Words & Images: Kosta Linardos
This is the second line we’ve had in for review from Tokuryo. For those who have missed any of the editorial we’ve done on this brand, which is new to Australia, I’ll give you a little rundown. Tokuryo is a brand out of Taiwan making premium braids and it has been doing it for over 30 years, producing a series of braid, monofilament and fluorocarbon leaders.
To give you some insight on Taiwan-made tackle, think of it as the next-closest country to Japan when it comes to the production of fishing gear. It has outstanding designers and manufacturing facilities, so don’t confuse Taiwanese product with cheap Chinese product; there is a big difference and, in the case of Tokuryo, you’re getting a Japanese-quality product at a much lower price.
I’ve so far been very impressed with Tokuryo and was keen to check out its latest offering, Monster Pro. It’s an 8-strand braid finished in a light-green colour that uses 100 per cent Japanese ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) as its raw material (this is the good stuff), which should ensure you have a braid with great abrasion resistance and longevity. Braids made with cheaper materials can often start to unravel or fail over time with UV and salt exposure. It’s available in spools of 150 and 300m in P1, 1.5, 2, 3 and 6.
We were given the PE1.5, which has a breaking strain of 25lb/11.4kg and a diameter of 0.16mm. I love that the packet doesn’t lie or have any bold claims about the details – a PE1.5 breaking at 11.4kg seems pretty realistic. There have been many braids from big companies in recent times that have had to recall or place stickers on packets as they overstated breaking strain.
I spooled the Monster 8 on a Shimano Vanford 4000 with the idea of targeting snapper on plastics. After a few casts I could instantly feel this was a no-fuss, well-balanced and user-friendly braid. It’s not too thin or supple, so it isn’t prone to wind knots as it doesn’t fold over itself. It isn’t silky smooth but it’s certainly not ropey or loud through the guides or line roller. It’s braided beautifully and the green colour is deep and dyed well; it’s visible and will look cool on any reel. It’s a braid that feels tough and abrasion-resistant and would be perfect for jigging or casting at structure for barra and Murray cod as it’s well suited to baitcast outfits.
I didn’t have a heap of time to spend using the braid before the review was due but with a name like Monster 8, I needed a decent fish to properly assess it. So, after an hour of casting plastics with only a few little pinkies I went inshore to catch a few squid; the Monster 8 was overkill for squid but performed without fault. I then headed back out where I marked some decent snapper and dropped down a strip of squid with a small sinker on a single hook and, after losing my bait to more pinkies, managed to land a decent snapper of around 3.5kg. Sensitivity and bite detection are outstanding and the Monster 8 has that perfect mix of supple and stiff – it casts and retrieves without issue.
The sun was up by this stage so I headed back to the ramp to pick up my son, who doesn’t love the pre-dawn wake-ups to take him out for the day. The bonus was he could get a decent image of me with my snapper, which he did a pretty good job of for a young kid. As you can imagine for a 7-year-old, he is interested only in catching, not fishing, so species such as squid and salmon are his favourites as they mean constant action. After we got quite a few squid I took him to an inshore reef to get a feed of leatherjacket. I handed him the rod with the Monster 8 and he had a ball catching multiple leatherjacket, big wrasse and a big stingray that we never saw. The fact that a 7-year-old could catch well over 25 fish with minimal help from me on a reef in a frenetic bite was great testament not only to the Monster 8’s abrasion resistance, but also how user-friendly it is.
This is a braid I’d recommend not only to keen cod, yella and barra anglers with baitcast outfits fishing timber and structure, but also anglers newer to braid or frustrated by wind knots. Monster 8 has a lot going for it – Japanese quality, ultra-tough, ease of use and at a price that’s affordable for keen anglers.