I‘m a liberal leaning outdoorsman attempting to open the minds of right wingers to the idea that libs fish too. Anglers come from all walks of life, left, right, and center. Not everyone who fishes for bass is a redneck fond of Nascar, country music, and religiosity. Expect posts about largemouth bass fishing, techniques, reviews of lures and other products, but not any condemnable conservative rants. I hope to inspire the online angler community to dial down rhetoric which will do more harm than good to our sport.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

• Review: 15lb P-Line CXX

Over the last couple of years, both the brands and composition of fishing line exploded into something almost out of this world. Anglers have been left to sort out this tangled mess of line themselves. Browsing the fishing line aisle can sometimes make my head spin. Line is a matter of preference which varies from angler to angler. Some lines are better qualified for specific applications and although I do follow that general rule, something is still missing. While all of these advances have been taking place, trying out different line has become somewhat of a prerogative of mine. Why? There is one thing these companies have yet to deliver, at least for my fishing needs. Give me a solid all-purpose fishing line.

Copolymer and fluorocarbon lines have captured most of my attention during this brief journey through these twisting and turning strands. A few brands have even served me well up until recently. Although fluorocarbon has been doing much of the work for me as of late, I still like a good copolymer. Gamma Copolymer has coexisted in harmony with my gear for quite some time, but that stuff is getting harder and harder to find locally. I have always been the kind of shopper that prefers the hands on buying experience. I'm trying to buy less and less online these days, especially since the shipping process can be an ordeal in itself. For those of you who have followed my blog for a while, you'll know I don't shop at BPS. Academy Sports & Outdoors has P-Line CXX in stock like you wouldn't believe. (Let's just say it does not look like they will be running out any time soon.) Because I can't find Gamma products at Academy anymore, I'm being forced into a corner. I don't like to stockpile spools of line and only keep one or two extra spools handy for real world use. A decision has to be made at this point. This should serve as a lesson to any tackle company out there considering how to best sell their product(s). People like me will hit the store before the net in search of our fishing gear.

P-Line is a company with a lot of choices when it comes to fishing line. What's surprising is how similar their long list of products is despite all the different compositions and branding schemes. Halo is one of my personal favorites. I've tried Evolution, a copolymer line, and did not like it. I tried the 8lb CXX and found it to be okay. With my Gamma Copolymer conservation mood in full swing, I figured it was time to give a stronger PLine copolymer a try. That's when I took 15lb CXX into consideration. To be honest, I'm not very brave when it comes to rated breaking strengths. The 8lb line might be enough for some, but I have a lot more confidence when the test is much higher. I rarely use lines rated less than 12lb test. I'm not a big fan of light line and will often disregard rod ratings to get what I want.

Forget monofilament. Copolymer line is great stuff. In terms of application, copolymer will work in every situation whether I'm throwing crankbaits, spinnerbaits, topwater frogs, or soft plastics. Sure, I really like fluorocarbon, but as I said a moment ago, I need an all-purpose line. CXX has jumped into that spot in my lineup and Gamma Copolymer has taken a back seat for now. Aside from being a copolymer, PLine has offered many other features to set it apart from the rest. The two X's in the name stand for extra strength and extra toughness. That may be some suave marketing ploy on their part, but I think it's in reference to everything else they have in the product lineup, not characteristics which set it apart from other companies. This copolymer has an extra coating for added abrasion resistance, which has become a common innovation in the line industry. Like any line, CXX is offered in various breaking strengths, diameters, and colors. The 15lb version of CXX has a diameter of 0.4mm (0.016inch), which is comparable to many other brands of line in this class, although some feel 0.4mm is too large. Although I purchased the line in moss green color, it is also available in fluorescent green, smoke blue, crystal clear, and hi-vis fluorescent. I'm hoping Academy will start carrying the crystal clear version in the red box, although the water I fish is frequently stained to muddy on any given day. I may not even need clear line.

In my previous line reviews, I made sure to point out that each line that goes through my trial period faces more critical analysis than its predecessors, in part because I tend to expect more out of said line. I'm now rather finicky when it comes to sensitivity and castability. Knot strength has also become much more important to me as has abrasion resistance. I can be very forgiving when it pertains to other common concerns related to fishing line. What I discovered this time around was that CXX ended up impressing me on many levels, but what makes this review different is that I did not feel I held CXX as close to the flame of criticism as its predecessors.

How does 15lb PLine CXX fit my style of fishing? This is the question you should ask yourself after reading my review. What I need and what you expect are likely two very different things. Keep that in mind whenever you read any review. You'll get more out of the information being presented.

So let me dive right into what I think about 15lb CXX and you can take what you need from my findings.

The biggest problem with CXX is memory, so let me get that out of the way first. Most PLine products have this kind of horrible reputation, aside from maybe PLine Halo. Fishing jigs and soft plastics slowly may not be ideal with the amount of coiling CXX has, but in those situations, I'm probably using fluorocarbon anyway. If you need a little extra help with removing memory, some line conditioner should do the trick. Get this stuff wet and it will behave too. Cold weather does not play well with CXX and memory is much worse as a result. Memory in cold weather cannot be dealt with easily, but many other lines have the same problem. When the air temperature drops into the low 50's, use something else or stock up on that little thing called patience. The line still maintains a certain amount of castability, but it coils up above water making it difficult to watch and feel for those less apparent strikes. Although memory develops quickly and stands out as one of the more common complaints, it doesn't seem to interfere with my overall experience. The claims on the box that this line is "soft and supple" and "extra limp" are a little far fetched. Stiffness goes hand in hand with memory problems. I would not describe CXX as supple, but I'm coping just fine with the memory problems.

The rest of what I have to say about 15lb CXX is actually quite favorable.

CXX is a copolymer, so sensitivity is really average, although I'm slowly learning that something like line sensitivity can be a very subjective experience. Let me explain. I'm the type of angler who thumbs the line with my left hand gripping the foregrip (as a right handed person). I don't palm my reels. Sensitivity, to me, translates to what I feel through the line, not the rod. That thumb of mine is in contact with the actual line, so what I consider average might be a step up for someone who palms their baitcaster. For what I need CXX to do, sensitivity is fine, even when that cursed memory decides to creep up.

In terms of castability, 15lb CXX is a fabulous performer. As long as my baitcaster is tuned into a certain range of brake settings, an easy enough task, I am provided plenty of room for error. I hardly even have to thumb this stuff as it comes off the spool. Most lures sail through the air with little effort and the line coming off the spool flows in a much smoother fashion than Gamma Copolymer ever did. I can probably outcast other lines I own with much better accuracy using CXX. Honestly, I've never had a better casting experience with any other line. If you're a baitcaster beginner, think about spooling up with CXX. I hold the opinion that any angler who backlashes with 15lb CXX got a little too over-confident with their baitcaster's braking system. I suggest those anglers become more familiar with their reels and back off on the brakes a little. It's nothing for me to clear 110-115 feet with this stuff with braking dialed up on the high side. With CXX, backlashes are also a thing of the past. I don't even have to think about it when making a cast. I can go all day without a backlash. That's a nice feeling to have out there on the water.

Knot strength is also average in my opinion. I say that only because when I landed a 6lber a while back, I did so by dragging it towards the bank along the pier. As soon as I brought that bass up into some thick weeds on the bank, the line snapped at the knot. The weight of the weeds on top of the fish must have been too much. I've also had a few break offs right at the hookset with topwater hollow body frog bites. Otherwise, this line has held on to quite a few fish without retying. That's why I give CXX an average score on knot strength. Other anglers have given much more gracious reviews in this area, but this is my review. In terms of actually tying a knot, it takes some oomph to cinch it down without making a humongous monstrosity because the line is, after all, 15lb test with a wider diameter. Wetting the line before tying helps ease the process, but applying enough tension from both sides forces the knot down tight without damaging the line or sacrificing knot stability. Lines with wider diameters all seem to have this problem. Compare that to my experience with Gamma Copolymer or Yo-Zuri Hybrid and you'll see why I put up with something like that. In other words, it could be worse.

Abrasion resistance comes and goes. Some toothy bass do leave their mark. Others don't even leave a scratch. Cypress trees can damage the line, but that usually involves ripping a snagged lure out of a limb I wrapped around causing excessive stress on a line that really was not meant for such things. With every day use, the line holds up well and resists abrasion. Even with some noticeable surface abrasion, the line won't break. I cannot comment on abrasion around rocks as the area lakes are severely lacking in that department. In comparison, Vicious Fluorocarbon and 15lb PLine Halo both have better abrasion resistance (as fluorocarbon lines should), but CXX can take a pretty good beating too, hence the claim by PLine that this stuff is extra strong. So for applications where fluorocarbon would be inappropriate, CXX has been a good choice for me.

Most of the bites CXX went up against this year have been topwater strikes. I've battled it out with a number of fish and the ones I've lost are more likely due to my own errors in technique and not through any fault of the line. I have lost a few Scumfrogs because the line broke right as I set the hook, but many other fish, some larger than others, were landed without difficulty. Aside from those bad-luck-brakes, CXX is a low maintenance line. Once spooled up, that line will last me weeks, if not months, with a few reties here and there.

The Final Say
Since I can't find many other brands of line I like in the stores around here, PLine CXX is about the best fit for my style of fishing. It's inexpensive, casts like a dream, and holds up under pressure. For specific applications, I may go with one of the two fluorocarbon lines I have in my box, but for general knocking around, 15lb CXX has been more than enough. If you get bent out of shape over memory issues, perhaps CXX isn't for you. If that's the case, try to avoid selecting CXX for an application or situation it isn't ideal for. I'll continue to use 15lb CXX until something changes. When that day comes, I'll obviously have another line review to post, right?

Related Posts:
8lb P-Line CXX
P-Line Halo Review
P-Line Evolution
Gamma Copolymer


MDTolic said...

Still won't test the waters with braid, eh?

Adam said...

Something that I do that may help with some of the memory issues you've been experiencing is to tie one end of the line to something (i.e. truck bumper, boat trailer, ect.) walk out about 150 to 200 feet of line, and stretch the line (obviously making sure to keep the rod pointed at whatever you're tied to).

In my experience it helps keep the line straight for a fishing trip, maybe two and I prefer to do this as opposed to using line conditioners (which I'm not a big fan of)

BassFishingDem said...

2010 just might be the year I give braid a try. I'll have to start practicing tying two uni knots together for connecting it to the backing.

I'll have to see how well stretching the line removes the memory. I will say I'm not fond of that idea. I'd prefer not to stretch out my line. The point to take away, however, is that PLine seems to have a reputation for memory issues. CXX will coil on you, as will many other of their products.

Adam said...

Don't get me wrong, I don't like that idea either. That's why I don't use CXX anymore, but it does help if you've got it spooled up already.

MDTolic said...

I love the braid. In fact, I fish braid so much, the coiling with fluros and copolymers bug me to no end now. I tried Yo-Zuri this year and ended up keeping it on my cranking reel and 1 bigger spinning reel used mostly for flukes (& hopefully drop shoting next year). I made myself keep it on really.

I had planned to try this exact CXX out at some point myself. It's what a buddy of mine in Chicago uses and he's a big fan. He doesn't use braid either though. Don't think I'll bother now.

Spiderman said...

You may give P-Line Flouroclear a try. For 2009, to me it was the best of both worlds in the 12 to 15 pound range. I found that it had little memory issues. With a flourocarbon coating it is as invisible to fish as pure flouocarbon, while I found the line to be very strong.

BassFishingDem said...

To reiterate, I really don't have any major problems with CXX in terms of memory, except in cases when the air temperatures are cooler. Don't get me wrong, the memory is still apparent the closer you get to the spool, but in terms of casting, I love it.

I've thought about trying Floroclear, but I have used Yo Zuri Hybrid, a line which has a similar fluorocarbon coated design. Had the exact same memory problems, only more pronounced, especially in cooler water.

hippo said...

i find it fascinating reading your review of 15 lb. cxx in terms of strength when bass fishing. i use it out west here when we fish for albacore and line shy yellowfin tuna out of san diego. the biggest fish we have landed have been a 47 lb. albacore and a 52 lb. yellowfin tuna, both which fight much harder than bass. as for tying knots, we are use to tying lines up to 100 lb. test w/o wetting them, so i wonder what kind of knot is giving you trouble with teeny little 15 lb. test.