For years, the pound test markings on a box and spool of fishing line were the first things anglers paid attention to when spooling up a new reel. The one issue with that practice is that the diameters vary widely from brand to brand, and some newer generations of line are highly specialized and even thinner. Thus, the true test of a line is the actual measured diameters of each size and line type.

In Japan, bass anglers focus more on line diameter and how it affects lure performance out of necessity when fishing pressured waters. Seaguar recently imported three exclusive lines that were previously only available in the Japanese domestic market (JDM), and are offering them in the United States to help anglers get more bites from finicky fish. The three new lines are:
• R18 main line fluorocarbon
• Grand Max fluorocarbon leader material, a favorite in Japan since 1999
• The micro-thin PE-X8 braid

As anglers have become more technical with lure performance, especially with the advent of forward-facing sonar, dialing in a presentation with the proper line becomes even more crucial. Two anglers with extreme attention to detail, two-time Bassmaster Elite Series Angler of the Year Brandon Palaniuk and reigning Bass Pro Tour Angler of the Year Matt Becker, share how they utilize line diameters to get more out of their lures.

Seaguar PEX8, a JDM braided line with extremely thin diameters, is an excellent example. Since its release, both Becker and Palaniuk have begun using it on spinning setups. As a frame of reference, the diameter of 24 lb PEX8 is .008 inches or .205mm, the same diameter as the 10 lb Seaguar Smackdown braid.


Palaniuk is primarily using 21-lb test PEX8 and stresses that anglers should check the diameter of the line first. "The biggest thing is to start with a diameter that is the closest match to what you are fishing now," he said. "Then, you can scale down from there when you get used to the performance. The benefit of this line for all techniques is you can get a similar action out of your bait with added strength and better overall performance."

Fishing the Jighead Minnow

One of the hottest techniques in bass fishing is the jighead minnow. Both Becker and Palaniuk have spent countless hours mastering this bait and say line diameter is critical when fishing this way.

"For one, you are going to cast your bait much further, simply because the diameter is so much thinner," said Becker, who prefers 18-pound PEX8 with a leader of 8-pound Seaguar Tatsu when fishing this way. "This is critical when reaching fish way out in front of the boat. The other thing is that a thicker braid will catch more water and drag, which will cause your bait to rise more. The thinner diameter gives you much better control of the bait, so you can keep it right where you want it."


Palaniuk shared similar insights on how a thinner braid helps. "One of the significant benefits of the smaller diameter of Seaguar PEX8 braid is that you have a straight line to your bait. Many anglers don't realize how much of an arc is in your bait with standard braids, which can hinder the bait's action."

When fishing with this rig, the key to getting the most rolling action is the right retrieve, and a thinner diameter braid helps with that, too.

"All of the action is imparted by shaking your rod, but it requires a little slack in your line. You can't just shake the bait with a tight line," said Palaniuk. "It's similar to a walking bait or jerkbait, where you have the right rod twitch cadence to get the bait to shake and roll. A thinner braid, like PEX8, allows you to control the bait more so it doesn't rise or hop up and down as much."

Bottom Contact Lures

In addition to the jighead minnow, typically reserved for targeting suspended bass, Palaniuk and Becker are fans of a thinner braid for baits fished along the bottom.

"It matters a lot for bottom contact reasons, and for the same reasons, a thinner braid will give you more direct contact with the bait," Palaniuk said. "When you set the hook, you pull in a lot of line before it gets tight. A thinner diameter will give you a better hookup simply because you don't have as much slack out there."


Becker likes it for those reasons, as well as for bite detection and performance when fishing along the bottom. "I still like the 18 lb PEX8 but will go with a heavier leader line 10 or 12 lb Tatsu for things like a Neko Rig," he said. "Since the braid is thinner, it sinks much faster and gets right to the bottom. I also like the line color, which has a green section every meter. It shows up well in all conditions and that little mark is almost like a strike indicator for me to watch."

Jerkbaits on Fluorocarbon

Another new addition to the Seaguar lineup is the fluorocarbon mainline R18, a line previously only available in Japan. This premium line is also thin, with diameters smaller than other brands of fishing line. Becker likes the smaller diameter and wide range of size options, especially when fishing jerkbaits.

"There are so many different pound test sizes, and you can get your baits at the perfect diving depth," he said. "As a general rule, every five pounds of line size will affect the diving distance of your jerkbait by approximately one foot. Having 10-, 12-, 14-, and 16 lb test options lets me get as technical as possible."

It may sound like splitting hairs to affect the diving distance by inches, but Becker says it can sometimes make all the difference.


"A few inches of diving depth can be critical when fishing above brush piles or vegetation you see on your sonar," he said. "It can also matter for targeting specific fish you see. You can dial in your presentation and ensure your bait is not diving too deep or shallow when using a thinner diameter fluoro with so many size options."

The shift in focus from pound test to line diameter allows top-level professional bass anglers to maximize the performance of their lures. Making slight adjustments to thinner diameters allows them to get a better feel for their baits and puts themselves in a position to catch more bass.

Seaguar PEX8 is a micro-thin braid in high-visibility Passion Pink imported from Japan. It is available in 200 meter (219 yard) spools in sizes ranging from 12 to 33lb test. (Please check line diameter closely)

Seaguar R-18 is a best-in-class JDM fluorocarbon mainline available from 4 to 20 lb. test in 100 meter (109 yards) spools.

Seaguar Grand Max is a strong and sensitive JDM fluorocarbon leader available from 2 to 40lb. test in 60 meter (66 yard) spools.

Seaguar Tatsu Fluorocarbon mainline is available from 4 to 25 lb test on 200- and 1,000-yard spools.