Words & images: Dylan Brennan
While Tokuryo aren’t yet a household name for some anglers, they produce some fantastic lines for a variety of fishing. Having been established since the mid-80s, Tokuryo are no rookies when it comes to the manufacturing of fishing lines, and they produce both braided PE lines and monofilaments, along with fluorocarbons and even some hybrid options – and all these have been available to us in Australia since 2021.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have played with a few different lines from the Tokuryo stable, and recently got my hands on some of their Finesse Game x4. With an estuary road trip looming, I was given two different size options to review, both for quite different tackle and techniques. I picked up a spool of PE 0.6 and PE 1.5, both in the hi-vis yellow and 150m length.
My medium-light swimbait outfit was spooled with the PE 1.5, with flathead and mulloway the intended targets fishing smaller glidebaits and soft swimbaits up around the 5 to 6-inch mark. The PE 1.5 is rated at 15.4lb and measures 0.209mm, which for my lightest ‘big bait’ outfit was perfect in terms of its handling thickness. I was completely comfortable with the fact this was a 4-carrier line straight away and it was going to be my preferred style of line for this particular outfit and intended fishing terrain.
The PE 0.6 measures 0.132mm and has a stated breaking strain of 8.8lb. This is more believable of a line of this diameter, compared with some brands that claim higher breaking strains in similar ratings and measurements. The PE 0.6 was spooled on a 2000-sized spin reel, with light tackle estuary work in mind. The intended application included medium-light tackle jerkbait fishing for bream and estuary perch, and some deeper techniques such as light soft vibes and plastics for the same species, along with school-sized mulloway if we were lucky enough to encounter them.
I would normally steer towards a supple and silky 8-strand line for this application, and my initial impressions of this 4-strand braid were somewhat nonchalant – but after a week or so of field testing, I can say this line performed above what my pre-conceived thoughts led me to believe.
Initial inspection of the PE 0.6 revealed a line that while not the diameter of frog hair, had a nice secure feel about it – not stiff and loaded with resin but also not blowing about off the spool whilst rigging up in an overly cluttered kayak. Knot tying was positive, with a variety of knots including double uni, slim beauty and FG all used to connect various leader configurations, with no unexpected breaks or pops while doing so. I didn’t have a single knot break in this line during the entire testing period – and that included a frantic 20-minute bite window where I committed a cardinal sin and connected a lure directly to the braid and continued to extract fiery EP from deep within the labyrinth of twisted timber and sharp rock. I’m blaming the near-absence of daylight and ‘misplaced’ spool of leader for my misdemeanour here.
Abrasion resistance around structure proved to be very good, even while being at the lighter end of the sheer pulling power rating. Being a 4-carrier line with larger thread ‘bundles’, this advantage is always present – but minus the heavy ‘ropey’ feel that many abrasion-resistant braids carry. For a 4-carrier braid this line feels very smooth and doesn’t carry the usual rough texture. The SI treatment Tokuryo use on the line also provides the ‘slippery’ feel, which reduces friction across the guide train and naturally helps with both casting distance and accuracy.
The hi-vis colouration has held up during the entire time I’ve used it, with only a very small change in overall tone. Some coloured braids fade noticeably without even too much use, and so far the Finesse Game has held up strongly. The yellow colour was excellent in detecting both the subtle deep-water bites I received and the lure touchdown on the bottom – which is equally important in my eyes.
While I didn’t get as much testing done in the form of fishing results on the PE 1.5, I did use the line in the locations that I intended to. A handful of mediocre flathead on soft swimbaits intended for mulloway were all I could muster – most certainly not through fault of the line and barely a test for it. The PE 1.5 size was ideal on the 2000-sized baitcaster, and cast and fished exactly as I’d expected. The odd wind-assisted backlash was easily managed and pried free without any line damage.
Fishing as close to oyster-encrusted rock bars as I could in the hope of a mulloway met with no line damage either, and super-slow retrieves right among the nasty terrain were taken in its stride. A solid clunk from the resident mulloway would’ve only added to the success of using this line, and all in all both lines performed exceedingly well given they aren’t marketed as the most expensive and illustrious options on the line wall.
The Finesse Game x4 is available in sizes from PE 0.3 through to PE 2.5 in 150m lengths and PE 2.5 to PE 8.0 in 300m spools, with a choice of hi-vis yellow, dark green or pink.