Visiting a Renewed Old Friend : Berkley's Fireline Ultra 8
Abrasion: The reason Berkley upped the number of fibers in their Ultra 8 refresh of Fireline was to increases the line's resistance to abrasion. To that end, Fireline is not the type of superline you can rely upon to cut your way out of weedy situations. Instead, its relatively smooth surface is made to resist abuse against hard surfaces.
Fireline will liven up any cranking stick
Berkley Fireline holds up rather well in these circumstances with the added benefit of giving you a little bit of a warning sign. If you can locate the section of line that's been subject to an abrasive surface, Fireline will fuzz up if its been compromised. This is your indicator to retie.
Then I spooled the smoke color on my Megabass LIN 256 spinning
Noise: One of my favorite features of Fireline and really what attracted me to it in the first place all those years ago, is how quiet it is through your guides. Because it has that smooth surface, it comes through your guides relatively quietly letting you concentrate on the bite instead of distracting you with noise and vibration.
Fireline is quiet through your guides allowing you to
concentrate on those subtle bites
Impact/Knot Strength: The coating Berkley puts on the line gives it a kind of waxy feel. This treatment acts as reassurance that your knots won't slip. Fished over the course of a year during 2018, with moving baits and vertical presentation baits, I did not experience the premature need to retie, nor did I have any unexplained breakoffs during a set or while fighting a fish.
Our 2018 Low Profile Reel Shootout participants spooled with
Fireline Ultra 8 in smoke
Longevity: Like the original, Fireline Ultra 8 becomes more limp and less stiff over time as that coating wears off. You'd think this means it handles better over time, but really, somehow that coating has no affect on the line's handling because it casts the same whether new or broken in. What does happen with Fireline, because it is fused, not woven, is it will fuzz up over time. Not a lot mind you, but just enough to where you know it's probably time to respool.
Again, I see this as a benefit because I'd much rather be fishing a fresh spool of line than one that's been sitting on your reel for a couple of seasons. I of course continue to make this mistake as reels come and go and I reuse line that still looks fresh in an attempt to save some money, and then find out the hard way that the line in question is past its prime. It's easier not to make this mistake with Fireline.
Fireline Ultra 8 held up well for me on the long term and it
may never come off this reel
Berkley Fireline Ultra 8
|| Fireline doesn't scream "premium" off the spool, but appearances and feel don't tell the entire story here
|| Casts surprisingly well and holds up to the rigors of fishing
||$0.16/yd places Fireline at a mid-level tier in price
|| Fused rather than wound/braided for a smoother surface
||Available in two colors, but the smoke is where it's at!
|| A good choice for any number of applications but particularly suited for spinning gear
: 2 =
poor : 3
: 4 =
: 5 =
: 6 =
fair : 7
= good :
: 10 =
Pluses and Minuses:
| + A quieter superline alternative
|| - A tad pricier than expected
|+ Handles surprisingly well
|+ It's all about that smoke color
Conclusion: While I really enjoy how Fireline Ultra 8 fishes, our 2018 Casting Reel Shootout revealed to me I much prefer this line on spinning gear than casting. The experience of switching line types on the fly and getting a direct comparison between nylon monofilament, fluorocarbon, and this specific superline product accentuated the performance differences in casting with each line type. Fished on its own, Fireline Ultra 8 felt perfectly fine on casting gear, but when switched over on the same rod and reel on the same day from the other line types, I realized Fireline is just a little bit sticky coming off casting gear - just a little bit.
A near perfect combo, 10lb Fireline Ultra 8 in smoke spooled on a Megabass LIN 256 spinning reel matched with a Megabass F4.5-74XXS Enforcer.
This "stickiness" passes with extended use of course, but it also served to reveal to me that I much preferred this line at 10lb test than 20lb. In fact, that 10lb test Ultra 8 in smoke is now forever paired with my Megabass LIN 256 spinning reel.
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