No way, Braid came out with the advent of Spider Wire – didn’t it? Well, actually braided lines are probably the oldest lines in fishing. It’s just that they weren’t made of Spectra back in the day. Early lines were spun out of everything from cat gut to Dacron, all in an attempt to make a better line. In fact, if you’ve read any of the old bass fishing books from the turn of the 19th century to about the 1950s, braided lines and their care were big topics. After each day on the water, the line would have to be stripped from the reel onto line dryers and left to dry before the next day’s fishing. At least Dacron and the early nylon monofilaments solved that problem.
Here’s a 1977 ad for one of the remaining braid manufacturers in the 70s, Gudebrod. Their Supernatural braid was supposedly translucent to make it harder for fish to see. As you can see from the ad, they must have had a different definition of translucent – at least compared to mono or today’s fluorocarbon lines. Still, considering today’s braid, there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference in visibility.
Here’s a little background on the two fibers.
Dacron, by DuPont, is produced from a polymer called polyethylene terephthalate (common name, polyester or PETE) and was mainly developed for household textiles and clothing. It’s a hypoallergenic material that is also waterproof – which is probably why it found use in the fishing industry. Braids of this type were woven with a hollow core, thus making the line itself a larger diameter than today’s braided lines, which are not woven with a hollow core. The other property that Dacron has is it’s susceptible to ultra-violet light degradation.
As stated above, today’s braided lines are produced from Spectra fiber, which is an ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE). Spectra fiber is 15-times stronger than steel and 30% stronger than aramid (Kevlar) fibers, lighter than other comparable polymer fibers and is resistant to UV light. The other key is the method in which it is made into fishing line – it’s not produced as a hollow-core line but is woven as a solid thread. This does three things that benefit the angler: 1) it allows for more line to be placed on a reel as it is thinner in diameter for a specific pound test and 2) it compacts on the spool much better and 3) it casts much easier than old Dacron braids.
Now that we know the difference between old polymer fiber braids and new ones, I wonder if anyone will come out with a better cat-gut line? I bet that would get the P3T@ folks all in an uproar.