site, but no one seems to know the truth.
To answer this question, I went to Island
Tackle Outfitters, a tackle shop in Chester,
Maryland, that keeps hundreds of different
lines and leaders in stock. The company gave
me access to all those lines, as well as the
scales needed to test breaking strength.
To simulate real-world abrasion, my testing team brought an old grappling anchor
made from welded rebar – exactly the kind
of snag your line might rub up against while
fishing. After selecting assorted brands of
braid and monofilament in 20-, 30-, 50-,
and 80-pound tests, we stroked the fishing lines eight inches up and down across
the rebar anchor arms, with five pounds of
downward pressure. The 20- and 30-pound
tests received two strokes, while we gave 50-
and 80-pound tests six strokes against the
rusty metal. After we applied the abrasion,
each line was pulled against a Manley factory-calibrated scale until breaking; we did this to
measure how many pounds of test each line
retained after being roughed up. We repeated
the test three times for every line sample,
then averaged the results.
With 20-pound test, the results were
slightly in favor of monofilament. It retained
an average strength of 19 pounds; the braid
retained an average strength of 17. 4 pounds.
When we went to 30-pound test, however,
the results were far more significant: 28. 2
pounds for monofilament to 17. 4 pounds for
braid. And when we doubled the abrasion to
six strokes and moved up to 50-pound test,
the mono retained 50 pounds of strength
while the braid was cut through on the
sixth stroke. With 80-pound test, the braid
retained a mere 2 pounds of strength while
the mono again tested at its rated strength.
But how could the 50- and 80-pound-test
mono lines not be weakened by the abrasion?
They were, but they broke at the stated rating because virtually all line manufacturers
intentionally underrate breaking strengths to
make it seem as if the line performs better
than the claim. In reality, most lines stamped
as 50-pound test actually have a breaking
strength of 60 to 70 pounds.
Manufacturer ratings aside, our test
proved two things without a doubt: mono-
filament line is better at resisting abrasion,
and although the advantage starts small with
low-diameter lines, it grows epically as line PH
rusty rebar arms
of abrasion for
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