Words & Images: Lee Rayner
The new X Braid Olltolos Zone Finesse from world-renowned manufacturer YGK is just one of many braids in a range that covers specific forms of angling, from jigging to casting in various forms.
YGK is no newcomer to the braid market and, in fact, has been around for many years producing some of the more high-end products available. Olltolos, however, is designed as a finesse all-round casting braid that is sure to find a strong following, as its design makes it the perfect choice for so many fishing situations. I was fortunate enough to get hold of a sample of the new X Braid a few months back to review for Hooked Up. The spool I tested was a 100m roll in 16lb and my initial reaction on opening the packet was how thin this braid was – sitting at 0.8mm in diameter, it felt more like 8-10lb. It’s dyed in a maroon colour, and I like the way it’s steered away from the standard greens and yellows of a lot of other braids, and still proved to be visible enough above the water.
I’ve got to be honest – over the years I haven’t usually been a fan of super-thin braids, often finding that the thin diameter is affected by wind and they just don’t hold up to abrasion and general wear and tear. Needless to say, the X Braid is a tightly woven braid that, while being soft, is not too limp so you know it will sit well on both spin and baitcast reels.
Initial use saw it on a 2500-sized spin reel and at no point did it feel too thick for the reel.
The line had no dramas throwing small plastics for estuary perch, which would normally be out of the question on braid with this sort of rating.
On the cast the X Braid shot very straight and wasn’t affected by a swirling wind that was making its way up the creek, but was still very supple lying on the water. At the other end of the scale, a trip chasing flathead saw the line put onto a baitcast reel and a 10-17lb rod to throw jerkbaits over sand flats. On the baitcaster, the line was incredible, offering amazing distance and feel that was second to none. Even beginning the retrieve after a long cast you could feel the first twitch of the lure as it started to work. For interest’s sake I had an identical outfit in the boat spooled with another quality 16lb braid. Throwing exactly the same lure on that outfit I was able to get the hard-body to swim about a foot deeper with the X Braid, and found I could work the lure with smaller twitches of the rod to get the same action.
Casting jerkbaits into the wind, the X Braid really stood out as it cut through the air without getting a big belly in it, which equated to longer casts and less effort.
To join leaders, I used an FG knot, which packed up neatly time and again, and it also tied a good surgeons knot. Even when joining to a 15lb leader the thin braid didn’t chop through, which can happen on some really fine braids.
Overall, I’d have to say the X Braid from YGK is definitely one of the nicest braids I’ve used and can’t wait to put it on a bunch of my reels in various sizes. By the time you’re reading this the crew at Blue Fish Imports – which is the agent for the braid – will have it in stores across the country.