had more data on two brands.

Second Article

In August 07 Doug tests 73 lines (monofilaments?s, fluorocarbon?s and braid?s) for tensile strength and knot strength using the Bimini, Bristol and Palomar. We know the process, so what is the data lacking?

-Why was the Palomar used? Yes I know it is the easiest knot to tie consistently for the sake of the testing but does it accurately portray the line strength when Improved Clinch and Uni?s are known to be stronger in many if not most applications? Ideally they should go the distance and have all 73 lines tested with the same 27 knots. What about knot variations? We know braids work better when doubled and at times when more wraps are added to certain knots but these test were not performed. It seems there is no even playing field for monofilaments?s, fluorocarbon?s and braid?s to be tested.

So what can we do with the data we have?

I might start loosing you here and I suggest Advil at this point.

Fireline

I?ll start by saying I am partial to this line. It?s what I use.

Fireline breaks at 54.5, the highest of all braids tested. It also has some of the greatest loss in knot strength depending on the knots you use. There is also more data on this line than the others. This ?extra data? shows the palomar, beat out uni and improved clinch when tied with a double line. Palomar broke at 31.9 lb but at 54.3 lb when the line was doubled to a swivel. Wow! Since we don?t have that data on the other brands I?m going to make an assumption and apply that theory to all of the brands. But you can?t get that strength with out tieing a double line. The bimini knot reduces the lines strength to 43.7 or 80%. The difference is 11.8 lbs. or over half the rated strength and more than 1/5 the actual strength. For those that don?t use hardware, the bristol proved stronger over surgeons and uni to uni. All lines tested used a 7 wrap bristol. Unfortunately that knot does knot work as well on the braids as it did on the mono lines in the test. Luckily, the extra data on fireline showed that the 7 wrap bristol which broke at 35.6 lbs, broke at 42.7lbs with 12 wraps. Since we don?t have 12 wrap bristol data for the other lines I?m going to assume that the other braids are going to benefit from this information and would endorse the 10-12 wrap instead of 7 for all braid lines. This knot is based on doubled line. I?d use the bimini to use the tag ends strength. The bristol proved weaker (42.7 bristol vs. 43.7 bimini) by just one pound. I can live with that. So if you use the bimini and stick with the Palomar and Bristol you should have about 43lbs of tensile strength from 20lb.

It?s fair to say that anything you read after this is my assumption. I?m doing my best to calculate the holes in the data using the information provided and adding some theory.

Fireline Crystal

Same thing as Fireline, right? Crystal breaks at 47.1and was the 3rd strongest, that?s 7.4lbs. less than Fireline. Isn?t this the newer, better stuff? Well out of the gate the Binini broke at 47.1lb average. That?s 100% of the lines tensile strength and 3.4 lb better than Fireline. Here?s the dilemma. The single line Palomar tested at 44%, about 21.5lbs tensile strength. With out concrete data it?s tough to say if the double line Palomar will equal it?s tensile strength which would give this line nearly 100% tensile strength of 47.1lbs tied with a bimini and double Palomar to the swivel. Or will the double line Palomar show 20% less the 40% increase Fireline proved or 24lbs? I think it will near 40, but that?s my assumption, don?t cast on it!
The Bristol 7 wrap broke at 31.1. Figuring there was an 8% increase using a Bristol 12 wrap on Fireline I?m willing to assume we could add 4.4 lbs to this and get 35.5lbs.
I?ve used both lines and I?ll stick to the Fireline

Time to do your own homework

I?ve used PowerPro once and can?t speak much about it. There was not much difference in the breaking points of the Yellow and Moss Green although the Moss Green was weaker, a trend you will see in many braid brands.

I have never used Sufix. I would like to know why Low-Vis Green (23.4lb) tested dramatically lower than the Hi-Vis Yellow (31.7lb)? It?s seems we tend to gravitate to the Moss Green/Low-Vis Green products assuming it provides some stealth to our presentation. I wouldn?t give up that much strength for stealth if I were a Sufix user.

I tried SpiderWire once a while ago and remember going right back to the comfort of my other line. I can?t speak for it except the Ultracast High-Vis Yellow was the second place champion in testing.

We?ve got some time to practice and test knots. I?d like to read your feed back after some concrete testing. Hopefully this information will confirm what you are already doing. If it doesn?t, try your knots against the suggested knots and maybe you can better the strength of your line by changing knots.

Will post the Spread ASAP.

This post edited by ihavegills 10:23 AM 01/29/2008
 

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thank you so much for goin throught the trouble of finding all this out and bring it to light. so far I have only used power pro but now I want to try fireline crystal and spiderwire.
 

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Knots and string...

I appreciate the zeal, but...

I cant help it but, it reminds me of golf. How many ways can you somebody rethink hitting the ball into the hole. The simplest premise in the world. Hit the ball into the hole. It turns into rocket science, somehow. Golf ball designs, space-age composite club heads and shafts, Bla, bla, bla...
All this emphasis on having the right rods and the right reels , line, lures, bla, bla. If I told you all I caught a bunch of keepers on a twenty dollar rod/reel combo from Modells, would anyone run out to but it?
To me, the antithesis of fishing is fussing over equiptment related minutia. You all know what catches fish!! You all know how simple it really is!! You put the shiny lure in front of the big fish at the right time in the right place and, BAM!
I'm not saying that I do not get caught up in it too, but it's just all over done.

It'r really just a worm on a hook.

Please tell me what YOU think.
 

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Excellent read. Gives me some practice of knots I get to screw up on the water this spring. I've been using the "Uni knot" with 5 turns on the 15/20 lb class lines, and they usually break around 22 lbs worth of pressure with PowerPro for the 15lb line and around 26/27 for the 20 lb series. But no I will give much more thought into doubling over. I usually stuck with the Uni since I find it very easy to tie for myself.
 

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Excellent read! Thank you for taking the time to put this thread together. When I converted to braid years ago, I started with Fireline, and still use it today, but only in the surf. I found something that worked for me, and have never looked back.:)
I will admit, though, I do use power pro on my boat rods(conventioanal reels which I also cast plugs), and Suffix on one light (10lb) spinning rod. That is kind of how my rods have settled out over the years. I have never had a problem with any of the aforementioned lines, based on the applications mentioned. I use the palomar knot to attach leaders, barrels, etc.

This post edited by longcast 09:18 AM 01/29/2008
 

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iHaveGills- Thanks for putting this out again. Not sure if you saw my comments on the other thread. I would be interested comparison of line diameter included with that as well as comment on suppleness, durability, etc. I know that get's subjective, but it is part of the equation.

TallPall- LOL when I read your post. True, we do obsess, but ya have ta think that while each little detail may be marginally significant, combined they can be important. Once you determine one choice is better than another (no matter how small the difference) there's no turning back. I'm much more experienced on the fresh water side. I drive my girlfriend crazy explaining why all the lead bullet weights I have are no good anymore and I need everything in tungsten in 6 different weights that are just fractionally different...and in pumpkin, red, and black of course.
 

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TallPaul -

I appreciate your thoughts about the fuss regarding lines, knots, etc. To be honest, it is NOT the keeper that worries me about which line, knot, hook, leader, etc. It is that fish that hits at the end of a cast, full running tide, heading around that boulder, etc. that keeps me paying attention to the little details. At that point, I do not want to be thinking about my line, which knot, etc. I take the time UP FRONT to get that stuff out of the way. I am in the game for a while now, and I am still waitng for that HIT! I refuse to allow equipment failure into the equation!
 

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Wow-- this was really great stuff. Thank you for posting it. I really enjoyed reading it. I always take any tests with a grain of salt. There is nothing like your own field tests. A machine can't duplicate rocks, white water and salt,sun,and sand but then again.........
 

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Eric,
Good stuff

Its not the knot, its how well you can tie it. Use the knot you are most comfortable tying.

There is one thing the data fails to take into account that I think is very important and that is how well the knots are tied. How well it is executed. I would have liked to see the tests performed with a group of different anglers all tying the same knot over a few repetitions take the average and range. That way you would find the knots that were most sensitive to technique.

How many times have you attempted to tie a knot you tied many times in the past only to have it break as you pulled it tight? - If that happens often it is technique sensitive, If that happens to you often, you should practice more or find another knot.

I used to work at Grumman and was a avid offshore guy. With a group of other Grummbags we made up a formidable crew that fished all the long island tournaments. At Grumman we had access to tensile test machines such as the Instron you mention. During our lunchtime and breaks from building the greatest planes in the world (I am proud), we used to tie and test knots. Many times we would even bet on who could tie the knots better. We attempted to create a better knot too. That never worked except once, but we couldn't duplicate it.

What we found out by using the tensile test machine is that some guys just had a knack with certain knots. Our tests showed that technique and execution in tying the knot was as important as the knot itself. That is why when we got on the boat, only certain guys would snell, certain other guys would be allowed to splice and certain guys would be allowed to tie the swivel. Knot tying became specialized, much like you have one guy for the gaff, a guy for the push pole and a specialist as the leaderman...

With braid, I stick to the uniknot because I tie it consistently well in all conditions, and in varying lb test.

The message here is to not switch your bread and butter knot to gain a few lbs of breaking strength that was reported to be a better knot in a magazine article.

Thanks again for the info Eric
Regards, Kurt
 
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