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Line Review

 

Serving Aces with PowerPro's Hollow Braid (continued)

Abrasion: The benefit of having a twenty foot or more leader on your line is you rarely subject the Hollow Ace to any abrasion. It is certainly too smooth to offer any cutting properties like four strand or rougher eight strand braids, so I wouldn't recommend it for that application. The length of my leader on the Scorpion DC setup was roughly fifteen feet and at one point, while fishing a Nishine Lure Works Finesse Football Jig, we were sitting in about twelve to fifteen feet of water. When I made a short cast and let my line sink, I could see my Hollow Ace floating on the surface right up to the connection point where the leader disappeared in the water. My mainline was basically subject to zero abrasion because it was still all on top. That's the benefit of using a leader.


Fishing jigs with the Scorpion DC

In horizontal bait presentations, I fished my Ryoga 1520L on board a first generation Edge Rods Black Widow 806-1 swimbait stick pulling a Megabass of America Vatallion over and through isolated weed patches and experienced no issues with the line coming through that environment. Don't get me wrong, I'd get nervous if this, or any braided line, was rubbing against a hard surface, but that's part of the reasoning behind using a leader with your braid.


Working big baits with the Ryoga

If you do run into a situation where a section of the hollow braid itself is abraded, there's a technique where you can actually cut that section away, and splice in a fresh supply of line from that cut forward using a loop splicing needle or the reverse latch needle. I've yet to try these techniques but imagine having the ability to only change out the top one hundred or so feet of line on your reel and keeping the rest intact. This is actually possible with hollow braid and could save you money in the long run. At the very least, it's a good strategy to ensure you begin each fishing day with a fresh leader.


Mounted on a first generation Edge Rods Black Widow 806-1 swimbait stick: triggerless reel seat with small, almost micro-sized, spiral wrapped, Fuji titanium framed SiC guides

Noise: Hollow Ace does have a very faint noise coming through your guides on retrieve. It's not a loud, grinding noise like some of the coarser braids create. It sounds more like the wind whistling by. I didn't even notice it at first thinking, literally, that it was the wind, but then I noticed the sound stopped when I stopped turning the handle of my reel and the light bulb went off. I only noticed it when fishing a bait on constant retrieve and not during any stop and start battles with fish on the end of the line.


That served knot with the spare braid got a little funky on the water, but casting performance was not affected nor could I hear that knot going through the guides. It just looks funky


I did a better job with this knot using the tag end to serve back over the hollow braid

Impact/Knot Strength: No matter how much sense all the connection strategies make, I'm always nervous about that first swing. At one point, I was fishing a Megabass of America iSlide 262T connected to my Daiwa DEPS DR-Z2020XHL mounted on my Kistler Rods KLX7107XXH. The iSlide 262T and I have had a bit of a tumultuous relationship over the years mostly due to a temperamental tail, but I was finally finding my groove with this bait on this particular rod, reel, and line combo. Then it happened, on one particularly distant cast over a shallow flat, I cranked about three or four times with the reel and BLAM! It was a massive hit. I cranked twice, then swung, felt the weight of the fish, and suddenly *poof,* she was gone! Not the fish, but my beautiful, $100, iSlide 262T!


Early success before my serve knot unraveled on this connection because I didn't use glue to cap everything off

I mean yes, that meant the fish was gone too but somewhere out there at some point, my line failed and I immediately thought to my connection. Did the leader pull out or did the line break somewhere? With the sick feeling of having lost a good friend, no matter how tumultuous the relationship, I reeled my line back in keeping a close eye on the braid. Then I saw the leader, and then I knew. My stinking knot broke. The 20lb leader line was too light for the iSlide 262T. I should have used 30. Zander's jaw dropped to the deck and I hung my head in shame, but hey, at least the Hollow Ace held up!


This technique makes for wonderful topwater line

Longevity: Thanks to the use of leader material that absorbs the majority of abuse, Hollow Ace holds up really well. Because there's no connection knot, there's no worry over the initial strength of that connection and there's no concern over whether or not that connection has deteriorated. I did have the serve knot on my Metanium 151B setup unravel but that's because I didn't finish of that knot with Crazy Glue. The leader did not pull out, but I retired the combo after this discovery to play it safe. Otherwise, the only bit of wear I discovered with Hollow Ace itself is that blue color does fade just a little bit over time. None of the coloration flaked off onto my reels, rather it appears as if the color just washes out over time.

 

Ratings:

PowerPro Hollow Ace Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Very smooth out of the package without feeling overly waxy 9
Performance A little difficult getting started on leader installation, but fishing wise, I have no complaints 8
Price The 100yd spool of 60lb test breaks down to $0.17/yard. Hollow braid in general is expensive, but the per yard cost for this material is less than I anticipated 7
Features 16 strand spectra composition 8
Design (Ergonomics) Available in 3 colors and spool sizes of 100, 500, 1500, and 3000 yards in strengths from 40 to 200lb test. 9
Application From vertical to horizontal bait presentations, this line is applicable anywhere you value a connection that's 100% the strength of your leader 9

Total Score

8.33
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
+ Hollow braid available in bass fishing sizes - Complicated process to learn
+ Braid to leader connection that does not compromise strength - Requires extra tools to properly execute
+ Very quiet through the guides - Can't change leaders on the boat unless you bring all the tools or pre-tie leaders to splice into your line
+ No casting issues through small guides  
+ Available in three different colors  

  

Conclusion: Is this all overkill for bass fishing? Yes. Is it a technique worth learning? Yes. My connection knot game has been deteriorating of late. The more different braided lines I try, it seems, the less reliable my improved Albright knot becomes. I can tie the uni to uni knot more consistently than the improved Albright, but the knot size is bigger than I like. Thanks to PowerPro's Hollow Ace product, I was able to rediscover a method that's far more reliable in both execution and overall strength, and the most difficult part of this technique, sourcing the material, is now simple. The availability of that 40 pound size was the real kicker.


The security of that 100% strength leader connection is truly something to smile about. Thanks PowerPro!

Now, this technique does take a lot more forethought in planning because it's difficult to make adjustments or tie on a new leader without bringing a lot of tools with you out on the water. However, there are methods of pre-tying different leaders and connecting the hollow braid to itself on the fly. In fact, you can use the same techniques to splice in a fresh run of hollow braid if the need should arise. Though these are all basic hollow braid techniques, they seem pretty advanced as far as bass fishing goes. For now, it's easier for me to simply rig up different reels for different purposes and bring them along as spares. Either way, if you're looking to take your braided line game to an entirely new level, PowerPro's Hollow Ace can help you get there. Just be careful, one minute you'll be thinking it's all way too much trouble, the next minute your imagination will be running wild with other ways you can take advantage of this incredible technique of splicing into your line.

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Addendum 9/8/20: Precautions brought about by Covid-19 allowed me the time to attempt and practice two additional things. First, I top shotted a section of the 40lb Hollow Ace with 10lb HiSeas 100% Fluorocarbon measured at 0.289mm in diameter - far smaller than the 0.438mm factory recommended or the 0.344mm of the 15lb Seaguar Tatsu I tested previously. I ran the leader material about four feet into the hollow ace and finished it off by serving a tag end of the Hollow Ace back over the leader material's entry point.


Hollow braid to hollow braid splice results in a truly knotless connection and allows you to change leader size or simply refresh on the fly - assuming you have spares pre-made and on hand

Then I attempted the more advance method of splicing this leader into the Hollow Core in a hollow braid to hollow braid connection. You accomplish this with a different needle featuring a loop end. For this type of connection, you need to leave about four feet of line off the back end of your leader after the top shot. You then line this up with another four feet off your main line with the tag ends overlapping in opposite directions. With the help of the loop needle, you then thread the last two feet of mainline into the leader two feet up from the tag end so your needle is pointing towards the fluorocarbon or nylon monofilament leader material. Then you take that two foot tag end of the leader and thread that back into the mainline right behind where the mainline is thread into the leader and you're done. The end result will be a tiny loop in the middle of this double splice as shown in the bottom part of the photo above.


Success using a 0.289 mm leader connected to the main line via a hollow braid to hollow braid splice. This hollow braid is really a deep dive into getting technical with your fishing line

This allowed me to cut off and save the previous leader I had on the main line that was in perfectly good shape, and try this thinner, lighter leader on the same reel. Trouble is, I had two potential points of failure - the thin, 10lb leader, and the very strange hollow braid to hollow braid splice. When I was finally able to test it all, I tried a few different techniques but finally found a bite to complete the tests. I was fishing a Megabass Uoze Swimmer tipped with a Reaction Innovations Spicy Beaver and caught several, hard fighting fish with zero line problems. This hollow braid is really a deep dive into getting technical with your fishing line.

 

   

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