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Line Review


 

Is SpiderWire's Ultracast Ultra-Good?

 

Date: 5/25/20
Tackle Type: Fishing Line
Manufacturer: SpiderWire
Reviewer: Cal






Total Score: 7.50 - GOOD

Introduction:
There are so many different fishing line products out there today, how does one ever decide which line to use when in the mood to try something new. Sure, I have a few staples that I rely upon if needed, but as a TackleTour editor, I have a certain responsibility to test the market from time to time. Trouble is, fishing line is such an important component of your combo, I need to know I can trust the line I'm using not to break unexpectedly when fishing one of my $200 baits (and believe me, it's happened), so how do I make that decision?

 

Introducing SpiderWire Ultracast X8
 

Not surprisingly, it is a process. For braid, the first step in that process is being available in a color I can fish. That more or less eliminates any braid that's only available in dark green. It sounds silly, and vain, but I like having options for varying conditions. At times I am so weary of new gear that my combo (rod, reel, and line) needs to hold my interest when I look at it in my hands. In the case of a braided line, I've found it helps if there's a camo colored option of some sort. I like how camo colored lines break up the monotony when you look down at your reel. On a recent search for interesting, camo colored lines, I came across SpiderWire's Ultracast X8 in Aqua Camo, so I ordered some from Tackle Warehouse to check out.

 

SpiderWire Ultracast X8 Braid Specifications

Line Type 8 carrier, polyethylene (PE) braid
Colors Available Aqua Camo, White(invisible), Moss Green, Inshore Camo
Colors Tested Aqua Camo
Line Weights 8-65lb Test
Line Weights Fished 20lb, 50lb
MSRP $36.99 per 328yd Spool

 

Background: SpiderWire describes Ultracast X8 as being made with 100% polyethylene fibers. Where some manufacturers use a branded polyethylene product like Spectra, Dyneema, or other, SpiderWire is likely relying upon their own formulation or another non-trademarked brand. They go on to describe the line is made with a cold-fusion process to enhance the line's resistance to abrasion. It is available in strengths from eight to sixty five pound (8-65lb test) and three color options.

 


This aqua camo may be my favorite braid color of all time

Impressions: SpiderWire's three hundred meter (300m) filler spool of Ultracast X8 comes in typical packaging with no special clips on the spool to secure the tag end of unused line. The line itself has a nice, round feel to it as you run it through your fingers, but the fifty (50) pound test did feel a little larger in diameter than what I had been accustomed to in similarly rated line. To check on this first impression, I hit the lab and pulled out the micro-meter to check the line's diameter.


Ultracast has a medium body fresh off the spool

On the packaging, SpiderWire rates 50lb Ultracast as 0.29mm in diameter which would be perfect. Our historical average diameter for 50lb braided line is 0.31mm, so statistically, Ultracast is right in line with what we'd expect. Unfortunately, taking the average of five spot measurements through the length of about four feet of line, I came up with an average of 0.366mm validating that first impression that the line felt thicker than normal. Our historical data for twenty (20) pound test is not that extensive but on the packaging, Ultracast lists theirs as 0.15mm and I measured it at 0.248mm. Going by SpiderWire's website, this would put our two spools at somewhere between 65-80 pound test for the 0.366mm and between 40-50lb test for the 0.248mm. Unfortunately, not a great first impression.


Ready for some big bait action

Real World Tests: Despite my disappointment in these actual diameters, I spooled up both the 50 and 20 pound test Ultracast lines onto my Daiwa 2018 Ryoga 1520L-CC and my 2020 Shimano Stradic FL respectfully. I also tied a fluorocarbon leader onto each as a mitigation measure against line shy fish given each line's extra-large diameter.


Even though the 20lb has more of a 45 pound diameter, a six pound fluorocarbon leader helped minimize issues with line diameter

Casting: SpiderWire's Ultracast X8 has a very smooth feel and is just a tad stiff coming off the filler spool leading me to believe there is some kind of coating on the line. Fortunately this coating is not excessive and allows the line to come off both spinning and casting gear very easily for good casting performance. In fact, I never gave the line a second thought while making a cast, so that's a good indication Ultracast behaves normally in this regard.


Ultracast has a very smooth texture

Abrasion: Being on the smooth side of the spectrum, Ultracast is well suited for presentations around docks, rocks, and other hard surfaces where it easily slides back and forth giving you a good degree of resistance against abrasion. The wider diameter certainly helps in this aspect as well, but even if you move down in strength, to fish a more appropriate diameter, I'd expect this line to perform competitively with other similar braids.


Fraying the end to check out the fibers

Of course, smoother braids have a little tougher time cutting through softer vegetation, but it's all relative. Ultracast is still better at cutting through vegetation than any fluorocarbon or nylon monofilament. It's just not as good as something line Sunline's FX2 braid in this area. Then again, I don't think there's an 8 strand braid available that cuts through vegetation better than FX2.


Ultracast is relatively quiet through the guides

Noise: Another area where the smoother braids like Ultracast have an advantage is in how noisy they are when coming through your guides. Rather, how noisy they aren't compared to other braids with a coarser surface. While it is not completely silent (we've yet to fish a braid that is), Ultracast performs well in this area too. Its relatively smooth finish is not a distraction as you retrieve your bait or battle with a fish.


Aqua camo matches nicely with my Stradic FL

Impact/Knot Strength: My connection knot held up well in both the casting and spinning combos with this line but to test Ultracast out with a more direct connection, I fished the 50 pound test with out the leader tying directly to some big baits like Cal Coast Fishing's Twerk Minnow and Storm's Arashi Glide. The only time I felt like I needed to retie was when I wanted to switch between baits, otherwise the line held up well through repeated casts and retrieves through sometimes weedy environments. I should note, however, that in both cases, the line was heavier than I typically fish, so knot strength should be better than expected.


Silly to think the color of a line can inspire you, but such are the games I need to play with myself sometimes

Longevity: Ultracast X8 held up very well on my reels over several trips without any fading of the line. The line's coating felt like it wore off a bit, but not to the point where the line felt more vulnerable to fraying or abrasion. That aqua camo coloring held up and did not flake or stain my reels during use either.


That aqua camo coloring held up and did not flake or stain my reels during use

Ratings:

SpiderWire Ultracast X8 Braid Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Actual line diameters are off by one or two strengths as compared to the competition but the line itself is well made 7
Performance Casts well and is relatively quiet through the guides 8
Price ~$0.11 per yard ... about average in today's market 7
Features Available in four colors 8
Design (Ergonomics) Smooth finish that does not require a break-in period to fish 7
Application Available in a good range of strengths for a variety of applications 8

Total Score

7.50
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
+ That AquaCamo color is fun to fish - Listed diameters are way off
+ Handles well  
+ Relatively quiet through the guides  

  


Because of the widely inaccurate diameter ratings, SpiderWire's Ultracast X8 leaves me feeling a little deflated, but that aqua camo will likely have me coming back eventually

Conclusion: SpiderWire's Ultracast X8 leaves me feeling a little deflated. On the one hand, I like how the line handles and I really like that aqua camo color - in fact, it may be my current favorite color in a braided line. Unfortunately, not being able to fish the correct diameter line without purchasing several spools of different strengths and validating that dimension myself is simply not acceptable. Perhaps, down the line, I'll purchase some 40lb to see if it's closer to a typical 50lb diameter and maybe I'll do the same with the 15lb, afterall, that aqua camo speaks to me and the line does handle well. But in the meantime, there are simply too many other lines that we are in the process of evaluating to spend time going backwards. Stay tuned as we delve deeper into some of the top offerings in our braided line coverage over the next few days.

 

Looking for SpiderWire Ultracast X8 Braid?

Try TackleWarehouse


 

   

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