FINS Windtamer Line
Stronger, better, more resistant - these are all adjectives that can be found on boxes of modern day braided fishing lines. Some boxes carry more specific claims. One line in particular making specific claims is Windtamer by FINS. Determined to find out if the box was full of promise or marketing adjectives I spooled up my workhorse inshore reel and set off to find out.
Before getting started, lets do a quick overview of what a superline is. I promise this to be as short and uncomplicated as I can make it. Most popular superlines start life as liquid polyethylene (PE) that is forced through fine jets called spinnerets. The jets of liquid polymer usually exit into cold air or liquid to solidify. The goal of this process is to create individual polymer chains that align in the fiber creating higher tensile strength. The final outcome is called Gel-Spun Polyethylene or GSP.
There are two major suppliers of GSP, Honeywell International, which makes Spectra and the Dutch State Mining Company, which makes Dyneema. The primary difference between Spectra and Dyneema lies in the relative size of the microfilaments that exist in the yarns. The very small filaments that make up Spectra are 3 times the size of the filaments in Dyneema. This means that even when you have the same size yarn of both fibers, the Spectra will have one-third the number of microfilaments as compared to the Dyneema. In layman terms Spectra yarn has a higher abrasion resistance and less fuzz when the line becomes worn.
To create the braided line for your reel most Superlines are 4 ends of yarns woven (braided) together. The relative tightness of the braid is determined by the number of times that the yarns cross over each other in the braid structure. Manufactures refer to the crossing of yarns in a braid structure as a PIC, and state this characteristic as PICS/INCH. A good braid will be woven tight enough to prevent dirt and debris from getting into the structure and to prevent fibers from snagging on obstacle-like branches. Fins PIC count varies between 17 and 24 PICS/In.
The braid process requires that the fibers be handled with care to prevent individual filaments from breaking and building up, creating little balls of fibers called slubs in the braiding business. It's also important that braids contain no splices if they are to be of consistent strength over the entire length of braid. Have you ever had a braided line break unexpectedly in the middle when you know the line hasn't been damaged? This will most likely be due to there being a splice in the braid, where one of the yarn ends is not a continuous piece. FINS lines are guaranteed to be without splices.
Now we have braided line, but not a finished product. This limp product has virtually no body, knot holding strength or cast ability. Early Superlines were often of this type of line with a little color added. In modern lines techniques are employed to add body, improve knot holding and cause colors to last. These techniques are tightly held secrets and set one line apart from another.
Windtamer by FINS is a 100% Spectra line that was designed for the rigors of light tackle inshore fishing. FINS claim it to be the strongest line relative to its diameter with a more compact round design. A recent review of 92 spools of line by Modern Fishing Magazine showed that Windtamer line 4 lb relative monofilament diameter broke at an average 18.8 lbs. The closest 4 lb line in second place was FINS Original PRT with a 15.78 average break strength. The closest non-FINS 4 lb line in their test was over 4 lbs weaker.
Does it work? Almost three months ago I spooled up a 2500 series reel with Windtamer 2lb diameter 8lb test line. With three other 2500 series reels seated on the same rod and spooled with three different competitive brands of line I got a good feel how the differing lines affects the cast. Subjectively speaking, Windtamer works and works well. Casts were more accurate with less arcing in a crosswind. Casting distances are about 10% further. The line has solid abrasion resistance.
Initially I encountered rather disappointing knot strength. The 2lb line is so thin that securing the leader became a very weak spot. Increasing the number of wraps in leader to main connection solved this problem. The line spooled up very well and had very few problems with wind knots or tip wraps. Sensitivity was on par with the other brands.
I used the line in a variety of angling situations from stalking tailing reds on open flats to casting deep into the mangroves for laid-up snook. After getting past the leader to main connection failures I found I was picking up the reel with FINS line more often.
To stress test FINS I spent two solid days casting live bait deep into all kinds of backcountry snags and overhangs. At the end of this torture test, FINS held up extremely well. Unfortunately this could not be said for one of my favorite lines that had a problem with the line getting worn. Towards the end of the day I got so tired of constantly retying my leader I finally put it down and stuck to the FINS spooled reel.
Windtamer has proven very popular with FINS Florida Pro-staffers fishing the Oberto Red Fish Cup. Four of the top 10 teams were using FINS Windtamer including Manny Perez and Paul Jueckstock, who won the Cup Championship. It has also won Best Line 2008 at the Australian Fishing Trade Association (AFTA) Australia’s version of our ICAST.
Final thoughts: FINS has made some specific claims regarding the Windtamer line. For anglers who target inshore species this would be a serious line to consider. I was very pleased with its performance and made it my go-to line for more situations than I expected. 2 lb line is a little too thin for general use in my opinion so 4 lb and higher would be my minimum suggestion. If you do decide to go with the 2 lb line, test your knots well.
FINS Windtamer is available from local tackle stores or online at http://www.buyfins.com. Windtamer come in diameters from 1 lb Mono Equivalent Diameter to 8 lb.