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Thursday, August 16, 2007

• Line Review: Gamma Copolymer


I bought Gamma Copolymer after a recommendation from a fellow angler I met online, but also know him from my outings on Cross Lake. His lure recommendations have always been good, so I figured he knew his line too. I bought Gamma Copolymer in the 12lb test for the same reason I downsized with the Yo Zuri. I wanted something I might be able to cast farther that would still hold up against the elements and user error. Gamma Copolymer only cost a little more than the Yo Zuri I had been using. Now that you know my rationale for switching, let's dig in and find out more about this line.

Here's the sales pitch. On the spool, you'll read things like high performance and competition grade. The ad boasts strength, castability, tenacity, sensitivity, and suppleness. Spools of Gamma Copolymer are available in 300 yard cuts. While available in at least two colors, I went with the clear version because it's what I could find on the rack at Academy Sports.

The initial casts had evidence of memory from the original spool, but that worked out of the line after a few more casts. I could definitely get more casting distance with this line and it felt pretty smooth while doing so. Sure, the occasional backlash happened, but the overall experience was a pleasant one. A spool of 20lb copolymer underwent the same level of scrutiny and while the experience was somewhat similar, distance was reduced and the propensity to backlash was obvious. Close casts were much more agreeable. Some of the Line and Lure Conditioner does help, but I'm a little disappointed in the amount of memory. The 12lb test line has significantly less memory issues. If you are looking for a casting line, go with lighter stuff. If you're working close, as with pitching, think about moving up to the heavier line.

Next, let me discuss sensitivity. I'd say the sensitivity was comparable to what I had always felt with Yo Zuri Hybrid and monofilament. That shouldn't be much of a surprise to those who use copolymer lines. There was something different about how it felt in my hand when spooling it on compared to mono and fluorocarbon coated Yo Zuri. Supple would indeed be the best word for the sensation, but as time went by, that quality was gradually lost. Heavier line was not quite as supple, but I could easily tell the difference between Gamma and monofilament. Detecting bites was not difficult with either weight line, so in this area, Gamma gets a pass.

In terms of strength, I have mixed feelings. One thing I do not like is that the 12lb copolymer does not have the same amount of "influence" when pulling free of hydrilla that I am typically accustomed to fishing over. In order to shake free, I had to bring the boat to where I was hung up. Maybe the line has a little too much stretch. That would certainly explain what happened. When a fish is on, however, the story changes in a positive way. Handling and stretch are not as apparent and landing bass is just the same as any other line. I found this to be true regardless of whether I had 12 or 20lb test spooled up. Most problems occurred at the knot. Could have been my fault. Could have been the line. I'm not entirely sure.

Copolymer lines are not generally known for abrasion resistance. This line isn't as resistant to damage as I'd like it to be, but it still holds up fairly well. I can see teeth marks from bass as well as nicks from other things. Durability is still somewhat variable and also depends on the diameter and by extension, the test. The 20lb test might fit your fancy should lighter line not make the cut. When using the 20lb line, I got caught up in a cypress limb off the pier and shook loose. I then inspected my line for damage. There were only slight surface marks not worthy of a retie. Definitely tougher than the 12lb stuff which tends to show more wear. I had one break off in the middle where about 20 feet of line went flying out across the hydrilla. Luckily I could follow the line on the top of the weeds to retrieve the lure. Yes, it would appear that this line tends to float. Think about using it for topwater baits. I cannot recall any new break offs since then, but because of occasional abrasion, retying is often necessary.

Another point of interest I feel obliged to discuss is line visibility. Gamma Copolymer in 12# at 0.33mm is less visible than Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon with the same diameter. I'm sure 20# is much more visible, but it puts things in perspective when fluorocarbon is *supposed* to be invisible. Most of the water I fish around here is heavily stained anyway, so visibility is usually not high on my list of concerns.

Knots are easier to tie using the lighter line. The 20lb test is difficult to cinch down into a nice tidy knot. Again, I did experience some breaks at the knot, but I have yet to determine where the fault lies. Generally speaking, knots seem to play nice with this line, even when some extra effort is required to finish the job. Wetting the knot may improve your tying experience, but I think, as with most things in life, the knot is only as good as the person who tied it.

In the end, I feel that Gamma Copolymer still handles the fish I catch without much fuss and it's what I've continued to spool on reels for general use. Specific applications might be better suited by fluorocarbon, especially if abrasion and stretch are concerns. As it stands, Gamma Copolymer is my current line of choice on most of my reels. I still plan on trying out other line to compare, but Gamma Copolymer does a great job without too much fuss.

As a late addition to this review, PLine CXX was put to the test and reviewed some time in 2009. Taking some of what I learned from this review of Gamma Copolymer, I opted for a midrange breaking strength, so I bought 15lb P-Line CXX. The two lines are very similar, but Gamma still wins in sensitivity and suppleness.

Related Posts:
Review: Gamma Edge Fluorocarbon
Yo Zuri Hybrid
Review: 15lb P-Line CXX
P-Line Evolution Impressions
My Line

1 comments:

Basspastor said...

I just won some Gamma Copoly from blogger Brian "Fishing Hype" Brown. Email him you name and address and he will put you in a monthly drawing. I don't know if you saw the blog I did when I won, but you get a load of good stuff. I don't know if I will find a use for the Gamma because I use braid for just about everything.