Will, I needed some new tippet. So decided to give Maxcatch Phantom a try. I was interested to see how it compares with the much more established brands.
Maxcatch is usually only sold online, through marketplaces such as Amazon. It retails at about a quarter the price of the main brands of tippet material. Lets see if it is any good.
My first impressions. The quality of the line spool is not that great, they were slightly distorted so they will not securely click into place. I have never experienced anything similar with other brands. By, the looks of things the spools are made from very cheap plastic, and I suspect it will become brittle quickly from UV exposure. I certainly will be storing them away when not in use.
The pack of 5 spools I ordered included a tippet holder. The holder itself is functional, but basic and feels cheap, especially when compared against the more premium ones from fishpond. It is certainly a case of you get what you paid for in this regard.
But, how does the tippet itself compare? Well, it is fine at first look. It ties knots and presents well. But I am going to test it even further, to see how well it really does against its main competitors.
How strong is Maxcatch Phantom Tippet?
While I figure out a more accurate test, I lack sophisticated line breaking strain testing equipment. So to test the line I decided to see how much weight it can lift before snapping.
I started by testing Maxcatch 6X, which is rated for 2.65lb or 1.2kg. I tested several different sections and the average breaking point was just under1.3kg. So quite close to what is was rated at, although one section did break at just under 1.2kg. So the 2.65lb rated breaking strain does seem to be quite accurate.
As a control, I tested it beside some Rio Powerflex 6X. I can not measure diameter, but according to the label they both should be the same diameter. The Rio powerflex broke at 1.4kg. Which is just about 4lb. So while the Maxcatch Phantom tippet breaks close to its rated amount, the Powerflex broke above it. The Rio Powerflex is a stronger line.
Memory and presentation.
I was quite impressed. Unlike other budget brand nylons I have tried, Max Catch Phantom feels quite supple and soft. This inherent softness, reduces the impact of memory on the line.
This in turn, reduces the chance of wind knots and other tangles forming. This is quite a subjective assessment, but I feel it is slightly softer than Rio Powerflex.
I have no complaints how it handles and I could present flies accurately and predictably. The inherent softness allowed flies to drift more naturally in difficult currents.
For casting heavier, or denser flies. I probably will favor a stiffer monofilament which will be better able to transfer power along the line. But for casting small dry flies or unweighted nymphs I have no complaints.
Basically, it is possible to purchase four spools of Maxcatch Phantom, for the price of a single spool of premium tippet material. Although, I could not find a price for buying Maxcatch spools individually only as a set.
At the moment it is possible to buy a set of four spools, each containing 55 yards of line for under $10. It also comes with a functional, if somewhat ‘cheap’ feeling tippet holder.
A comparable dispenser of Rio Powerflex retails for around $36. It does come with 5, rather than 4 sizes of tippet. But each spool only holds 30 yards of line, so just over half the capacity of Maxcatch. The fishpond tippet holder which comes with the Rio package is also much higher quality.
So, I think there is no denying that Maxcatch provides a lot more tippet for the money but Rio does offer a slightly better quality product.
Well, I was impressed with Maxcatch Phantom line, it is nice and supple and good for delicate presentations of lighter flies. It is also excellent value.
It is slightly weaker than Rio Powerflex, but it is only a quarter of the cost.
I do have a couple of complaints, it is only possible to purchase it as a set of 4 or 5 spools at a time. I always use the same breaking strains faster than others, so currently it is not possible just to replace the size I need. Although, I probably will just buy a spool of premium tippet to use instead whenever I run out of one size.
Also, the quality of the spools themselves is a bit disappointing. I could not click all of them together for easier storage.
So in conclusion it is a good, affordable way to purchase a selection of tippet materials.