The reviewer was impressed by the performance of the XBraid Upgrade X8 Pentagram, especially when it came to casting distance and sink rate.
I am not one to get too tied up in line technicalities, I just know what I like. When Conaghans NZ first showed me the YGK Co., Ltd Japanese braid they were intending to import, I was immediately struck by its minimal diameter for the stated line strength, and its lack of any memory.
A 300m spool of upgraded XBraid Pentagram X 8 #1.2 25lb arrived. Because of its higher breaking point I chose my heaviest softbaiting outfit, a 6-10kg, custom-built, two-piece Rodworks Offshore rod matched to a Shimano Twin Power 4000XD reel. This rig is normally reserved for deepwater fishing – 50-80 metres and deeper – where I might expect to encounter bigger snapper and the occasional kingfish. My best kingfish on it was a softbaiting PB of over 19kg.
The XBraid Pentagram line is particularly light and exceptionally thin when compared with the other top brands I regularly load up with, so my first concern was ‘will 300m fill the spool?’ Yes, it will, perfectly, when loaded under consistent tension with a spooling machine, leaving enough space for a few turns of the leader. I joined 25lb leader to the mainline via an FG knot, adding a few extra twists given how thin and slippery – read smooth – the line is. Stressing the join by hand there were no slippage issues.
Heading out from Mangawhai to some marks beyond Sail Rock in 60-70 metres, I flicked the first cast out – a seven-inch tail on a 1oz jighead. Bloody hell, I didn’t think the cast was ever going to touch down and I hadn’t even being trying for length! The speed with which the lure dropped to the bottom was impressive, the line drag minimal. Both the first and subsequent fish were small snapper.
Moving away from the smaller schoolies, we fished a couple more patches of deep foul for little reward and while heading between the Hen and Chicks the sounder blanked out with a huge school of mackerel, beneath which were the telltale eyebrows indicating snapper. It was not long before we had a couple of 55cm models on ice. They say you should never leave fish to find fish, but on this occasion we got out of jail. Targeting a good area of rock between Bream Head and the Chicks, we found more solid snapper sign which we converted into fillets.
A few days later we made the most of a short weather window, heading shallower in Bream Bay to a small patch of rubble off Uretiti Beach where we ended with a similar result fish-wise. This time the Twin Power was matched to a Shimano Lumanis 576M rod, rated for .8-2.0PE line, and I was casting 5/8th-ounce jigs and the same seven-inch tails into 22 metres of water. While there was not the great lure hang time that can sometimes be an advantage when targeting midwater snapper, the line offered a delicate, direct touch, laying very straight between the lure and rod tip. Some days the bite can be soft and this was one of those occasions. The directness of the line allowed good bite detection, giving me the advantage over my crew this time around – it doesn’t always happen that way!
Over two days’ fishing there was never a hint of a wind knot, even when casting jigheads as light as 3/8ths of an ounce tied to 25lb fluoro leader.
While I can comment on the line’s castability and feel, I have not fished it in over shallow, rocky territory where its thinness may result in a lower abrasion resistance. A big test would be fishing the wash. What I do know is at the end of day one I discovered a failure in the rod’s second stripping guide where there was quite a significant chunk of the insert missing. Checking the first 50 or so metres of line, I didn’t detect any damage which was a good thing.

70 years of history

YGK Co., Ltd was established in 1989, although had its roots in line manufacture dating back to 1945. In the era when yarns changed from nylon monofilaments and polyester fishing braids to PE lines, Yotsuami Tsuri developed numerous string-making methods in 2005 that are the basis of the patented WX method used today.
Almost all lines called PE lines are woven by a string-making method called square striking. The yarn is wound around the bobbin, which rotates clockwise and counterclockwise, where it is pulled out little by little and knitted while crossing each other to form a single line. However, conventional string-making machines did not have a mechanism to achieve this accurately. YGK developed the world’s largest line manufacturing factory, and currently has seven factories in operation.
While it is less important for a casting braid, the XBraid Pentagram X8 line is multicoloured, marked every 10 metres with a change in hue. This is ideal when fishing hard-bodied lures on a jig outfit. It enables the angler to accurately place the lure in front of the fish on the sounder by counting off the colours as the line leaves the spool.
The XBraid Pentagram is just one of two braid options Conaghans NZ are importing; the other is the XBraid Full Drag which will be reviewed in a future issue.
I rate this line highly and will watch with interest how it stands up to a summer of fishing over a wide range of situations – deep, shallow, foul ground and sand.
Grant Dixon