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ICAST 2019 Update Coverage

One for the Enthusiasts: The Shimnao Antares A70 Baitcaster with MGIII


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Line Review


Phenix Spreads Their Wings Into the Line Market with Hydra Braid (continued)

Abrasion: This category is always two fold with braided line - how well it holds up to abrasion as well as how well it dishes it out. On the former, Hydra Braid performs admirably in situations where rocks are concerned. For us that meant fishing football head jigs in rocky situations. I didn't have any unexpected break offs, but I did check my line after each instance of "rub" and retied where necessary. If you don't have the patience to be this attentive, I recommend tying on a fluorocarbon leader in these situations - something I recommend with all braided lines.

Freshly spooled on Abu's new Ike casting reel

On the subject of the latter, Hydra Braid does a good job of cutting through weeds or at least allowing you to fish lures like Omega Tackle's Rapture Vibrating Jig through clumps of weeds.

The 8lb test performed well for us in finesse applications.

Noise: Thanks to its smoother profile, Hydra Braid is not as distracting as it comes through your guides either. It's certainly not as silent as a nylon monofilament of fluorocarbon, but as far as braids go, it is on the quieter side of the spectrum.

Hydra Braid is relatively smooth delivering a more quiet experience through your guides many braids

Impact/Knot Strength: The big question with braided lines is usually how many pro style hooksets does it take to snap the line? Braided line is made up of tiny, individual fibers. The more you fish it and the more fish you catch the more micro-fractures built into those tiny fibers. This serves to weaken your line overall and is often the cause of those sudden, unexpected break offs. I experienced none of this in my year or so fishing Hydra Braid.

Other than some loss of color, Hydra Braid holds up well to extended use.

Longevity: Revisiting my earlier comment about how Hydra Braid's finish doesn't seem to flake off and get all over your reel and rod, while this is true the line itself does lose color over a couple of trips out on the water and begins to fade giving you the impression the line is worn. However, performance doesn't seem to be affected and once you reach a certain level of dull green, its color seems to fade less quickly.


Phenix 8 Strand Hydra Braid Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Nice round profile that holds up well over use 9
Performance Confidence inspiring 9
Price At roughly $0.09 a yard on the 350 yard spool, a very affordable braided line 8
Features Available in three colors 7.5
Design (Ergonomics) Nice, smooth finish though color begins to fade after one or two trips 7
Application A very good general purpose braided line suitable for all sorts of applications 8

Total Score

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:


+ Nice round profile - Color begins to fade after one or two trips
+ More smooth than rough  
+ Handles very well  


Hydra Braid delivers confidence inspiring performance.

Conclusion: It always takes a trip or two for me to wrap my head around the idea of a manufacturer venturing into a new segment of the market. Usually it's a lure manufacturer coming out with a line of fishing rods, but in the case of Phenix, they've done the unexpected and come out with a suite of braided lines. Where did that come from? Nevertheless, my experience with Hydra Braid over the last year has good, so they've won me over and I now have confidence Hydra Braid is a solid product.

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