DAIWA PRODUCT FOCUS: Tested & Reviewed: Daiwa J-Braid, 8 Braid Evo and 12 Braid Words & Images: Kosta Linardos
To say that 2016 has seen Daiwa release a lot of new products is quite the understatement. The Japanese tackle giant has possibly released more new rods, reels, line and leader over the past 12 months than at any other point in its history.
Importantly, all the new releases have offered significant improvements in technology, design and features – they haven’t just been new colours of the same old gear. One aspect of Daiwa’s products where it has really raised the bar is in braided lines. Daiwa has always made braid of exceptional quality; this hasn’t changed, but there is now more variety with regard to price point, features and quality.
J-Braid hit the market with a bang thanks to a clever marketing campaign that made use of the E. Honda sumo wrestler character of the famous Street Fighter video game. Importantly, the product is on a par with the excellent marketing. J-Braid is a high-quality 8-carrier braid that comes in at a low price point when compared with other 8-carriers on the market. It isn’t just a well-priced 8-carrier, either; it’s a very, very nice braid.
It comes in a vast range of breaking strains and lengths from 6lb through to 120lb and spool lengths of 150, 300, 1500 and 3000 metres. J-Braid is round, smooth and thin for its breaking strain. It comes in a hi-vis Chartreuse that holds its colour well and a metred multicolour in breaking strains of 10lb upwards.
I’ve been using it on a few reels in varying strengths, from 6lb to 65lb, and I love it. It’s soft, supple, knots beautifully and doesn’t easily fray. It isn’t easily prone to wind knots and the 8 strands are woven beautifully – there is no chance of even a slight unravelling. Superior abrasion resistance is a claim that every packet of braid seems to make; however, I have put J-Braid through its paces fighting sharks in the surf where braid is exposed to rocks, large clumps of kelp running up and down the line, excess sand coverage and a lot of heavy casting and this kind of fishing has shown it really is highly abrasion-resistant.
It is an all-purpose braid that you can use in any fishing scenario and there isn’t a better 8-carrier on the market at this price. And, while cheaper than many other high-end 8-carriers, it easily holds its own against far more expensive products.
Tournament 8 Braid Evo
Tournament 8 Braid Evo is Daiwa’s latest offering and it’s that step above J-Braid. It’s softer, smoother, thinner for its breaking strain and more sensitive. It’s also a lot quieter. Another factor of a more tightly woven and smoother line like Evo is that it retains less water, which provides better performance and is better for your reel. It’s a gorgeous braid but you’re paying for the quality. Whereas a 150 metre spool of J-Braid will sit around that $35 price point, you’re moving up to around $70 for the Evo. However, it is worth it. Is it twice as good? Yes, I’d have to say it is, and that is saying something, as J-Braid is excellent.
Evo can be classed a specialist braid. It’s not just the super-silky finish, manageability and sensitivity that are its greatest attributes, but the diameter to breaking strain. J-Braid with an 8lb (3.8kg) breaking strain has a diameter of 0.13mm while the same breaking strain in Evo is 0.10. As you move up the scale in breaking strain the differences become more dramatic. What this offers you is the ability to present small offerings with outstanding castability, a finessed presentation and a lot of muscle to stop bigger fish. Evo is perfect for the angler who wants to retain maximum stealth and presentation while fighting large fish close to nasty structure.
Like J-Braid it also offers outstanding durability with no fraying, unravelling or braid fluff. It knots very well and is an absolute joy to use. It comes in breaking strains of 6lb through to 80lb and spools of 150, 300 and 1000 metres and colours of Chartreuse and multicoloured. As far as 8-carriers go this sits up there with the best of them. It’s an outstanding product.
Daiwa’s new 12 Braid is a revolutionary and world-first – never before has there been a 12-carrier braid. 12 Braid is constructed with Ultra Volume Fibre (UVF) and Evo silicone. The UVF ensures the line doesn’t fade and the colour stays rich. The Evo silicone is what gives the line its ultra-silky finish and it reduces wear, heat and water absorption.
The Evo is an extremely smooth, round and silky braid but 12 Braid takes that amazing finish to a whole new level. It’s ridiculously smooth, round and soft and is like no other braid I have ever felt. It’s extremely quiet in all facets of its operation through the guides and the reel. Put simply, it’s probably the best braid that exists, but you’re paying big dollars for it. At around $150 to $250 it’s very expensive but it is the Rolls-Royce of braided lines.
Daiwa has split 12 Braid into two categories. There is Morethan 12 Braid, which comes in Chartreuse colour, and Saltiga 12 Braid, which comes in multicoloured. Morethan comes in sizes of PE 0.6, 0.8, 1 and 1.2. The PE 0.6 is the thinnest of the range and breaks at a staggering 13lb.
So essentially you’re using a line that’s comparable in diameter to most 6lb lines but breaks at 13lb. This kind of size-to-weight ratio offers some pretty amazing fishing possibilities. The ability to cast small lures into tight structure and lock up the drag and muscle a fish out is something that is easily achievable with a line like this. It casts beautifully, is extremely quiet and knots very well.