Heading into the second half of the 2019 fluke season, I spooled up a few new reels with Berkley X9 braid 20-pound and found it a superior option for light tackle presentation. I’d previously used the X5 (five-strand) on some of my conventional gear; the X9 (nine-strand) has been great on a few of my spinning outfits in terms of the overall castability. But the key attribute here is the breaking strength vs. diameter, essentially getting away with much lighter jigs and bucktails than those fishing around you, without giving up strength.
Berkley claims X9 to be the thinnest braid in its price class on the market today; a quick check against a couple of the other leading lines that I also enjoy using and I found the 20-pound X9 that I spooled with this summer came in at .007” diameter compared to .009” on a couple of the others. A subtle difference of course, but it can be a difference maker on the fluke grounds in terms of strength vs. weight required for presentation.
“Our ambassador, Skip Lerman, field tested X9 during the summer of 2018 targeting deep water fluke,” Berkley’s Chris Gatley told me recently. “It wasn’t till this past weekend when his buddies told me how whatever line he was field testing allowed him to use 4 ounces when others were running 6 ounces.”
A long time charter captain himself, Gatley spends a great deal of his time testing Berkley brands on our Mid-Atlantic and Northeast proving grounds. While fishing 20-pound Berkley X9 and new Gulp colors at McCrie’s Shoal off Cape May in July, Gatley described using the 80-pound Berkley X9 casting at musky in super pressured lakes to our north. “X9 allowed me to back off edges and spots because I could cast further,” Gatley said.
Bottom line, in fresh or saltwater you’re getting a much lighter line without compromising breaking strength, critical in so many applications; think jigging tautog or bucktailing fluke! From 8- to 100-pound test and available in dark green and crystal white. Visit www.berkley-fishing.com.