Saturday, August 27, 2011

Berkley Nanofil Product Review and Fishing Report

I've been slow on the blog write ups primarily because I've been out fishing as much as possible.  So, with hurricane Irene heading our way in a matter of a few hours, I figured the next best thing to fishing would be to write about fishing.  All I can think about is my last fishing trip, which was pretty good given the amount of time that I had to fish.  So, I'm going to write about that trip even though it only lasted an hour and a half or so.  One of the reasons that trip might be special is that I recently purchased a spool of Berkley Nanofil.  Yeah, I heard the hype about this line that is supposed to cast further per diameter than any other line.  I've heard claims about various braided lines in the past and have found that they aren't a lot different than standard mono when it comes to casting distance.  Plus, Nanofil is touted to have the same qualities as the other superlines, being low stretch, high strength per diameter, and durability.  When I set out to start this blog, I set a goal to not do product reviews.  I'm not endorsed by anyone, nor do I want to be.  I want to fish without any ties, to be unbiased and to work with what I feel are the best products.  But in this case, I felt that this product warrants my analysis.  Nanofil differs from other superlines because it's not constructed the same way.  Rather than having strands of microdyneema fibers and other fibers either braided or fused together, Berkley labels Nanofil as a uni-filament.  The next paragraph is the promo from Berkley, what they say about their new line:

"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 caught this small bass using the Nanofil line/worm combo,
 all of the fish were this size (11-12") that I caught using it last night.
OK, I had about an hour and a half to fish.  The water was gin clear.  I caught seven largemouth using the Nanofil, and I didn't lose a single fish.  I'd like to think that was due to my fishing ability rather than the line, but I'll let y'all draw your own conclusions.  I fished from shore last night, and with the water so clear I was sight fishing.  Every fish that I saw except one, I caught.  The one that I didn't see was interested, but didn't strike.  (Edit:  let me explain, I didn't see the fish before my cast, until it poked it's head out of the weedbed, nosed my worm, and then decided not to bite).  I was using a 4" plastic worm, light weight, light wire worm hook, and 2 pound diameter 6 pound test Nanofil.  It casts like a dream, much further than any other braid or fused line that I've ever used even of the same diameter.  It's far more smooth than other braids, and shoots through the guides with ease.  It was so smooth that it almost felt weird, and it casts so far that I actually over shot my target a few times until I got used to it.  Like other superlines, it has no stretch.  I think that Nanofil is stronger than the pound test rating.  You don't need a massive hook set, just a quick snap of the wrist and the hook is driven home, just like other braids.  Even though the line is white, I didn't see it in the water hardly at all, but granted it was low light conditions the last hour prior to dark.  The fish definitely didn't care.  The action of the plastic worm looked great as it should with this bait.  I had no problems at all with loops coming off the spool, "wind" knots, or anything like that and I think that I even overfilled the spool.  So far so good.  I know that this little bit of testing isn't much, but so far I'm very impressed.  Time will tell if further experiences are positive or not.  I'll report back later after extended use.

I caught this nice bass on my third cast with a modified
Strike King Tri-Wing Buzz King buzzbait.  The modification
is the clacker that I added to give it that much more noise.
I could have kept catching that size fish the entire time, they were cruising everywhere.  They were on the hunt, as if preparing for the massive storm that was on it's way up the East Coast.  But, I switched tactics right at dark for two reasons.  One, I started seeing frogs everywhere.  When they become active, so do the bass.  And, I began seeing quite a bit of surface activity.  It wasn't as if fish were chasing minnows, but the shorelines became agitated.  It's the same kind of surface disturbance that you see when you walk up on a bass and spook it...except, these fish weren't spooked.  To me, that kind of activity should be fished by something big, loud, and fast to cover more water, so I went to a buzzbait.  It's not that the finesse pattern wouldn't catch big bass, but during the last hour of daylight, search baits, like buzzbaits, work a bit better in tempting big bass into striking.  I was working a weed patch when, on my third cast, a fish slurped my buzzer.  I managed to land that fish, a nice twenty one inch largemouth bass, although it seemed to be all head, and no belly.  This bass resembled those Lake Erie largemouth, all head and not a lot of weight.  Still, it was a quality bass. 

Here's the same fish.  I carefully laid her down on the weeds
to snap this photo.  All head and no belly, probably an older fish.
I'm dedicating the catch of this bass to Tom Boyd, who writes
the blog "Fishing with Dad" linked to the right.  Tom is at home
recovering from knee replacement surgery.  Here's a bass
for him to keep his spirits up during his long painful recovery.
I tossed a buzzer for about 20 minutes more, working the weedy and woody cover thoroughly.  I had three more blow ups, but the fish seemed way behind the lure.  I tried following up with my finesse rig, but the fish weren't interested in that once it became dark.  I decided to call it a day and look forward to the next outing.  Not too shabby, eight largemouth bass in a little over an hour, including a nice one.

Up until I tried the Nanofil, Suffix 832 seemed like the best casting line of the braids that I've been using.  I've fished with Power Pro, Fireline, and various Spiderwire versions.  All of them were pretty good, but none of them really stood out over the other until I tried the Suffix 832.  How did the Nanofil compare?  Nanofil casts much better for the same pound test, it's thinner too.  It's not as stiff as 832, is much more limber than I expected, and seems to come off the spool and through the guides smoothly.  Casting was effortless with the Nanofil.  With the 832, I had to put some oomph into my casts just to get close to the distance.  So far, the Nanofil was pretty tough and handled the fish nicely.  It's still early in my analysis though. 

So, for the future, I'll keep testing this line.  I still have questions to be answered:

How durable is this line after hours, days, or weeks of use?  I've only put an hour of use on it so far.

What issues with the poundage/breaking strength might I have?  I may not have any problems.

What about line twist, coils, memory, "wind knots", and other problems after the lines been used and on the spool a while?

How will it perform using other lures and techniques?

How will smallmouth in clear streams react to the visibility of the line?

So far, I like this stuff a lot, especially for jigging with finesse plastics.  But, only time will tell when it comes to answering these questions.

Suffix 832 withstood all the tests and only one time did I have to switch to fluorocarbon to get bites.  I wonder if the Nanofil will be as successful.  I will report back after a few trips, but so far, I think it's worth the investment.

My last question is, what will happen if this becomes the line that everyone is trying to beat technology wise?  Can you imagine?  The fishing line technology race may result in a superline that runs clear like fluorocarbon!

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