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Line Review


Soft Steel's Manageable Fluorocarbon Line, Instinct FC


Date: 5/9/22
Tackle Type: Fishing Line
Manufacturer: Soft Steel
Reviewer: Cal

Total Score: 7.5 - GOOD

With each new review season brings a curiosity into new fishing line products. During the winter, fish go deep, bears hibernate, I surf the pages of TackleWarehouse to find a handful of fishing line product to sample. During the winter of 21/22, I came across a brand I'd not seen before. Established in 1992, Soft Steel is a sister company of Okuma and was originally established in support of saltwater anglers, and now offers a full array of fishing line product. Today, we take a look at Soft Steel's fluorocarbon mainline, Instinct.


Soft Steel Instinct FC Specifications

Line Type Fluorocarbon Mainline
Colors Available Clear only
Colors Tested Clear
Line Weights 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, 18, 20
Line Weight Tested in Lab 12
Line Weights Fished 6, 10, 12
Origin Made in Indonesia
MSRP $8.99 - $12.99 per 200yd spool


Quality : Soft Steel's Instinct FC comes in a typical four inch diameter filler spool of 200 yards. Despite not being precision wound onto the spool, the line itself feels very smooth and consistent when running a five to six foot length off the spool between my fingers. I acquired four weights to check out, 4, 6, 10, and 12 taking the time to measure the diameter of each at five different points along that first five or six feet off the spool. I then took the average of those measurements for each weight to determine a real world diameter and laid that information out in the table below. Soft Steel's Instinct FC measures out relatively close to the specified diameters for the four weights I sampled.


Soft Steel Instinct FC Diameter

Strength 4 6 8 10 12 15 18 20
Listed Diameter (mm) .14 .18 .22 .25 .28 .30 .35 .38
Tested Diameter (mm) .154 .198 -- .284 .305 -- -- --


Soft Steel's trio of freshwater fishing line product


Lab Tests: Next up for the line was our series of standard tests for tensile, knot, resistance to abrasion, etc.. For these tests, we choose the strength that measures closest in diameter to 0.300mm so we can compare the results against our historical average plus a few select, popular brands. With Instinct FC, that meant the twelve pound (12lb) test which is specified at 0.280mm but for us measured 0.305mm.


Soft Steel Instinct FC Lab Results

FC Brand (lb test) Dia Tensile Knot Abrasion Stretch Deformity
Soft Steel Instinct FC (12) .305 11.5 67% 13 3.8% 0.7%
FC Average -- -- 63.7% 14.5 11.6% 4.8%
Seaguar AbrazX (12) .289 11.5 70% 11.7 11.8% 3.9%
Seaguar Tatsu (12) .292 13.6 93% 21 12.5% 7.5%
HiSeas 100% FC (12) .332 15.1 63% 15.7 9.6% 1.4%
Sunline Shooter (14) .312 11.7 66% 14.3 8.4% 2.6%
Sunline Sniper (12) .301 11.5 63% 19 10.6% 3.5%
Sufix Advance FC (10) .031 9.2 64% 15 10.1% 0.8%
YGK Tour Grade G-Soul FC (12) .314 14.9 68% 19 8.3% 0.8%


Referencing the table above, and judging from just this one strength, we can see Instinct FC has an accurate strength rating with average to slightly above average performance in knot strength, close to average resistance to abrasion and surprisingly little stretch and deformity. This all equates to what should be a solid performing fluorocarbon product with good to very good performance on hook sets.


Instinct FC is a mainline fluorocarbon. It is not precision wound onto the filler spool


Real World Tests: However, tests in our lab are one thing, the real question is how does it perform out on the water. Soft Steel's Instinct FC saw some early season action on several of my combos both as a mainline product but also as leader material tied to the end of the brand's braided line product, Eminent Braid. The line setups and reels used are listed on the table below.


Soft Steel Instinct FC Installations for Testing

Reel Mainline Brand Mainline Strength Instinct FC Strength Connection Knot
Abu Garcia Zenon SP20 Soft Steel Eminent Braid 10lb 6lb Uni to Uni
Kistler Series 1 Soft Steel Instinct FC 12lb NA NA
Okuma Hakai Soft Steel Eminent Braid


12lb Albright

The line combo of Eminent Braid & Instinct FC as a leader on my Abu Garcia Zenon

Handling: As a mainline product on my Kistler Series 1 casting reel, Soft Steel's Instinct FC handled surprisingly well. Note, I've been fishing straight fluorocarbon for a very long time and typically use a very easy swinging casting motion. While I will at times get some fluff of the fluorocarbon line during a cast, it's rare that I have major issues. I say this because if you use a more violent or forceful motion with your casts, results may vary. I found Instinct FC to be easy to handle with minimal memory issues.

Though attached as a leader, I had a good amount of Instinct FC on the spool

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