Braided lines and IGFA world records.
The International Game Fish Association, through their magazine International Angler, are constantly up-dating the fishing public on rules and requirements for claiming records through the Association. As part of this process, they answer questions posed by readers of their magazine. With the proliferation of braided lines in sport fishing, the following question is one which many anglers wonder about.
Q: I am planning to start targeting a few line class records and wanted to make sure I have all of my "ducks in a row" before hitting the water. I currently have my reels spooled with different sizes of braided line because I like the extra sensitivity and feel it provides. Is it IGFA legal to use braided line, spectra, or multifilament line for World Record catches? I know it usually breaks higher than what is advertised on the spool, but do you have any specific advice?
A: According to IGFA rules, it is perfectly legal to use braided line, spectra, and multifilament lines. The only type of mainline prohibited by the IGFA is wire line (leadcore line is legal by IGFA rules).
That being said, there are some very important things anglers should know about what are commonly referred to as "super braids". Primarily, it is important to know that many super-braids will actually break higher than the manufacturer's advertised breaking strength, which has unfortunately led to a few records being rejected. To avoid having line over-test the targeting line class category, anglers have started to use a smaller/lighter braid, predicting that it will break in the higher line class (e.g., using a 301b super-braid line for the 501b IGFA line class category). And while many anglers have success with this technique there have been occasions where the line has actually tested at or near the manufacturer's stated strength, and the record was rejected because the fish was not heavy enough for that line class. IGFA rules permit an angler's record to be "bumped up" into a higher line class if the line over-tests and the incoming record is heavy enough to replace the existing record in the higher line class. However, the IGFA does not remove records to a lower line class category, should the line "under-test" the targeted line class. This rule exists to prevent anglers from "line class shopping", where the angler arbitrarily chooses the line class depending on the size of fish landed. In summary, anglers are welcome to down size their line to break within the limits of the targeted line class. However, the IGFA will not show special consideration for records in which braided line breaks lower than the angler anticipated.