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Line Review


 

Berkley's Unique, Nine Carrier Braid

 

Date: 6/2/20
Tackle Type: Fishing Line
Manufacturer: Berkley
Reviewer: Cal






Total Score: 7.86 - GOOD

Introduction:
Most braided lines today come with either four (4) or eight (8) carriers. Meaning the line is made up of smaller threads woven together to create the final product. One recently reviewed line, Finatic's Pro Series Braid, featured six (6) carriers and on a recent quest to discover new braids to fish, I came across a product touting nine (9). Naturally, I had to acquire some to check out. Here's our take on Berkley Fishing's X9 braid.

 

Berkley X9 Braided Line Specifications

Line Type 9 carrier polyethylene (PE) braided line
Colors Available Crystal, Lo-Vis Green, Flame Green
Colors Tested Flame Green, Lo-Vis Green
Line Weights 8-80lb
Line Weights Fished 20lb, 50lb
MSRP $32.99 - $38.99 per 328yd Spool

 

Background:

 


Introducing Berkley's X9 Braid

Impressions: Curious about the line's actual diameter, I took the micrometer to five different spots on both the 20 and 50 pound test. Where the 50lb test is specified at 0.30mm in diameter it actually measures out at 0.333mm. On the other hand, the 20lb test is specified at 0.17mm and measures at 0.150mm. Not that it's very precise, but between the fingers the diameters feel about right for their specified strengths. As a point of comparison, our historical average for braided line rated between 50 to 55 pounds in strength is 0.319mm (we don't yet have enough samples of 20lb to calculate an average). In both cases, the X9 has a nice, smooth texture aligning nicely with expectations for a line that has more than 8 carriers.


The 50lb test is specified at 0.30mm in diameter and actually measures out at 0.333mm

Real World Tests: While I did acquire Berkley's X9 braid in strengths suitable for both my casting and spinning equipment needs, I only really managed to fish the line on spinning gear. For these duties, I spooled the 20lb test in Flame Green onto my Abu Garcia RevoX spinning reel paired with my Phenix Maxim MAXS-610L. I also tied a short leader of6lb Sufix Advance Fluorocarbon to help disguise my line from line shy fish.


While I did acquire Berkley's X9 braid in strengths suitable for both my casting and spinning equipment needs, I only really managed to fish the line on spinning gear

Casting: The line has what feels like a very subtle coating that gives it a little body without making it too stiff. It also has what feels like a very round profile when you run it through your fingers. 8 carrier lines traditionally handle better than 4 carrier, so I had high expectations for a line touting 9.

Overall Berkley X9 has nice handling characteristics and comes off the spool very easily. It is trouble free through the guides and displays little to no memory on slack line (few braided lines do).


The 20lb test is specified at 0.17mm and measures at 0.150mm

Abrasion: Braided lines with a smooth finish hold up well against hard surfaces. Those with a rougher texture are better around soft vegetation where that rough texture can serve to cut through weeds. That's partially why 4 strand braids are still around - they have rougher textures and are good at slicing through vegetation if your bait or line gets caught. Berkley's X9 definitely falls on the side of a smooth braid.

Berkley's 9 carriers together with the tight weave the company uses to complete the line holds up well against rocks and I assume will perform just as well against wooden obstacles too, but it's better in more open water environments than around weeds.


Berkley's X9 braid has a very smooth finish

Noise: Another benefit of that smooth outside texture is the low level of noise the line creates when going through your guides both on a cast and retrieve. This is especially nice on spinning gear where your line is more chaotic coming off the spool and during finesse presentations where your retrieve is much slower requiring a good deal of concentration. In these situations lines that lack stealth just serve to annoy me to the point I'll put a combo down in favor of something else. I had no such urges while fishing this combo with Berkley's X9 spooled on my reel.


Intentionally fraying the line for a look at the fibers

Impact/Knot Strength: Knot strength on Berkley's X9 is very good. I'm not the best at tying those connection knots between braid and fluoro but had no trouble with my connection knot on this combo. At the end of one fishing trip, I cut the leader off and tied a jighead direct to the X9 to get a better feel for the line by itself. Predictably, the bites stopped, but a snag here and a snag there gave me enough confidence to know knots with this line hold up well - especially on the one snag that resulted in a slightly straightened out ned-head hook.


Fresh off the spool, X9 is very limp

Longevity: Berkley's X9 braid held up well for me over the course of a season. The Flame Green color faded a little but not a lot and the line didn't fray or look very worn. I appreciated the fact the color did not flake off on my reel. The only thing that stopped me from fishing this line further was the need to move onto other products for review.

 

Ratings:

Berkley X9 Braided Line Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Nice smooth finish and round profile without being overly stiff but inconsistent diameters 8
Performance Casts well and holds up nicely in cover 8.5
Price From $0.10 - $0.12 per yard depending on strength 7
Features Available in three colors and unique 9 carrier construction 8
Design (Ergonomics) Handles well and color seems to hold up 7.5
Application Available in a variety of strengths for any number of applications 8

Total Score

7.83
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
+ Nice, round profile - The benefit of a 9th carrier was not obvious
+ Handles well  
+ Unique, 9 carrier construction  

  


Berkley's X9 braid in their Flame Green color is a signature product line for their 2x Bassmaster Classic Champion pro Jordan Lee

 

Conclusion: Apparently Berkley's X9 braid in their Flame Green color is a signature product line for their 2x Bassmaster Classic Champion pro Jordan Lee. I say this because the Lo-Vis green packaging does not sport his name or photo. Not that this discovery makes a difference to us one way or the other. It just confused me for a second because I expected the signature status to apply to the entire X9 brand.


I really appreciate the thinking and effort that went behind development of this line

It intrigues me when manufacturers play around with the status quo and while I could not discern a benefit or disadvantage between eight and nine carriers while fishing Berkley's X9 Braid, I really appreciate the thinking and effort that went behind development of this line. Perhaps it takes an even longer term evaluation of the product to discern these differences. Based on the product's cost, this not an arduous task to undertake and one I'll likely accept. For now, if you're looking for a braid that's a little different from the norm and handles extremely well, Berkley's X9 Braid is low risk and high reward.

Looking for Berkley X9 Braided Line?

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