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Polyethylene Lines (PE Lines)


PE lines falsely are generally called “braided“, probably because our first PE line, the CoraStrong, was a braided one. They are very popular because of their strength, their thin diameter, their sensitivity and extremely low stretch.

The Americans call these lines PE lines (PE stands for the material polyethylene). Meanwhile you can find many PE lines at the market. So it’s essential to make the (right) choice! All PE lines (Polyethylene) are made of a GSP material (Gel Spun Polyethylene), the basic material for all kind of braided lines at the global market.

High performance PE-Polyethylen fibers, with a high linear strength are made by spinning and highly stretching a liquid crystal PE-solution.

To produce such a strong fiber, you have to highly stretch the molecular chains and arrange them in the same direction as the fiber itself. PE fibers are 15 times stronger than steel and lighter than water. The specific weight of water is 1,0kg/l, PE fibers only have 0,97kg/l. Well-known brand names are Dyneema, Spectra and Coramid, the material is always polyethylene, which has been produced in a gel spinning process. In contrast to monofilament lines, PE lines consist of many, very thin fibers. The longitudinal or breaking strength of PE lines is determined by the way of spinning, contexture and entanglement of these fibers.

There are two different kinds of PE lines, the „fused lines” and the “braided lines”.

Braided lines
: plural rovings (3 to 8), which consist of many, very thin fibers.

Fused lines: Very thin PE lines or rovings are spun or twisted and bundled via a robust jacket (they are not braided). The fibers or rovings are heat-welded and form a smooth, homogeneous surface.

PE rovings consist of many, very thin PE fibers. The quantity and diameter of every single fiber determine the diameter of the roving. Most of the fibers which are used for PE lines have a thickness of 100 Dernier (1 Denier = 1g/9000m), that means, that one 100 Denier fiber weights 100g per 90000m). The fiber’s prize increases with its thinness. Fibers up to 50 Denier are used for expensive lines, sometimes also up to 30 Denier for very expensive, very thin lines with highest breaking strength.

Fused lines are usually less expensive in production than braided lines. They are thicker and relatively stiff because of their jacket. Experience shows that they are also suitable for inexperienced anglers and beginners, thanks to their easy handling. They have a smooth surface, which is a great advantage. The casting characteristics are usually acceptable. The technically reached breaking strength is between the one of a monofilament and a braided line. But fused lines usually are less durable than braided ones – once the jacket is damaged, the line frays immediately, thus the linear strength is reduced and a breaking of the line gets probable.

Braided lines are more expensive in production as fused lines, depending on the quantity of braided rovings.

4-Braid lines (4 braided rovings): Most of the braided lines at the market are 4-Braid lines. With only 4 rovings it is very difficult to produce a round-braided line, which maintains its round shape. These lines tend to level out step by step. The production of 4-Braid lines is relatively inexpensive and they have an easy handling. However you can often hear a typical, zooming sound during retrieving the line, which has its cause in the uneven surface of a 4-Braid line.

8-Braid lines (8 braided rovings): these lines have a very round profile and form a unity, thanks to the many fibers. The surface is extra smooth and low-drag. They are characterized by a high linear strength, but also relatively expansive compared to 4-Braid lines.

You can also find 3-Braid lines at the market, but they are nearly completely flat (no recommendation) and also 6-Braid lines, whose characteristics are settled between 4-Brad and 8-Braid lines.

A very important parameter for the quality of a braided line is the “Pic Count”.

The “Pic Count” states the amount of braidings over a certain length. A high “Pic Count” means that the fibers are braided very tight and thus the surface is very smooth. The tougher the fibers are braided, the more the line body becomes a unity. However, also the prize rises proportionately.

On the one hand you don’t need to fish a super-expensive braided line to gain from advantages compared to a monofilament line. On the other hand, you should leave cheap braiding construction well alone. They are that cheap because thick fibers are used and usually only 3 or 4 rovings are braided very loosely. They are thick, flat, with an abrasive surface, which produces much noise during retrieving and are very fragile. They don’t give you a value for money, even when they are cheap.

Some braided lines are coated with more or less thick fluorine, silicon or Teflon (to name only some), others are completely uncoated. Because braided PE lines have a smaller abrasion resistance as monofilament lines, a coating increases the abrasion resistance for about 20%, at least for a certain time. Thus you can coat for example a 4-Braid line after the braiding process and afterwards it nearly feels like a monofilament line (however the coating is very thick and particularly stiff). You can also coat the 4 rovings separately and braid them afterwards. In this case you can see and feel the single rovings.

In any case, a coating makes a braided line stiffer and harder, depending on the material and the thickness of the coating. Indeed it raises the abrasion resistance and makes the surface smoother, but the abrasion between the guides also increases and thus reduces the casting distance. Usually braided lines with a coating have an easier handling than uncoated ones, especially for inexperienced anglers.

Many experienced spinfishers increasingly tend to use uncoated 8-Braid lines.

Uncoated 8-Braid lines are very strong with a high breaking strength, feature a very slim diameter and enable tremendous casting distances even with small lures. However, they are also more vulnerable to knots and loops at strong winds, because they are very soft. At strong winds you should’t cast too fitful, to enable a smooth running of the line and above all you should’t exceed the line capacity of your spool.

Today there are many line constructions at the market. Braided lines are made of 100% PE fibers or are offered as a hybrid construction with woven other fibers as monofilament or PET fibers (PET = Polyethylenterephthalat, a cheap, synthetic polyester fiber, which only has about 1/5 of the linear strength of a PE fiber). These hybrid fibers are woven to, for example to make the line sinking, improving its handling, to make it softer or simply cheaper to have an advantage at the market.

The stretching factor of PE lines is about 4%, whereas monofilament lines stretch up to 15% and 40%, until they break. Lines with such a little stretching as PE lines are very sensitive and convey a direct contact to the other end of the line. However, therefore they are also very vulnerable to sudden strains when they hit the limit during the fight with the fish, especially if the line is too thin. In this situation they can break easily, whereas monofilament lines with their great stretching factor always can mobilize some reserves until they finally break.

Thus more and more spinfishers suggest to fish with a monofilament leader

Specialists suggest to fish with a monofilament leader between 1m and 3m, depending on rod length or personal preference. Fishing with a monofilament leader compensates automatically 2 failure points of PE lines – the nearly completely missing stretching factor and the low abrasion resistance.

 

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