Line Ratings - True or False

by Gus Mansour

More of a query than anything else. Are we all using line that is too strong for our rods?

I was reading about Honryu fishing on a Japanese website, Google translate is wonderful if eccentric, and came across a conversion formula from Line size to lbs breaking strain. They were of the opinion that the correct strength could be calculated by multiplying the Japanese size by 4. So a rod rated for a number 1 line was suitable for 4lb test tippet.

By diameter a Japanese number 1 is 4x but you would be hard pressed to find 4x that was only 4lb test in Europe or the US. Chris seems to agree with the strength conversion as he wrote on the Kyogi page that the 3 line rating meant it could cope with a maximum of 12lb line.
Esoteric tackle over here sells the Fujino Turbo tippet in size 1.2 – the maximum for most tenkara rods and they give a breaking strain of around 4.5lb.

So again are we all using line that is too strong for our rods? More importantly, am I going to break my beloved Soyakaze by using 3 lb tippet instead of the (roughly) 2 lb 7oz that a .6 rating should convert to.
At this point I wish I could afford to buy a whole bunch of rods and actually test how much pressure they took before they failed.

Personally, I would appreciate standardised strength ratings for JP and x sizes. There is a very wide variation in the actual specifications of tippet. 5X should be 0.8JP or 0.148mm. I have seen tippet rated 5X with claimed diameters ranging from 0.14 – 0.17 and strengths from 2lb to just over 6lbs. I definitely feel that manufacturers of fixed line rods should list the rods capability based on line strength rather than diameter.

Thoughts anyone?

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