Berkley’s new NanoFiL line has really been creating a buzz in the fishing world over the past few months since the iCAST show in Vegas. Through the grapevine, I’d been hearing some really good stuff about the stuff but didn’t have a chance to try it out until recently.
But first, let me back up here and try to explain what the hype’s been all about. Berkley says that the line isn’t a mono or a braid, but rather “The Next Generation of fishing line.” It is made out of gel-spun polyethylene, much like a superline, that consist of hundreds of Dyneema (“The World’s Strongest Fiber”) nanofilaments . The filaments are molecularly linked and shaped by “unified filament technology” into a unified filament fishing line.
In layman’s terms, the fibers that make up the line aren’t braided but instead all run the same direction, so you end up with a smooth finish (made very strong by the Dyneema) rather than they typical rough feel of regular braid. So, basically, Berkley is saying that you can have your cake and eat it too. I was eager to find out…
So, I picked up a spool of 12-pound NanoFiL, which has a 0.008-inch diameter and seemed about like the equivalent of 4-pound mono. Twelve is actually the heaviest test they make and I can hardly imagine how thin the 1-pound Nano must feel! The first test was to slide the line between my fingers and it indeed feels very round and smooth.
Testing Grounds: Alaska
So, I spooled up my primary reel that I was going to use on a week-long Alaskan mission and headed north, hoping I didn’t put all my eggs into one basket by trusting NanoFiL without having ever used it.
Well, the short version of the story goes like this: I fished it in fresh and saltwater (going back and forth many times a day) and hooked at least 50 silver, chum, pink and sockeye salmon a day on it, not to mention a variety of other toothy saltwater critters too. The line is amazingly strong and I had no issues with fraying or break-offs. In fact, I got lazy and didn’t re-tie for a couple days at a time and never lost a fish to that.
Most of the time, I ran a 3-foot section of 14-pound mono leader between my lure and the NanoFiL, but to test its abrasion resistance, I tied the lures directly to the new line one afternoon. Though it came in contact with a bazllion salmon teeth, the line held tough.
Berkley claims NanoFiL is their longest-casting line and I might just say that it is the longest line in the world. I probably added a good 10% to my casting distance with it. On the first cast, it was immediately obvious, too. I could tell that the whole unified filament thing was no joke — the line’s smooth finish rockets through the guides like it is coated in silicone lubricant.
I also float fished with NanoFiL and it preformed very well, riding high enough so that I could easily mend it in the current. And it never felt like it took on water and got heavy like some braids seem to do. The thin diameter is also a help in the mending process! I’m not sure Berkley was even thinking of the whole bobber fishing angle with this stuff, but it definitely has some use in the salmon and steelhead world in that regard!
At the end of 7 hard days of fishing, catching probably more salmon, char and rockfish than the average weekend warrior gets in about 10 seasons, the NanoFiL was still hanging tough. In that time, I had one small tangle that I had to cut out and re-tie, but that was from using light 1/8-ounce jigs with a twitch and retrieve method in which the reel’s picking up large lengths of loose line on every crank. After all that abuse, the line remained limp and memory-free and ready for more action.
Like regular braid, NanoFiL has no stretch to it, so positive hooksets were a breeze…but you just have to remember to run a slightly softer rod than you’d use with bungee-like mono.
NanoFiL doesn’t take well to some of the basic fishing knots out there, so you’ll have to learn a couple new ones to get the most out of the line. Berkley recommends it’s “NanoFilL Knot” which is a Palomar with an extra loop for attaching lures. To tie it to a leader, they suggest a Double Albright, though all I did was a Double Uni and never had any issues.
Well, I can pretty much say that after a hard week’s fishing in Alaska, NanoFiL is pretty bad-ass stuff. I will probably use it to replace braid on many of my reels, including all the spinning gear that my guiding clients use. Unless I am missing something here, this line really is looking to be the best of all worlds. Of course, there’s always a drawback or two and one is the cost. Nano is about $20 for a 150-yard spool, but in the big picture that’s not such a big deal — if it lasts as long as traditional braid, you’ll get your money back in longevity. I can’t yet speak to the line’s long-term durability, but I have to imagine it will hold up.
Another thing that is a bit of a bummer is that due to NanoFiL’s ultra-thin diameter, it’s probably best used only on spinning reels. On a baitcaster, it would likely dig into itself, but I have not tested that theory — and perhaps you could get away with the 12-pound in some situations.
But the downsides are minimal and I think Berkley really has something special on its hands with NanoFiL. Apparently, the future of fishing line is now…
Read more here: Berkley.com