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  Tackle Talk  Rods & Reels

SpiderWire - Fusion

As our Barramundi Trip draws closer by the day, one thing Coho, Chinook and I have been discussing is whether or not we should christen this trip with new tackle and equipment. One item of review is naturally, our lines, what type and poundage to use, and on what reels.

Coho has used SpiderWire before and has great success with it. I remember the first time he used it, we spent 2 hours trying to undo a bird's nest from an Abu Garcia 6500. Since then, his casting has been more reserved as he got used to the line. One difference he did notice between mono-line and SpiderWire, is the lack of stretch in the SpiderWire, allowing you to feel every nibble and bite.

The more questions I asked about SpiderWire/Fusion, the less answers I had. So below is the culmination of some answers and research I have made on SpiderWire-Fusion.

Introduction

SpiderWire was originally trade marked and marketed by a company called Safariland Ltd. Inc.. Safariland produces bulletproof vests for law enforcement agencies in the US, and somehow got into the business of marketing fishing line while they were at it. In 1995, Safariland sold their rights to SpiderWire to the Johnson Corporation which specialises in the business of marketing fishing tackle.

SpiderWire is composed of a "space age" material trade marked "Spectra" by another US company, Allied Signal. Spectra is braided polyethylene fibers, and polyethylene is yet another plastic compound. Many products are made with polyethylene. The U.S. government funded research on a material that was supposed to mimic the silk a spider creates when building a spider web. This explains where SpiderWire got its name. Supposedly, Spectra has been used in recent space missions because of its strength, small diameter and light weight.

There are two types of Spectra used in SpiderWire today, the original Spectra, and Spectra 2000. There is little difference between the original Spectra and Spectra 2000. The original SpiderWire was very flat, whereas Spectra 2000 is considerably more rounded. The flatness is an undesirable attribute as it allows the line to dig into itself on the reel's spool, eventually causing a "bird nest" (it's a big mess).

SpiderWire Fusion - As the advertising goes, ounce-for-ounce, SpiderWire® Fusion® is stronger than steel and many times stronger than any nylon monofilament. SpiderWire Fusion provides near-zero stretch for hair-trigger sensitivity and instant hook-setting power. It's also dramatically better in knot strength, shock strength and abrasion resistance. Plus, you can cast SpiderWire Fusion up to 20% farther than mono.

The braided SpiderWire is made with thinner, stronger, Spectra 2000. The SpiderWire Fusion is made with slightly larger strands of Spectra 1000, which have been fused into a round mono-like structure. Although slightly larger in diameter, SpiderWire fusion is still a small diameter, low-stretch, high-performance superline.


Fusion vs Mono-filament

 
Fusion
Mono
BASIC PROPERTIES    
Strength/Diameter Ratio 2:1 (12 lb. diam is 24 lb. test) 1:1 (8 lb. diam is 8 lb. test)
Shape/Roundness Round Round
Stretch 2 to 3 % 25 to 30%
Coloring Permanent (Ghost Green - Burgundy) Permanent (Various)
Nick Resistance Nicks damage only a few of the 120 micro filaments. Will not tear. Nicks often cause line to tear.
Shelf Life Indefinite Limited
UV Resistance Excellent Poor
Acid Resistance Not affected by battery acid. Battery acid will destroy line.
PROPERTIES    
Tinsel Strength 100% Decreases up to 20%
Stretch Near Zero/No Change Increases up to 50%
Abrasion Resistance 100% Decreases up to 50%
Shock Strength 100% Decreases up to 25%
Knot Strength 100% Decreases up to 20%
Buoyancy Almost neutral. It floats. Sinks
Water Absorbency None/Non-Hydroscopic High/Hydroscopic (8% water)
FISHABILITY    
Casting Distance Up to 20% farther than mono. Average
Casting Accuracy Pinpoint Average
Guide Friction/Noise Silky Smooth and Quiet Slight resistance due to line stiffness and memory
Sensitivity Excellent Average
Hook Setting Power Excellent/Near Zero Stretch Poor/30% Stretch
Packs on Spool Excellent Average
Reel Compatibility Spincast, Spinning, Baitcast Spincast, Spinning, Baitcast
Reel Memory Virtually None High
Tendency To Backlash Low High
Backlash Recovery Excellent Average
Durability Excellent Average
Wear Indication Broken micro filaments warn of line wear before breakoff Nicks wear and damage not visible prior to breakoff
Rigging Life Age has no effect Weakens with age
Visibility Low/No light refraction High/Refracts light
Special Knots Required None None
Knot Strength Excellent Average
Knot Tying Ease Excellent Average
Versatility (Styles/
Species)
Wide Range due to strength/diameter ratio Limited by 1:1 strength/diameter ratio

Characteristics

SpiderWire is braided, that is twined or clustered together to form a single line. The average spool of SpiderWire consists of something like 80 strands of Spectra, which is braided together. Whatever the manufacturing process, the result is a fishing line that has a small diameter, is lightweight, and supposedly is "10 times stronger than steel". Because it is braided, it is very, very limp. Below are some comments to the various properties that SpiderWire posses.

Properties
Comments
Small Diametre This results in the angler's ability to cast further and put more line on his/her reel.
Sensitivity Unlike traditional monofilament line, braided line has virtually no stretch. Combined with a good graphite rode, this means you feel every bump and every tap, and you will really know when you have a fish nibbling on the end of your line.
Better hook sets The fact that braided line hardly stretches has another benefit: you don't have to sling your rod back to set the hook. After a while you learn that a good solid twitch of your rod's tip will provide a solid hookset.
No memory Anyone who has fished with monofilament for any length of time will tell you that mono line tends to "remember" it's position on the reel. This limits how far you can cast and can result in nasty tangles. Braided line is limp and has no such memory.
Resistance to sunlight Monofilament line starts to deteriorate and weaken over time. Most braided lines can stay on your reel for years without deterioration.
Resistance to abrasions A small nick in monofilament line can prove fatal at the most undesirable time. Once mono has a small abrasion, it tears fairly easily. Because braided line consists of somewhere around 80 separate strands of material, if a few strands get severed the remaining ones continue to work at full strength. (In fact, SpiderWire starts to look kind of hairy when it's been pretty nicked.

Drawbacks

The following table lists what has been considered main problems you'll face when using a braided line. Despite all of these problems, however, I prefer braided line for its castability, sensitivity and low stretch.

Reason
Comments
Cost Braided line is expensive. Whereas a spool of very good monofilament line will cost around $15 for 300m, SpiderWire can get in just under $100 for the same length of line.
Tangles Braided line is limp. As such, it tends to "bird nest" if you don't watch it, especially on spinning reels. I've found that frequently the line will cross over the top of the spinning reel spool rather than feeding into the spool like it should. This creates a loop in the line which will eventually (usually on the next cast) result in an ugly bird nest.
Snags Because braided line has such a thin diameter and because it's so limp, it can get snagged in the most unexpected places.
It's too light Too light? Here's where a strength is a weakness. The wind can carry the line quite a distance. You can cast straight along a bank but the wind can catch the line and blow it into the trees. The lure will end up in the water, but the line can be wrapped around a structure of some kind, such as a tree limb.
It's flat If you look at most braided lines under a strong magnifying glass you'll see it's really shaped more like a ribbon than a round string (this is less true with Spectra 2000). Because the line is flat, it can actually dig into the spool, resulting in a bird nest later on. This is especially problematic after putting a lot of pressure on the line as you pull a lure from a snag.
You cant cut it Though the trees seem to do a pretty good job of weakening the line, forget using your teeth to cut the line, it wont work. This is where a set of nail clippers comes in handy.
Its like a saw With a lure getting snagged using monofilament, you can wrap the line around your hands several times and give a stiff yank to at least break the line. However, try this with braided line and you'll find it cuts right through your skin.
It's different If you're used to fishing with monofilament line, then you will find yourself pulling lures out of the fish's mouth for a while because it doesn't stretch. It takes getting used to, and many people never can make the transition.

Tips using Spiderwire

Knots:
The Palomar knot is one of the easiest knots to tie, and is also one of the strongest knots and works great with SpiderWire. When the Palomar knot is used, SpiderWire's knot strength is superior. In extreme conditions, the double or triple Palomar knot may be used.

Stretch Factor:
Braided line has a low stretch factor (3 to 5%). You are able to tell what is down on the other end of the line which is great, but it can also be a deterrent when you fish certain baits, and when it comes to fishing in real severe cold fronts. Just as well as you can feel the fish pick up the bait, the fish will be able to feel you at the same time, and drop the bait before you get a chance to set the hook. Mono on the other hand is a line with about 20 to 30% stretch which is more forgiving when catching fish, but can cost you fish as well, so some experimenting has to be done with the fishing that you are doing.

Changing Line:
A braided line will not deteriorate in the sun like monofilament will. When a line change is made, only about the top 50 to 60 metres is replaced. By doing so, you will be able to get about two to three reel changes out of a spool of line. You will only use the top 40 metres of your reel so why change the whole spool at a time and waste a whole spool of new line. So change your line when needed if you are using braided and at least a couple times a year if you are using monofilament.

Setting the hook:
Unlike monofilament lines, SpiderWire braided lines have practically no stretch. While less stretch translates into more sensitivity, it also means these lines are less forgiving. To avoid tearing the hooks out of a fish's mouth, anglers will have to set the hook with less force or switch to a softer rod.

Spooling SpiderWire:
When spooling SpiderWire, keep these three hints in mind:

  • Apply tension on the filler spool for all superlines.
  • Take a cloth rag to apply tension. You cannot apply too much pressure.
  • Use small diameter line as backing for the superlines. Utilize a back to back uni-knot to tie superline and mono together.

Drag Settings:
When fishing with SpiderWire, it is important to reduce the drag setting, not only to maximize the fishing experience, but to eliminate any stress on rods and reels.

Cutting Braided Line:
Carry either a set of nail clippers or scissors with you at all times when using braided line. Using your teeth just wont cut it, unless you're Jaws !!

Line Slippage:
Today's superlines, such as SpiderWire - Fusion, can slip on a spool if not properly fastened. To avoid slip, use a short length of monofilament backing.

Glossary

Strength:
This is measured in pounds of force required to break the line. Most lines break at a much higher "pound test" than their labels state. "World-record" lines are deigned to break at or just below the labeled pound test.

Abrasion Resistance:
For fishing around cover such as rocks or brush, use a line that will not break easily when it is rubbed against the cover.

Diametre:
Line diameter affects castability, running depths of your lures, stretch and visibility. Thinner lines are harder for fish to see, and they impart a more lifelike action to certain lures such as crankbaits and grubs. Thicker lines are more resistant to abrasion.

Stretch:
Lines that stretch somewhat are more "forgiving" and do not break as easily when a fish pulls against them. Low-stretch lines aid in detecting strikes and setting hooks.

Stiffness:
This quality is closely related to line stretch. A stiff line generally is harder to cast than a flexible line, but it often is more sensitive and abrasion resistant.

Visibility:
In clear water, it is important to have line that is not very visible to fish. But when fishing lures on which strikes are likely to be subtle -- such as jigs, worms, and grubs -- a fluorescent , highly visible line makes it easier to detect line movement that may indicate a strike.


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