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SpiderWire UltraCast Ultimate Braid

Overall score - 85% = (Excellent)

Specs First Impressions Design Performance Durability Price Final Score


Reviewer: Don

Braided line is becoming increasingly popular among anglers in recent years and for good reason. Braids are very strong, yet very thin lines. Braided line has no memory and this helps to reduce line twist. Unlike monofilament, braided line typically remains limp and supple over time allowing it to cast easier and farther. SpiderWire braid is up to 2 or 3 times smaller in diameter than the equivalent monofilament line but this can also cause one of braided line's biggest pitfalls. The increased strength and smaller diameter of braid causes most people to set their drag tighter and as a result hard hooksets can cause braided line to bury itself in the reel's spool. Keep in mind that braided line does not stretch or give so the harder you pull on the line, the more likely it is that your thin diameter braid is going to dig into your reel's spool. Using a rod with a very fast taper or lowering your drag setting can help keep braided line from digging into your spool. I have never had any problems with any SpiderWire braid when used in the proper application.

I typically use Berkley's Fireline which is a fused-line, when I need its amazing strength. I'll switch to SpiderWire braid when I need it's smooth handling and near invisibility but it isn't as strong as Fireline in my experience. It would be awesome to see that SpiderWire has combined these three attributes I seek when I use braided line.

Specs

Specs First Impressions Design Performance Durability Price Final Score

Color(s) & Size(s):

Color(s)
Size(s)
Green & Yellow
10 LB = 2 lb. Mono Equivalent Dia. Available in 125 or 300 Yards
Green & Yellow
15 LB = 4 lb. Mono Equivalent Dia. Available in 125 or 300 Yards
Green & Yellow
* 20 LB = 6 lb. Mono Equivalent Dia. Available in 125 or 300 Yards
Green & Yellow
30 LB = 8 lb. Mono Equivalent Dia. Available in 125 or 300 Yards
Green & Yellow
50 LB = 12 lb. Mono Equivalent Dia. Available in 125 or 300 Yards
Green & Yellow
65 LB = 15 lb. Mono Equivalent Dia. Available in 125 or 300 Yards
Green & Yellow
80 LB = 17 lb. Mono Equivalent Dia. Available in 125 or 300 Yards

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* Size(s) used during this review

Design features:

- Ultra-thin with a tight-weave construction
- Made of the highest grade of Dyneema
- Ultra smooth finish
- Cold-fused
- Thinner diameter than thermal-fused superlines

Made in:

- Mexico

Price when Reviewed:

- 125 Yards - $19.99
- 300 Yards - $36.99

Background

The Spider brand originated in 1994 with Safariland, a California company which produced law enforcement equipment. While working with high-tech synthetics to produce bulletproof vests, Neale Perkins and Scott O'Brien discovered that the gel-spun polyethylene fibers used in the vests were ideal for a number of applications, including the creation of super-strong fishing line. The Spider brand quickly began to be recognized for delivering premium products for serious anglers with aggressive styles of fishing.

Specs First Impressions Design Performance Durability Price Final Score

I have to say that I am looking forward to getting this line wet! Spiderwire promises a lot by claiming that “this stuff flows through the rod guides” and that you will “instantly” be casting farther simply by switching to this line; we will see about that. Any company can promise big things from their product, but not all can deliver on those promises. I am looking forward spooling some of this line up.


(I hope this line is as good as Spiderwire's other offerings)

Upon first inspection, the line does look and feel quite good, but let us take a closer look.

Specs First Impressions Design Performance Durability Price Final Score

One thing is apparent right away when inspecting Spiderwire’s Ultracast braid; this line is very smooth. This braided line does not feel like a braid at all! Just running your finger over the line in its spool speaks volumes about how silky smooth this line is. I am also impressed with how supple this line is. I can see how Spiderwire can claim that Ultracast has no break-in period and can be fished right out of the box without any stiffness.

Spiderwire's cold fusion process is supposed to give Ultracast a thinner diameter than traditional, thermal-fused superlines. I love the marketing language Spiderwire uses here because Ultracast does indeed have a thinner diameter than thermal-fused (not to be confused with braid) superlines. When compared to FireLine Fused Crystal or their original fused line (20 lb.) with a diameter at .30mm, Spiderwire Ultracast (20 lb.) is indeed thinner at .24mm. Another simple comparison, however, reveals that Spiderwire certainly doesn't have the thinnest braid out there; Berkley’s 20lb. braid is thinner by a single millimeter at .23mm.


(This line is smooth as a baby's behind!)

Spiderwire Ultracast is made with the highest grade of Dyneema that is available; Dyneema is known for being one of the strongest microfibers available. Fishing line that contains Dyneema effortlessly flows off reels, flies through guides, and cuts through the air with little resistance. This means farther and more accurate casts! Fishing line with Dyneema is also highly abrasion resistant, provides amazing sensitivity, and has incredible knot strength.

Ultracast also has the highest pick count of any superline in the industry for an ultra-smooth finish. Simply running your thumbnail over Spiderwire’s Ultracast braid and comparing its smoothness to Berkley’s Fireline braid or Powerpro’s braid will quickly show that there is no comparison; Ultracast is far smoother than either of those braids.

This line is densely packed with these Dyneema fibers. Using a  high-magnification lens reveals how tight this line’s Dyneema weave really is!


(Spiderwire Ultracast 20lb. at high magnification)

We decided to take a look at some other popular superlines at high magnification to give you a close up, visual comparison between these products.


(Berkley Fireline braid)

A close up comparison reveals that Spiderwire’s Ultracast defiantly has a longer (less tight) weave than Berkley’s braided line does. This is going to make Berkley’s braided line seem to be more round and less flat as compared to Spiderwire’s Ultracast. Berkley seems to have the rounder braid here. This is going to make Berkley’s braid more resistant to digging into your spool when compared to Ultracast’s slightly flatter braid. Braided line digging into your spool, however, has far more to do with your drag setting than the shape of the braid..


(Spiderwire braid)


(Powerpro braid)


(Berkley Fireline Crystal fused)

Our high-magnification photography reveals that Spiderwire Ultracast has a four-strand weave as opposed to the three-strand weave that some other braided lines have. This extra strand is going to give Ultracast added strength and a less flat, more square shape when compared to some other braids that contain only three strands. We can also see how cleanly Ultracast can be cut with relatively little fraying.


(Ultracast's four-strand weave)

Each type of line has its strengths and weaknesses; I typically use braided line for its much thinner diameter (compared to mono) and its added tensile strength. I also like braid because it has no memory and there is little or no stretch in the line; this gives me that extra sensitivity that I am looking for in a fishing line. The promise of a braided line that will cast farther and last longer is too much for me to resist; I can't wait to put this stuff to the test!

Specs First Impressions Design Performance Durability Price Final Score

Reel - Shimano Sustain 2500 FE

Now comes my favorite part of these reviews, the performance test! I am somewhat happy to report that spooling up my Sustain was not too much of a messy affair. Although Ultracast will stain your fingers, it’s not as bad as some other braids in my opinion.


(Ultracast on the water)

After using Spiderwire Ultracast regularly for eight months, the first thing I wanted to test was how well this line maintains its strength after being used. I’m going to start off testing the breaking strength of a 3 foot strand of brand new Ultracast braid. I will be using the Bouz Drag checker DC-1015 to measure Ultracast’s new and used breaking strength. I know the Bouz DC-1015 to be a well-made, accurate tool. I am conducting this test in an effort to see how Spiderwire Ultracast retains its strength over time.

(These results will have a margin of error of +/- 5% with all measurements over 2kg.)

With slow, constant pressure applied to a new strand of Ultracast line, it failed at a pressure above what the line was rated for. We are very pleased to report that a new strand of Spiderwire’s Ultracast withstood 10.25 kg. (22.55 lbs.) of pressure; that’s within the +/- 5% margin of error by 1.42 lbs!

It’s not uncommon for a quality braded line to exceed its rated breaking strength; we’re glad to see that Spiderwire’s Ultracast is no exception.


(Brand new Spiderwire Ultracast breaking strength measurment = 10.25kg +/- 5%)

For our next test, I will be testing the breaking strength of a 3-foot strand of used Ultracast braid. We will see how well this line holds up after being used for eight months. With slow, constant pressure applied to a used strand of Ultracast line, it failed at 8.75 kg. (19.25 lbs) That is a breaking strength at 18.30 lbs. when a margin for error of -5% is factored in. After being used several times a month for eight months, I can easily say that this line has damn good strength-retention! I am thoroughly impressed with Spiderwire Ultracast’s strength!

During the course of our breaking-strength testing we never had a problem with the line breaking at any of the knots we made. The line always broke at some weak point in the line and never at the knot.


(8 month old Spiderwire Ultracast tensile strength measurment = 8.75kg +/- 5%)

We did notice a slight increase in our casting distances when compared to Berkley’s Fireline fused line and Spiderwire’s Stealth braid. Even though we didn’t notice a massive increase in our casting distance, it was still noticeable. A small, but noticeable increase in casting distance is still an increase; I’ll take it! Ultracast did not cut or damage any of our guides during this review.


(Ultracast flies through the guides)

After battling many river smallies on rocky bottoms, this line has proven to me that it has a good resistance to abrasion. Ultracast also cuts through weeds like a hot knife through butter! If you need a line that will muscle fish out of cover, Ultracast is the line you need!


(Pulling a smallie out from a drop off near the weeds)

I was careful to keep my drag setting low in an attempt to avoid the line digging into my spool. The small diameter and added strength of braided line can both conspire to wreak havoc on your spool when you set your drag too tight! Line digging into your spool, wind knots, and bird nests, can and will plague the angler who is ignorant of the role one’s drag setting plays in their braid’s good behavior! Even with my drag setting kept low, I still noticed some of my line digging into my spool.


(Some line digging is evident so keep those drag settings low!)

Even though Ultracast likes to dig a little bit, it has never proved to be a huge hassle for me. This braid tends lay flatter than some other braids will. If you are in the market for a braided line that resists digging better than Ultracast does, you may enjoy Fireline braid more since it is a rounder braid than Ultracast.

Specs First Impressions Design Performance Durability Price Final Score

During the course of our testing for this review, we have found Spiderwire’s Ultracast braid to be quite durable indeed! After being used for eight months, you can see in the picture below that this line has started to fry a little bit. As our testing has shown, this line does retain its strength very well over time. Even though the line looks frayed in the picture below, it’s almost just as smooth as when it was brand new. This line also casts just as well as it did the day I first used it!


(Spiderwire Ultracast after several months of use)

I truly believe that this line is going to last me a good, long while! I am very impressed with this line’s durability!

Specs First Impressions Design Performance Durability Price Final Score

Any line that holds up as well as Spiderwire Ultracast does is money well spent. Braid is very expensive fishing line; however, Ultracast is no exception! I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to mess around with inferior products when I’m spending my hard-earned money. I believe that Spiderwire Ultracast retains its smoothness and strength extremely well over time; if that isn’t bang for your buck, I don’t know what is.

This line is very expensive at $37 for a 300-yard spool, but you pay for what you get. Ultracast lasted longer than any other braided line I’ve ever used. A year later I’m still using the original Ultracast line that I spooled up with for this review! This stuff lasts a very long time!

Specs First Impressions Design Performance Durability Price Final Score

The good - Very smooth! Soft and ready to use right out of the box. Very strong four-strand weave.

The Bad - This line can stain your fingers.

The Score - 83 out of 100


The good - Great knot strength, low visibility, and a slight increase in casting distance.

The Bad - This braid, like most braids, tends to dig into the spool.

The Score - 75 out of 100


The good - Very long lasting! Wonderful strength retention! We found the abrasion resistance over time to be excellent. This braid gets high marks for durability!

The Bad - Nada.

The Score - 95 out of 100

The good - This is a high-quality line that will last you quite a while. The high price tag is worth it in my opinion.

The Bad - More expensive than other braids.

The Score - 88 out of 100

Overall score - 85% = (Excellent)

For more on how we score our reviews and the score's meanings


(Unfortunately for this smallie, Spiderwire Ultracast hasn't failed me yet!)

During the course of our review we found that Spiderwire Ultracast does indeed deliver longer, smoother casts. Yes, we did have some problems with the line digging into the spool a little bit, but it wasn’t anything that a lower drag setting couldn’t fix. I’ve had this line spooled on for well over 6 months and it has proved to be extremely durable. Our stress tests proved that this line loses very little strength even after months of use; it’s still almost as smooth as when it was new too! Ultracast has now become my line of choice! If you prefer to use braded line, I highly recommend (just) this product!