Far from Hollow, Off the Deep End with Seaguar's Threadlock
Total Score: 8.33 -
The majority bass fishermen can't be bothered with the thought of using one type of line to fill the majority of their reel's spool (usually braid), and another as a leader (usually fluoro, nylon mono, or copoly) in response to specific fishing conditions and techniques. Afterall, it's tough enough deciding what lure to use let alone what type of leader to tie on, and moreover, which knot to use to tie that leader. Those who have acclimated to this strategy, however, find a certain solace in having fresh line where it matters the most and have probably discovered this approach helps extend the life of those filler spools saving them money in the long run. If you're in this camp, we're here to discuss the next level in fishing line enthusiasm. It's time to take a look at Seaguar's hollow braid product, Threadlock.
Seaguar Threadlock Hollow Braid Specifications
||16 strand Spectra hollow braid
||50, 60, 80, 100, 130, 200
|Line Weights Fished
||$135/600 yard spool (50lb = $0.23/yd)
Background: Hollow braid is not new. It was developed for saltwater, big game fishing where its sixteen (16) strand construction holds up extremely well to high impact, aggressive strikes. In these high impact scenarios every knot between your fishing reel and the fish is a potential point of failure during battle. This is true with any type of fishing, but it is amplified when in pursuit of big game, saltwater fish where the strikes are fierce and battles can last hours instead of minutes. With hollow braid, instead of attaching your mainline and leader together with a knot, the leader material is actually inserted into the mainline. When both ends are in tension, the braid constricts around and grips the leader material like a finger trap. This strategy provides a one hundred percent (100%) strength of connection eliminating the weak spot that would otherwise be your connection knot.
Introducing Seaguar's hollow braid product, Threadlock
Though hollow braid has been around for quite some time, the use of the product in bass or other freshwater fishing is just beginning to take a foothold because until recently, the line has not been available in diameters that are conducive to smaller reels and leader sizes twenty pounds and under. Then there's the complexity involved with setting it everything up. Let's face it, most bass fishermen simply want to spool their line straight onto the reel and go fishing! The time, expense, and thought process of setting up a top shot simply takes things too far. That's kind of why we're here - to take things too far.
Threadlock is offered white and blue. We acquired a spool of 50lb
in blue for our tests
Impressions: Seaguar offers their hollow braid solution, Threadlock, in two sizes that can be applied to freshwater bass fishing, fifty and sixty pound (50 & 60lb) test, but offer it in strengths all the way up to two hundred pound (200lb). It is available in two colors, blue and white. We acquired a spool of 50lb in blue for our tests.
Seaguar Threadlock Hollow Braid & Fishing Reel Capacity
||Approx Spool Volume (cm3)
||50lb Hollow Ace Yards
|Shimano 2016 Antares DC
|Shimano Conquest 301
|Shimano Scorpion 151 MGL
|Daiwa Steez Limited SV TW 1000
|Abu Garcia Revo4 IKE
|Abu Garcia Revo4 Beast Rocket
|13 Fishing Concept Z SLD
I did my best to measure the diameter of the line with a micrometer, but as I found with the PowerPro product, Hollow Ace, last year, this sixteen strand braid flattens between the calipers of a micrometer, so getting an accurate reading is difficult at best. Nonetheless, the number I came up with was 0.274mm. For the record, Seaguar's published diameter for the product is 0.370mm. Failing there, I determined the more useful information would be how much line was I able to spool onto a few different reels. I've listed that information in the table above.
This LED lit magnifying glass was originally purchased to help
with my rod wrapping side hobby, but I've found it even more useful as an aid
during top shot applications
For additional reference, I can fit sixty five yards (65yds) of thirty pound (30lb) Sunline Super Natural on my Daiwa Z2020SHL and was able to spool eighty yards (80 yds) of 50lb Threadlock onto this reel leaving enough room for a leader. So threadlock is effectively thinner than 0.441 millimeters, our measured diameter of 30lb Super Natural. Shimano's 2016 Antares DC has less capacity than the Z2020SHL, so I went down in line weight with that reel. I could fit ninety yards (90yds) of twenty pound (20lb) Super Natural (0.363mm in diameter) but only sixty yards (60yds) of 50lb Threadlock. So the real, working diameter of 50lb Threadlock is somewhere between 0.363mm and 0.441mm.
For a list of necessary and recommended tools to accomplish a successful hollow braid topshot installation, please refer to our September 2020 article on Power Pro's hollow braid product. However, what I wanted to demonstrate above is a quick, low cost solution on how you can double up trigger clamps to serve as holders so you can properly tie your finishing knot. You can use the bottom clamps to attach to a board or at the end of a narrow work bench/table, and the tops to hold the line so you can complete your finishing knot
Testing the Limits: For freshwater applications, the biggest question when it comes to hollow braid is how small can you go with the leader material. Most bass anglers using non-braided line don't go lower than ten pound (10lb) test on their general application casting reels. In fact, many probably choose fourteen pound (14lb) or above. Anything lighter than 10lb is usually spinning reel territory, or for the well informed, bait finesse where the casting reels have super shallow spools. Any line on those reels, even braid, needs to be super small in diameter, so any braid to leader setups on a BFS reel can only be accomplished in traditional manner using a connection knot.
A spool of this size could last a lifetime as top shot hollow
braid leader material
In our review of the PowerPro hollow braid product, Hollow Ace, last year, I tested several leader options to discover the smallest diameter line that would hold securely within their 40lb test. The result was 0.344mm, or 15lb Seaguar Tatsu. However, since completing that review, I've been tinkering and found that by inserting the leader further into the line (about three to four feet) I can achieve a secure connection with line as small as HiSeas's 100% Fluorocarbon in 10lb test (0.289mm). Note, PowerPro's recommended minimum leader size for Hollow Ace in 40lb is 0.438mm, so I'm going way below the recommended specification.
Threadlock is very easy to work with. Inserting the needle
through an open end results in very little fraying at the end
Seaguar's Threadlock is a little larger in diameter than the 40lb test Hollow Ace, so my expectations were its lower end leader limit would be something thicker than the 10lb HiSeas Fluoro. To test this theory, I gathered a supply of Seaguar AbrazX in 10, 12, and 15 pound sizes (measured at 0.268mm, 0.289mm, 0.332mm in diameter respectively) and set out to discover what Threadlock's lower limit might be. I started with 10lb AbrazX, the thinnest of the bunch, and inserted it about two feet into the 50lb Threadlock. I figured if Threadlock could hold 10 pound AbrazX, I wouldn't have to do any more tests. To my surprise, the connection was pretty solid. AbrazX's 10lb diameter is even thinner than the 10lb HiSeas Fluorocarbon (0.268mm vs 0.289mm) so I did not expect it to hold. In fact, it's probably similar in diameter to what other manufacturers might classify as eight pound. After this surprise discovery, I was done!
You'll need different needle sizes depending on the size of your
intended leader material
This DaHo NO2017 is good for leaders up to about 0.36mm (20lb
Sunline Super Natural)
I proceeded to spool up one of my Shimano Chronarch MGL's with the 50lb Threadlock and installed the 10lb AbrazX as a leader threading the line about three feet into the hollow braid. After tying a finishing knot, I pulled out about thirty feet length of leader, secured it all on the reel, and set it all aside for some on the water tests with a yet to be determined fishing rod. (In case you're wondering how to go about installing the leader material into the hollow braid, please refer back to the PowerPro Hollow Ace review where I go into detail about the necessary tools and a couple of strategies to accomplish the finishing knot.)
The moment of truth, is the leader material still in the needle?
Yes it is.