Articles

Spectra Based Super Lines: How Old is Your Line?

Posted on August 12, 2007

Guest Article by Duane Richards

The word “bulletproof” comes to mind: Spectra braided lines that is. In comparison to nylons (all monofilaments) the sheer strength of Spectra is undeniable and indisputable.

Spectra made changing line before most fishing trips a thing of the past, one that I’m very happy to have avoided for many years. It always seemed like such a waste to throw away all that nylon month after month.

I’ve been a proud “Pro Staff” member of Power Pro fishing line for many years and consequently I have the same Spectra on my reels year after year for longer than I can remember. Never once did the thought of the line getting weak occur to me, until a few weeks back.

I spend a lot of time on the lake with a Carolina Rig in my hand. On this rod I carry 50lb Power Pro and all the needed attachments, including a Segar 10lb fluorocarbon leader. This leader obviously kept my main 50lb line in tact for many years – to the best of my recollection 3-4 years plus is about right.

Over the past 6 months I’ve noticed that same 50lb main line becoming weak. It seemed to be breaking off easier than it should. I considered re-spooling, but decided to “reverse” the line on the reel instead. Why waste all that new line that’s never been used right?

After reversing the line it was apparent on the very next fishing trip that it made very little difference. I was still breaking the main line easier than it should. Many thoughts came to mind: hard use, sun, elements, moisture being held in the spool, and many others.

After that trip, I decided to pull the line off the reel and spool with brand new 50lb braid. A few days later on my next outing, I hung that Carolina Rig and proceeded to try and break it off like I had been doing with the older line. I was in for a real awaking! I could not break the line. The sinker on the main line was hung and it would not give period. I actually had to cut the line. What a difference!

I decided to contact Konrad Krauland, owner of Innotex Inc. (Power Pro) and talk a bit about the degradation of Spectra. We had a few good emails back and forth, my telling him of my discovery and him speaking of the technical side of the material.

He suggested sending in the used line for testing, and here are those test results:

QUOTE
“Duane:

We have tested the line you had returned to us with non-conclusive results, however, I would like to report what we had found. Please note that these tests were conducted in laboratory conditions, and not under real life circumstances.

Used End:

Fibrillation apparent along the length of the line. Strength 35 and 41 lbs respectively

Unused End:

Line looks good, strength 56.5 lbs (one break only)

Middle of Line:

Line looks good, strength of 53 lbs. (one break only)

Conclusion:
The line has definitely deteriorated since you received it from us, as 50lb line typically has a breaking strength from 65 to 73 lbs when it leaves the factory. You could possibly still catch fish with the turned around line, but who knows when and where it would break as there has been some degradation along its length.

Duane, I agree with you that hard fished line should probably be replaced in the 2 to 3 year timeframe, as things happen that can affect the line from load history to fibrillation, etc… A 2-year run is a pretty good life span for a line!

Thanks for sending us the line for testing.

Regards, Konrad”

So now you see the reasoning for this article. We all are learning this fiber and its limitations daily. I felt like these tests should be public, to help anglers realize that ALL Spectra lines are not as bulletproof as we thought they were.

This also opens up a good side environmentally as well. If Spectra lines are degrading on our reels as we speak, then it’s surely going to degrade in the harsh elements of the outdoors, and a lot faster also.

The cure? My reels will get a date stamp on a piece of tape that will be placed on the bottom side of the reel’s foot along with the pound test that is already there. Every 2-3 years, the line will be completely replaced on each one and recycled.

Keep in mind these tests above were done on 50lb test, and the lasting of the line in my “real world” time was several years. But, had it been 10lb test or even 20lb, I’m sure the results would show even faster degradation because of its lack in diameter; lighter pound tests being thinner with less material.

With this I mind, I believe all so-called “Super lines” should be changed out every 2-3 years. I believe this recommendation will be a sound one for most avid anglers. Reels that see less use or that are spooled in larger pound tests may last a little longer, but I’m sure not willing to take that chance with my next Trophy! Are you?

Copyright © 2007 Duane Richards
Published on RiverSmallies.com with permission.
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Duane “DR” Richards is a regular at RiverSmallies.com and owner of DR’s Custom Rods. He can be reached at his website DR’s Custom Rods.

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