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Line Review


Sunline's New Marboroshi FC Leader


Date: 8/8/22
Tackle Type: Fishing Line
Manufacturer: Sunline
Reviewer: Cal

Total Score: 7.75 - GOOD

Sunline offers a dizzying array of fluorocarbon fishing line product. Right when I think I'm getting close to catching up to sample them all they come out with more options. Having settled on the strategy of filling my reels with braided line and tying a leader of quality fluorocarbon or nylon monofilament, I've been busy hunting down actual leader material to sample. Sunline's new Maboroshi Fluorocarbon Leader looked interesting so I acquired a few spools to see what it's about.


Sunline Maboroshi FC Leader Specifications

Line Type Fluorocarbon Leader
Colors Available Five color camo only
Colors Tested Five color camo
Line Weights 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 20
Line Weight Tested in Lab 12
Line Weights Fished 6, 8, 10, 12
Origin Made in Japan
MSRP $15.49 50yd Spool


Quality : Sunline's Maboroshi FC Leader comes in typical, small spool sizes of fifty yards. It's available in a variety of strengths from five through twenty pound test. The line is not precision wound onto the filler spools, but when a sample length is pulled out, you can feel how smooth and consistent the surface is. Unlike most fluorocarbon leaders line, Maboroshi is not clear in color but is made with a five color camo finish.


Introducing Sunline's Maboroshi FC Leader

Feeling the line's surface and consistency between your fingers is one thing. I am always curious as to how a line's stated diameter compares to the actual product, so before I fish any line, I pull out a good six foot section and use a micrometer to check the diameter along five different spots. I then average of those results to compare against the line's specification. Results with Sunline's Maboroshi FC are laid out in the table below. I was pleased and impressed the numbers are a very close match.


Sunline Maboroshi FC Leader Diameter

Strength 5 6 7 8 10 12 14 16 20
Listed Diameter (mm) .200 .225 .245 .265 .290 .310 .330 .350 .380
Tested Diameter (mm) .195 .223 .243 .267 .284 .305 .331 .360 .370


Lab Tests: From that point, it's a matter of running the strength that comes closest in diameter to 0.300mm through our standard barrage of tests for tensile and knot strength, abrasion, stretch, and deformity and comparing those results not only to our historical average and but select few comparable product. In this case, those comparisons are mostly against other fluorocarbon main line product because our leader material database is in the early stages of development.


Sunline Maboroshi FC Leader Lab Results

FC Brand (lb test) Dia Tensile Knot Abrasion Stretch Deformity
Sunline Maboroshi FC Leader (12) .305 12.8 61% 16.3 3.9% 0.7%
FC Average -- -- 63.7% 14.5 11.6% 4.8%
Seaguar Gold Label FC Leader (15) .297 14.2 72% 27 3.1% 0.3%
Seaguar AbrazX (12) .287 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%


Tensile & Knot Strength: Having said that, my expectations with leader material is it should perform noticeably better in some of these categories than the mainline product - if not all of them. For tensile strength, I just want the product to test close to the rating for which Maboroshi does. Knot strength is always touchy with fluorocarbon and for Maboroshi, results were pretty average. In practice, this can be mitigated by using fluorocarbon friendly knots, but we test worse case scenarios with a simple overhand knot in the middle of the line.


Maboroshi isn't clear, but finished with a 5 color camo


Abrasion: Resistance to abrasion is particularly important in a leader material and Maboroshi performs well here lasting on average, just over sixteen cycles compared to the average of fourteen and a half for our mainline product.


Among the reels I fished Maboroshi on was my Daiwa Gekka Bijin


Stretch & Deformity: If you're looking for a fluorocarbon leader material to serve as a shock absorber to your non-stretch braid, be aware Maboroshi has very little stretch and rebounds to its original length in relatively good fashion (deformity is the percentage by with the line remains elongated after undergoing a stretch test).


Jig fishing with Maboroshi FC Leader


Real World Tests: I fished some of the Maboroshi lighter strengths on a variety of setups earlier this year as I continue my efforts to refine my leader game. Most of that refinement comes in choice of knot where I continue to oscillate between Uni to Uni, Albright and FG. Uni to Uni is the simplest to tie but is big in profile. FG is easy to tie with the assistance of the Daiichi Knot Assist Tool 2.0, but requires the added step of a finish knot to secure the tag end. I find the Albright knot to be the best compromise but I can't always get it to hold with smaller diameter lines.


Sunline Maboroshi FC Leader Installations for Testing

Reel Mainline Brand Mainline Strength Maboroshi Strength Connection Knot
2020 Daiwa Zillion SV TW 1000 Seaguar Smackdown 20lb 12lb Albright
ARK Fishing Prototype SpiderWire UltraCast 40lb 10lb Albright
Abu Garcia Revo EXD Spro Finesse Braid x8

14lb (gou #2)

10lb Albright
2021 Daiwa Gekka Bijin BFS Varivas High Grade PE x4 15lb (gou #0.8) 6lb Uni to Uni

Handling: As with most fluorocarbon leader material, Maboroshi is pretty stiff and springy off the filler spool, but when you're only using five to twenty feet of it at a time, there are pretty much zero issues when it comes to handling. The only time handling comes into question is when that afore mentioned connection knot is coming through your guides but that's an issue with the knot and not the line itself. Note, I only fished Maboroshi on casting gear, but my assumption is it will handle fine on spinning gear too given the same strategy of limited leader length.

Micro jig fish on the Gekka Bijin

Sensitivity: One of the reasons I enjoy fishing fluorocarbon line as a mainline and not a leader is because of the slack line sensitivity. Naturally, when fished as a leader to braided line, you're not going to get this same effect. Braided line needs to be in some kind of tension for you to feel what's at the end of the line. Still, a good leader will not hamper and can only enhance feel and Maboroshi certainly does its job here. I particularly liked it with bottom contact techniques like fishing jigs and the free rig.

Sunline's Maboroshi FC Leader held up well despite my negligence to retie

Other Performance Notes: When I'm testing line and on a good bite, there are periods where I will intentionally (and sometimes still unintentionally) fail to retie regularly just to see how the line will hold up. It's an imperfect test, nevertheless Sunline's Maboroshi FC Leader held up well to my negligence telling me the lab results for abrasion held true. Additionally, I had zero issues with my connection and lure knot on sets and while battling fish.

Tied to the end of some Seaguar Smackdown braid on board my Zillion SV TW 1000

Design & Ergonomics: As I mentioned earlier, Sunline's Maboroshi FC Leader is only available in one color and that's a five color camo. It changes every six inches and is designed to blend in with underwater environments. Colored fluorocarbon lines tend to be less popular than clear because anglers are under the impression fluorocarbon "disappears" underwater, but just because the material has better refractive properties does not mean it still cannot be seen or detected.

Fishing the 10lb strength at the end of Spro's new Finesse Braid

Otherwise, Maboroshi is only available in spools of fifty yards and comes on a spool that measures about three and a quarter inches (3 1/4") in diameter that has a plastic clip to hold the loose tag end. It'd be nice if the spool were just a tad smaller to more easily stow multiple spools in my tackle carrier, but the spools are small enough to make due.

Another fishing finesse jigs on the Gekka Bijin


Applications: The one extra test I devised to help me build confidence with leader material, I was unable to conduct with Maboroshi. While evaluating Seaguar's Gold Label FC Leader, I conducted some drop tests to determine how well that line held up compared to other lines of similar diameter in a situation that might result in a break off during a cast with a very heavy lure (think swimbait). I was unable to do this test with Maboroshi because the line is only available up to 0.370mm (~20lb test) and my data is for lines closer to 0.430mm (~30lb test).


The strategy of using braid as your mainline and attaching a leader of mono, copoly, or fluorocarbon opens up a degree of flexibility to your line game that's quite liberating.


Hence why I only fished the lighter strengths of Maboroshi during these tests - I stuck with conventional and finesse techniques. Additionally, weeds during the early part of this year were not prevalent enough to warrant using anything thicker than the twelve pound/0.305mm line, but overall, I'd say Maboroshi is appropriate for just about any technique you may want to employ a fluorocarbon leader so long as the strength/diameter suits your needs.



Sunline Maboroshi FC Leader Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Smooth and consistent surface out of the package with accurate diameter ratings 8
Performance Held up very well in a few different techniques 8
Price At $0.31/yd, pricey when compared to cost of mainline products, but very comparable to other FC leader options 7.5
Features Five color camo to better blend in with surroundings 7.5
Design (Ergonomics) Physical size of spool is good, but even smaller would make it easier to carry around spares 7.5
Application A very good leader line option to take your fishing line game to the next level 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:


+ Accurate diameter specifications - Not available in strengths greater than 20lb
+ Camo color is intriguing - Physical size of supply spool could be even a bit smaller making it easier to carry around for on the water leader swaps
+ Good knot strength and resistance to abrasion  
+ Smooth, consistent surface out of the package  


If you're looking to delve into the braid plus leader game, Sunline's Maboroshi FC Leader is a solid product with which to start


Conclusion: The strategy of using braid as your mainline and attaching a leader of mono, copoly, or fluorocarbon opens up a degree of flexibility to your line game that's quite liberating. There were a couple of occasions while fishing with Maboroshi leader I felt my leader was either too thick or too thin for my intended applications. Fish were transitioning and I had a limited number of combos with which to fish. Switching from a ten to twelve pound leader or from ten down to six was just a matter of taking a spool of Maboroshi out and tying on a new leader, not respooling an entire reel. The leader material itself held up very well to different applications and I found the camo coloring interesting and fun to use - and it certainly did not feel as if it affected the number of bites I received. If you're looking to delve into the braid plus leader game, Sunline's Maboroshi FC Leader is a solid product with which to start.


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