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September 16, 2011

Sport Fishing Line Test 2011

How 76 different 20-pound fishing lines stack up in break- and knot-strength testing

Actual Break Strength

This shows at what point the lines broke, regardless of their diameter. These “20-pound” monos/fluoros actually range from 19.8 pounds to 37 pounds. The IGFA specifies line class by kilograms, so 20-pound-line-class records are allowed to break up to 22.2 pounds; that’s the number when converting 20 pounds to kilograms. That means for the purposes of records, tournaments or simply those who fish by line classes, 18 of 58 lines tested as truly 20pound class.

However, the odds are good that several more mono lines in this test would also be in the 20-pound class, because all lines were tested dry. For braids and fluorocarbons — which do not lose strength when wet — that has no effect on breaking strength. Monofilaments, on the other hand, do lose some strength when wet; the amount varies and might range from just 2 percent or 3 percent to 10 percent or so. (The IGFA tests monos after soaking them.)

The braided lines ranged from a high of 40.5 pounds to a low of 20.8. As expected, most broke considerably higher than monofilaments. So for the 18 braids tested, all but one exceeds the 20pound class, four by roughly twice as much as the strength stated on the spool. Manufacturers traditionally justified what might be considered misleading labeling by pointing out that braid’s knot strength for most consumers would be in the 70 percent to 80 percent range. However, braided lines have improved their knot strength in the years since those claims were made, and as these tests show, a well-tied Bimini will provide 90 percent to 100 percent strength in most cases.

Deviation — listed very ­generally as low, moderate or high — proved low for most lines, suggesting a high level of consistency.

 Actual Diameters | Strength to Diameter Ratio | Actual Break Strength | Knot Strength | Cost Per Yard