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Line Review


 

Samurai in Training? Daiwa's J-Braid Grand is Ready for Battle

 

Date: 6/6/20
Tackle Type: Fishing Line
Manufacturer: Daiwa
Reviewer: Cal






Total Score: 8.08 - BEST VALUE AWARD

Introduction:
At some point in the last five plus years, Daiwa, a company many of us rely upon for quality rods, reels, and sometimes lures also became a line manufacturer. You're probably already familiar with or at least know about Samurai Braid - a product I thought was discontinued upon the introduction of the subject of today's review, J-Braid. I was obviously mistaken although Daiwa did stop making the hi-vis Samurai, so that's probably where I got confused. Anyway, while I was preparing for a more detailed look at J-Braid, I discovered there are several varieties, X8, X4, and the actual subject of today's review, X8 Grand.

 

Daiwa J-Braid Grand X8 Braided Line Specifications

Line Type 8 carrier (IZANAS) braid
Colors Available Dark Green, Gray Light, Island Blue
Colors Tested Gray Light
Line Weights 6 - 65lb
Line Weights Fished 20lb, 50lb
MSRP $29.99 per 300yd Spool

 

Background: So what separates these different braid products? Mostly it's material. Samurai Braid is made with a polyethylene fiber called Spectra - a registered trademark of Honeywell International, Inc out of the United States. J-Braid X8 and X4 are both made with Dyneema, a registered polyethylene product by DSM Dyneema, B.V out of the Netherlands. Up until recently, DSM Dyneema had a joint use agreement with Toyobo Co., Ltd, out of Japan, for use of the Dyneema trademark. That agreement has expired and now Toyobo is producing their own formulation of polyethylene fiber with the trademark name of IZANAS. J-Braid Grand is made with IZANAS.

 


Introducing Daiwa's J-Braid Grand

Impressions: Running Daiwa's J-Braid Grand in 50lb test through my fingers, I can feel it and a smooth finish that's very reminiscent of Samurai braid. It is smooth without being waxy - a very important trait in my search for braided lines. If a new to me braid has that waxy coating or a finish that flakes off easily, it doesn't last very long on my reels. Daiwa seems to be using the same method to create this line as they are their Samurai brand. J-Braid Grand feels very refined yet is about half the price of Samurai braid.


J-Braid Grand is an 8 carrier braid made from a new polyethylene fiber, IZANAS

Furthering the comparison to Samurai Braid, one thing I like about Daiwa's original braid is it was typically smaller in diameter than the competition.

Case in point, our historical average for diameter of fifty to fifty five (50-55) pound test braided line is 0.319mm. 55 pound test Samurai Braid measured at 0.282mm in our lab. J-Braid Grand at 50 pound test measured at 0.249mm. That's 22% smaller than our tested average.


I purchased this line specifically to fish on this reel, my Monoblock Grigio Stone

Real World Tests: I've been fishing Daiwa's J-Braid product off and on since its introduction but zeroed in on it as a mainstay in my arsenal since my trip to Japan during the Summer of 2019 where I acquired a new Megabass Monoblock Grigio Stone casting reel. J-Braid Grand in that gray light color matches this reel perfectly and thus began this review. I also fished the 20lb test on board my Ballistic spinning reel while testing the revamped Ark Rods Invoker Pro.


I tried some of the 20lb on my Daiwa Ballistic too

Casting: From the very first cast, Daiwa's J-Braid Grand comes off both casting and spinning spools very easily very reminiscent of Samurai braid. Because it doesn't have that waxy coating many braided line products come with, there's no break-in period with J-Braid Grand. That's one aspect of some braided lines that really annoys me.

We, as consumers, shouldn't have to fish a line to "break it in" to a more manageable state. If there's a coating on a line that requires some wear before your line behaves properly, then there's too much of that coating on the line to begin with - period. Daiwa's J-Brad Grand fishes great right off the spool, which is exactly what anglers deserve in a quality superline.


A close-up of the line reveals a smooth texture

Abrasion: On my spinning setup, I tied a fluorocarbon leader to my J-Braid Grand, but on the casting reel, I fished it both with and without a leader. To test abrasion, I pitched Texas rigged plastics and swimming jigs in and around the usual docks, rocks and weeds and found J-Braid Grand did a good job of holding up to the challenges. It doesn't cut as well as coarser, 4 strand braids coming through weeds, so there were a few occasions I had to convince Zander to turn the boat around so I could reach down and pull my bait out, or bust out the lure retriever for those deeper snags. Truthfully, I like doing that to him anyway even if I don't have a bad hang up just to slow down his power fishing cadence sometimes. But in and around harder surfaces, it slides back and forth nicely allowing you to at least get your bait back. Just be sure to check your line after each "rub" to be sure your line isn't compromised.


Exploding the end of the line to take a look at those IZANAS fibers

Noise: J-Braid Grand has a nice, smooth finish that allows it to go through your guides with a minimum amount of noise compared to other braids. In fact, there were times fishing with this line that I forgot I was fishing a braid because it's so quiet and worry free. That's what I look for in a fishing line - experiences where the line I'm using is the least of my concerns. J-Braid Grand inspires this type of confidence.


J-Braid Grand is very limp off the spool reminiscent of Samurai Braid

Impact/Knot Strength: I took some pretty fierce hits fishing a Megabass Uoze Swimmer with the 50lb J-Braid Grand on my casting setup. I had the bait tied directly to the line with no fluorocarbon leader, and intentionally did not retie for a full day to see how the line would hold up. I fished Uoze swimmer amongst weeds and dock pilings bumping it into stuff whenever I could and at the end of the day suffered no break offs or even frayed line. It was a risky maneuver with an expensive little swim jig but J-Braid didn't let me down.


J-Braid Grand held up very well over the course of a season

On the spinning setup, I mostly fished with a fluorocarbon leader where admittedly, I'm not the best at that connection knot. Despite that disadvantage, the connection held up well for me over a few trips where the leader itself eventually had to be cut off and retied because of wear.


I took some pretty fierce hits fishing a Megabass Uoze Swimmer with the 50lb J-Braid Grand on my casting setup

Longevity: After almost a full year of activity, I finally took the J-Braid Grand off my reels upon retirement of my Monoblock Grigio Stone (at least for now) and while the line was faded slightly, it still looked and felt as though it could go at least another year before needing to be replaced. The 20lb test on my Daiwa Ballistic saw less use than the 50lb on the Monoblock, and held up equally as well if not better.

 

Ratings:

Daiwa J-Braid Grand X8 Braided Line Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Nice round profile and smaller in diameter than similarly rated lines 9
Performance Handles extremely well 9
Price $0.10 per yard, pretty reasonable 8
Features Available in two colors, 8 carrier construction 7
Design (Ergonomics) Smooth finish, small diameter, holds up well over time 7.5
Application Available in a range of strengths to support a variety of applications 8

Total Score

8.08
Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here

 

Pluses and Minuses:

Plus

Minus
+ Handles very well - It took me this long to discover the product
+ Smaller than average in diameter  
+ Half the price of Samurai Braid  

  

Conclusion: I really wasn't sure what to expect with Daiwa's J-Braid Grand and am still confused as to the need for this product and Samurai Braid - not to mention the non-Grand J-Braid. Nevertheless Daiwa now has a full suite of braided line product in their arsenal, and has just re-started their venture into fluorocarbon with their J-Fluoro Leader material. Add a nylon monofilament or copolymer product and Daiwa will have completed their journey into full fledged line manufacturer adding to their resume of fishing divisions.


J-Braid Grand may be the middle child to Samurai and standard J-Braid, but it deserves a lot of attention

Daiwa's Samurai braid used to be a staple in my arsenal. When the company discontinued the hi-vis color, I lost touch with the line and thought it had been discontinued. I assumed J-Braid was a replacement product only to find it's a supplement to their established brand. Now, J-Braid Grand is here as a sort of middle child, and thanks to its easy handling character and good longevity, it may become the most popular of them all. Add a cool, multi-colored, camo option and it may very well become my braided line of choice, but for now, considering this line behaves a lot like Samurai braid at half the price, let's call J-Braid Grand a Best Value Award winner.

Looking for Daiwa J-Braid Grand X8 Braided Line?

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