We often get asked what the differences between the different copolymer mainlines that we sell, so we thought it was high time that we offered you a little guidance on the key differences between our three carp focused mainlines; Pro, Hydro Tuff and GT80+ mainlines.
I think it’s fair to say that Gardner has always had a great reputation for supplying bullet proof fishing lines. Believe me when I say that we go to enormous lengths to ensure that they are as good as they can be, as we fastidiously test every aspect of our lines performance. This ethos is definitely disseminated from the top down within the company as Richard Gardner (our MD) scrutinises the lines with a non compromise attitude – just the way it should be!
So where do we start?
Well the most fundamental characteristic of any line is its raw strength. We don’t believe that any line should be rated at linear – they must allow for the inclusion of a knot otherwise how would you fish with it?
Good copolymer mainlines are amazing in that they only loose a small fraction of their strength if you tie a good Palomar or Grinner in them to attach to swivels and hooks where a knotless knot isn’t applicable.
*Please note Blood knots should really only be used with Fluorocarbon – they are not recommended with copolymer lines.
Obviously, any line’s strength is dictated by a number of factors; from the raw materials used in the copolymer recipe; to how it is extruded and drawn out to the final diameter. Particular performance characteristics of a copolymer mix can be further improved or enhanced by the addition of additives and are also affected by the inclusion of the pigments that are included to make the line a specific colour. It’s a dizzying interaction between a number of manufacturing factors that make production of lines a bit of an art form.
The current suppliers we work with are probably the best line extruders we have ever dealt with! The consistent excellent quality and high performance of all our lines bears witness to this fact. We don’t pretend to make the line like some ‘manufacturers’ but we do specify and develop lines that are ours exclusively.
All our lines exceed the stated breaking strain – some by a greater margin than others. We get asked why do we under rate our lines so much. This is based on experience and it is directly related to customer’s perceptions and expectations of what a line should do!
*See table at the end of this article for guidance on diameters across the range.
It’s our experience, based on 30+ years in the trade and feedback from consumers and retail customers that lines rated too closely to true breaking strain are perceived as ‘weak’. The truth of the matter is that when tested accurately they still exceed the labelled breaking strain, but anglers are simply used to the buffer that under rating a line has historically given them. It allows for different standards of knot tying too. After all, not everyone can tie perfect knots it seems.
So yes, our lines are under rated. Even the Pro which is rated at 15Ib in the 0.35mm realistically breaks at above 18Ib on the knot, whereas the HydroTuff is rated 15Ib at 0.38 (21Ib) and the GT80+ is rated 15Ib at 0.40mm (23Ib). Both GT80+ and HydroTuff offer considerably larger buffers and will withstand more abuse – proportionally to their higher diameter.
So after raw strength and knot strength the other basic characteristic is colour.
Our range includes several options, and rather than give you a long winded description I think it’s best if we summarise colours by product now, with a little bit of info related to any recommended use and each lines benefits.
A great all round mainline that out performs many lines that cost twice the price.
Light Blend: A phenomenal clear water line – certainly the best we have ever used! Pro ‘Light Blend’ looks pale grey on the spool.
Dark Blend: Very dark green/chod coloured exceptional camouflage when it’s allowed to sink down onto the lakebed. Marginally higher knot strength than the light blend (we’re only talking a couple of percent).
Gardner Hydro Tuff
Proven amazing abrasion resistance and great knot strength with a nice feel. This is the line to choose when you’re fishing a venue that mangles other lines…
Low Viz Green: Very, very good in clear water. It’s called low-viz for a reason! Historically super high abrasion lines had an opaque (white) background. The low-viz green Hydro Tuff doesn’t. It’s much better!
Brown: A dark brown line that offers excellent low visibility when allowed to sink onto the lake bed, and very good in the low light conditions of winter months. Also worth considering on pressured waters where fish are conditioned to look for commonly used green lines.
This our very best copolymer line. It exceeds the performance of the other two in terms of feel, casting and knot strength, and virtually matches Hydro Tuff for abrasion and sinks like a stone!
Deep Green colour is based on our original dark GT80, this line is a superb camouflage deep green that blends amazingly well into weed and filamentous ‘candy floss’ algae. Again a great colour for blending in seamlessly with the natural environment.
So which is best?
Well, as I write this we are heading towards the end of the winter show season, and I’ve spent a fair amount of time liaising with customers face to face trying to answer this very question. In all honesty I would happily put any one of our main lines on my reels as I have 100% absolute faith in all of them. Yes, I know I work for the company and all that, but the truth is they are all really superb lines!
I have a soft spot for both HydroTuff and Pro, and have used them extensively during trials and ever since. I have spare spools for heavy duty weed and snag fishing with HydroTuff loaded on for occasions when I’m fishing somewhere that is really going to challenge the robustness of my tackle to the max.
Until recently the Pro range only went up to the 0.35mm versions and this is the line I choose to use as my general carp angling line (before the introduction of Pro-XM). The colour of the ‘light blend’ is absolutely superb in clear water – certainly the best I have seen whilst out on the bank – and it casts like a dream. It also sinks like a stone and ticks all the right boxes.
So over the winter I’ve generally found myself advising customers to buy either on budget (in which case it’s got to be ‘Pro’) or based on diameter and colour. If they are fishing somewhere they feel abrasion is a major consideration then this leans towards Gt80+ or HydroTuff, with the Tuff being recommended for venues like heavily featured gravel pits or continental canals that tend to have boulders strewn along the margins.
If they want a line that is soft, sinks fast straight off the spool, has great knot strength and is generally still robust – then the top of the range GT80+ is ‘the one’. Yes, it costs a few pounds more, but the truth of the matter is that it’s the line in our range that performs the best across all of the key performance attributes.
The main point I am trying to make through all this is a simple one. If you weigh up the angling you’re be doing this season, and consider the type of venues you will mainly be visiting you can easily find the perfect line in our range – whatever the budget – and most importantly of all whatever line you choose you can be confident it won’t let you down…
Stated Breaking Strain & Diameter, Knot Strength @ 0.35mm
12Ib/0.35mm = 18lb+
15Ib / 0.40mm
10Ib / 0.30
12Ib / 0.35 = 18lb+
15Ib / 0.38
20Ib / 0.40
10Ib / 0.28
12Ib / 0.30
15Ib / 0.35 = 18lb+
XM / 0.40mm