It might be marketed for freshwater predator fishing but bass fishing expert Henry Gilbey is impressed with how this super-smooth and abrasion resistant braid performs in saltwater too

I get to fish with a lot of different braids and top of the pile for me is the expensive but very long-lasting Sufix 131 braid. You do not need to spend that much money on a mainline though, and I really like coming across 150yd spools of modern braid that feel really good and come in at under that £20 mark. I don’t need long with a new braid these days to know if I like it or not, and from the off I liked the feel of this new Berkley Sick Braid X8 as I loaded it onto a spinning reel. But you need to go out fishing with a new mainline, so that’s exactly what I have done. Multiple times as well!

Berkley Sick Braid X8 is available in three different colours – red, moss green and hi-vis yellow. I went for the red because I like a bright coloured braid and I always tie a length of clear fluorocarbon leader to the end of my mainline. I did some research and talked to a few people in the trade and they all advised me to essentially forget about the quoted diameters on the spools of this braid and instead go for the breaking strain which I think is most applicable to my fishing. I went for the 24lb and so far this braid is behaving impeccably. It feels as thin as any other 20lb braids I know, and after only one session I noticed how this line felt a fair bit smoother than it did when brand new. I don’t quite know why this is because when it’s brand new this braid feels ever so slightly coarse through the fingers, yet after fishing with it I would class it as one of those really smooth 8-strands which I think help lures get out there a bit better. 

I note with interest that Berkley says this about their new braid: “Berkley SICK 8 strand PE braid, super smooth high-performance line with low stretch and high knot strength. Because of the Nano coating with microcrystalline polymer, it is very abrasion resistant.” I will take all the abrasion resistance I can get with the sort of lure fishing I often do. 

I also believe that this particular braid is being targeted more at the freshwater market, but I have fished with it enough to know that this is one hell of a good braid for saltwater fishing as well. The colour is holding up really well but of course it has to fade a bit with more fishing time, and my usual FG knot to my clear fluoro leader gives me a very strong connection to any fish I have hooked so far. I have had a few situations where the bass were feeding at range and I was absolutely blasting metal lures to get at them. I know when a braid is coming off my spinning reel properly, and this Berkley Sick Braid X8 is doing me proud. Very impressive.