June 6, 2011

My Thoughts on Berkley's NanoFil

I received a spool of the highly anticipated new Berkley NanoFil line last week.  I fished it for a few hours non-stop on Saturday and was really impressed.  Berkley describes the new line as:

Not a Mono. Not a Braid. The Next Generation of Fishing line. NanoFil is made out of gel-spun polyethylene, much like a superline. This ultimate spinning reel fishing line consists of hundreds of Dyneema® nanofilaments that are molecularly linked and shaped into a unified filament fishing line. Dyneema, The World’s Strongest Fiber™, gives this line superline type strength and our uni-filament process makes it feel and handle like a smooth monofilament.

I was a little skeptical about how well this line would perform but decided to see for myself. I rigged up a spool of the eight pound test they sent me onto my Shimano Stradic 2500.  The line is very soft and my wife described it best when she said it looks and feels like dental floss.  The diameter is very thin on this line and my biggest mistake was not putting enough backing on my reel.  It seemed like the 150 yards only spooled up about 3/4 of the spool, even with a mono backing.  Lesson learned, I should have checked the diameter a little closer.  The small diameter is actually one of the best things about this line, you can easily go up a size or two and not lose the size or castability.  I just read another review on Field and Stream and they said they did a line test and the eight pound broke at 16 pounds.  That's pretty strong when you consider how thin it is.

The Positives:
  • I immediately noticed the longer casts with this line.  I had another rod rigged up with 8 pound fluorocarbon and the same drop shot set-up and same reel and it did cast further.  
  • I purposely tested it with a drop-shot since that is what seems to twist my line more than any other technique I know of.  It didn't twist my line at all and was very manageable.  It has zero stretch and zero memory; both a plus for certain techniques.
  • They also claim it was more sensitive.  I would say that is true, much like the difference between braided line and mono.  I don't know that it was more sensitive that braided line, but it was definitely sensitive.
Now for the drawbacks:
  • One is cost, it retails for $19.99 for a 150 yard spool.  That is pretty expensive, especially if you only get one reel spooled like I did.  
  • Two is how it frays.  I noticed the package said "Wear is often more noticeable with ultra-smooth lines.  Watch the last 1ft to 6ft of line for signs of wear".  I didn't notice it much, but it is something to watch out for.
  • The color is also a question to me.  Like I said earlier, it looks and feels like dental floss.  The white under water is noticeable and may require a leader.
I tied a Palomar, but the press materials said that tying a NanoFil Knot, which is a Double Palomar, makes it 15% stronger.  Check out the video below.  I may test this know for other lines as well.

UPDATE: Nanofil is available at TackleWarehouse now!

Scoring for Berkley NanoFil

Price/Value: 3 
Price and value can always be debated.  It's pricey, but is also a brand new type of line full of unique technology.  
Durability: 2
When it warns about getting frayed easily, you have to wonder.  Time will tell.
Performance: 5
Casts a mile!  Very sensitive, no stretch and no memory!
Innovation: 4
Definitely nothing like it, and I believe the buzz and hype show that people are interested.
Availability: 2
No stores yet (since it isn't out yet), but I believe it will be everywhere Berkley is.

UPDATE: Nanofil is available at TackleWarehouse now!

Total Score: 16  - Good Buy!
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