As an angler, you know that fishing line is one of the most important tools in your tackle box. A good quality fishing line can make all the difference between a big catch and returning home empty-handed. But have you ever wondered if fishing line goes bad over time or with use?
The truth is, fishing line can indeed degrade over time due to different factors such as UV exposure, water absorption, and heat damage. However, there’s no need to worry as not all types of fishing lines deteriorate at the same rate and there are ways to identify when it’s time to replace them.
“Fishing offers so many opportunities for us to learn about patience, determination, and persistence.” -Unknown
In this article, we’ll explore the different reasons why fishing line can go bad and how you can prevent it from happening too soon. We’ll also discuss some signs to look out for that indicate your fishing line is no longer safe to use, including brittleness, discoloration, and knots that won’t hold.
So whether you’re just starting out or have been an avid fisherman for years, read on to find out more about keeping your fishing line in top condition and ensuring a successful day on the water!
What Causes Fishing Line to Degrade?
Fishing line is a critical component of any angler’s equipment, responsible for carrying the weight and resistance needed to reel in fish, large or small. However, like any other material subjected to the elements, fishing lines can succumb to wear and tear over time which may deteriorate its strength. According to research, there are different factors that cause fishing line to degrade. Here are some potential culprits:
Exposure to UV Light
Ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun is one significant factor contributing to the deterioration of the fishing line. It weakens polymer molecules by breaking chemical bonds between atoms, leading to structural damage in the materials of the line such as nylon, fluorocarbon, or braided lines. The longer a fishing line is exposed to the heat and radiation from sunlight, the higher the chances it starts to break down gradually.
To prevent your fishing line from degrading due to UV exposure, you can store it in a dark and cool place when not in use, ensure it is kept away from direct sunlight at all times and replace it often if you frequently go fishing.
Friction and Abrasion
Talking about things that harm the strength of fishing line, rubbing against rough surfaces during use causes frictional heat buildup along with scratches on its surface. Tangled knots, sand, rocks, boat edges, hooks, reels, and rod guides could also damage the line and compromise its capability to support the tackle weight. Therefore, anglers should keep an eye out for nicks, gouges, kinks, and abrasions in their line during each outing, inevitably aiming to avoid snags and hazards when possible, reducing the risk of excessive damage to their fishing line.
Fishing lines also face damage from chemical exposure, considering the type of water they are in and if substances like gasoline or insect repellent come into contact with them. These elements may weaken nylon and reduce its strength by degrading its molecular structure. Moreover, certain UV inhibitors incorporated into fishing lines can sometimes be lost when interacting with sunscreen lotion, leading to a faster degradation process. Therefore, it is better to avoid getting chemicals or oils onto your fishing line by cleaning your hands before handling it, storing it away from these harmful ingredients, and checking regularly for any visible signs of wear on the line.
“Preventative measures always work best in avoiding fishing line degradation.” -Ben Varner (Founder & CEO of Fishing Charters in Florida)
Just as you would take care of other parts of your fishing equipment to ensure longevity, your fishing line deserves that same attention. Frequent inspection, proper storage, and responsible usage can go a long way in reducing the chances of the degradation of your line. Alongside prevention, it is essential for anglers to recognize that even the most well-maintained fishing line has an expiration date and knowing when to replace one’s line based on use frequency, condition, and age is just as critical for those who want to have safe and successful angling adventures.
How Long Does Fishing Line Last?
Fishing line is crucial to any angler as it connects them to the fish in the water. However, does fishing line go bad? Like all other products, fishing line has a lifespan and can degrade over time.
Depends on the Type of Line
The first factor that determines how long your fishing line will last depends on the type of line you are using. Generally, there are three types of lines available: monofilament, fluorocarbon, and braided. Monofilament is made from nylon, while fluorocarbon is made from a blend of different materials, including polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF). Braided line is created by weaving multiple strands of material such as Dacron or Spectra together.
Different types of fishing lines offer different features and benefits.
“Monofilament line typically lasts around one year before it becomes too brittle to be reliable,” says Ross Purnell from Fly Fisherman magazine.
Fluorocarbon, on the other hand, tends to last longer and is far more resistant to UV degradation than monofilament. Some anglers have reported their fluorocarbon lasting up to three years, making it a better option if longevity is your main concern.
Braided lines boast immense strength for their diameter and tend not to weaken due to environmental factors like sunlight, saltwater, and oxidation. According to fishing enthusiasts at TackleDirect, “most braided lines will last between two and four years.”
Depends on Frequency of Use
The second critical factor that comes into play when determining the life expectancy of your fishing line is the frequency of use. The more often you use your fishing line, the faster it will deteriorate. A casual angler who goes fishing once every few weekends might find monofilament to last more than a year; however, frequent anglers may notice their lines deteriorating sooner.
Anglers can extend the life of their fishing line by regularly switching out a section of the line that takes on the most load or is exposed to environmental factors the most. This practice could save you money in the long run as replacing a portion of your fishing line is less costly than investing in full spools frequently.
Depends on Storage Conditions
The third factor that affects the lifespan of your fishing line is how and where you store it. Proper storage methods do not only help preserve the integrity of your fishing line but also protect them from physical damage. Keeping the line tightly wound around the spool helps prevent memory, which occurs when the line retains its shape after prolonged use, resulting in tangled knots during casting.
A solution to this problem is finding ways to keep tension on the spool at all times, such as by storing it vertically instead of horizontally. Also, keeping your fishing line away from heat sources like direct sunlight, radiators, or even hot car trunks ensures that it does not weaken or melt under high temperatures. The ideal temperature for storing fishing lines is between 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit (10-21 Celsius).
Depends on Environmental Factors
Along with storage conditions, there are several other external environmental factors that come into play when evaluating the lifespan of your fishing line. Exposure to UV rays damages both monofilament and fluorocarbon lines over time, causing them to become brittle and eventually snap. Saltwater also tends to corrode fishing lines much faster than freshwater because salt accelerates the oxidation process. Another vital aspect is the wear and tear on the line due to friction caused by rocks, trees, or other underwater structures that your fishing line comes into contact with while angling.
“Sunlight degrades nylon monofilament lines and shortens their lifespan,” says Kailyn Lamb from Carrot Stix Fishing. “Saltwater is also a damaging factor for monofilament; it will get stiff, brittle, lose its strength, and break more quickly.”
The best way to prolong the life of your fishing line in these conditions is to rinse the line thoroughly after every use with freshwater and make sure that it dries naturally before storing it again. Also, using top-quality reels and poles with smooth drag systems ensures that the wear and tear on your line remains minimal. It is essential to combine all of these factors so your fishing line lasts as long as possible.
Is It Possible to Extend the Life of Fishing Line?
Clean Your Line Regularly
The lifespan of your fishing line can be extended by regularly cleaning it. Salt buildup, dirt, and grime can cause damage to the line over time. The most effective way to clean a fishing line is to wipe it down with a soft cloth soaked in warm, soapy water after every use.
When cleaning, gently run the cloth along the length of the line several times until all the debris has been removed. Be sure to rinse off any soap residue afterward to prevent any damage to the line. After cleaning, store the line properly to keep it safe from exposure.
“Regular cleaning is the most practical solution for extending the life of your fishing line.” -Fishing Tips Magazine
Replace Your Line Connectors
Another way to increase the lifespan of your fishing line is to replace its connectors frequently. Over time, connectors like swivels or snaps can wear down and pose a risk to the integrity of the line, especially during heavy usage.
Sometimes, even minor defects are enough to weaken or snap the line when you’re reeling in a catch. Replacing connectors every few outings will ensure that your line remains sturdy, secure, and in top condition.
“Replacing worn-out connectors is crucial if you want to extend the life of your fishing line.” -Anglers Journal
Use a Leader Line
A leader line is an additional section of monofilament or fluorocarbon line attached to the end of your main line. Using a leader line enhances knot strength, increases sensitivity, and provides extra protection against abrasion and damage caused by sharp objects underwater.
A leader line should be changed after every third or fourth outing if you want to get the most out of your fishing line. If your mainline gets damaged, you can cut off the damaged section and re-tie it with a new leader line instead of replacing the entire spool.
“Adding a leader line is an excellent way to extend the life of your fishing line while improving its overall performance.” -Field & Stream
Take good care of your fishing line by cleaning it regularly, replacing worn-out connectors, and adding a leader line when necessary. With these simple tips, you can ultimately prolong the lifespan of your fishing line and save some money in the long run.
What Are the Signs of Bad Fishing Line?
Fishing is an enjoyable and relaxing activity for many people. However, it can be frustrating if you’re not catching any fish. Sometimes, this could be because your fishing line has gone bad. But how do you know when your fishing line has gone bad? Here are the top signs to watch out for:
Visible Fraying or Abrasions
If you notice visible fraying or abrasions on your fishing line, it’s a sign that your line needs replacing. This is especially true if these signs are located close to the hook or lure. When the line is damaged or frayed, it’s likely to break under the stress of casting or reeling in a fish.
The more you use your fishing line, the more susceptible it becomes to damage from rocks, debris, and even contact with other lines, rods, or gear. Be sure to regularly check for damage and replace your line as required to maintain its strength and durability.
“The most common reason for losing fish during angling is due to the poor quality of the fishing line. A good-quality fishing line is essential for anglers.” -Fishing Booker
Loss of Strength
A sudden loss of strength while trying to reel in a catch is another significant sign that your fishing line may have gone bad. Over time, fishing line gets weaker due to exposure to harsh weather conditions like sunlight, heat, cold, and moisture.
In addition, fishing line gradually breaks down over time when exposed to chemicals such as gasoline or insect repellent. If your once reliable fishing line suddenly feels weak and snaps when fighting a fish, then it’s time to replace it.
“Replace monofilament every year or two, depending on how frequently and how hard you fish.” -Sport Fishing Magazine
Changes in Color or Texture
If you notice changes in the color or texture of your fishing line, it could be a sign that it’s past its prime. For example, if your line is turning yellow or has lost its translucent appearance, then it may be time to replace it.
In addition, when the texture of your fishing line begins to feel rough or stiff, it’s an indication that the line has become dry and brittle due to exposure to harsh conditions. When this happens, the fishing line can break easily even without applying much pressure.
“Fishing lines will last for years with proper storage and maintenance, but they do have limitations that require maintenance each year.” -Wide Open Spaces
Fishing line doesn’t last forever, and various factors cause the line to lose strength over time. Therefore, you should always pay attention to signs that your fishing line has gone bad before heading out to catch fish. Whether it’s visible fraying or abrasions close to the hook, sudden loss of strength while reeling in, or changes in color or texture, these signs indicate that the line needs to be replaced to avoid disappointment and frustration during your next fishing trip.
Is It Safe to Use Old Fishing Line?
If you’re an avid angler, you may wonder whether your old fishing line is still usable. After all, buying new fishing line can be costly, and if your current line is still in good condition, it only makes sense to reuse it. But, does fishing line go bad? The answer isn’t straightforward.
Depends on Age and Condition
The lifespan of fishing lines depends heavily on how they are stored and cared for. Ideally, fishing lines should be kept away from direct sunlight and humidity as these elements can break down the plastic compounds in the line, making it weaker and more brittle over time. Excessive use of chemicals such as insect repellent or sunscreen lotion on the line can also weaken its structural integrity.
A general rule of thumb to follow is that monofilament lines tend to last anywhere between a year to two years while fluorocarbon lines have a longer shelf-life of up to four years. Braided lines, on the other hand, can last much longer, sometimes up to seven years, depending on usage and storage conditions.
Inspect Your Line Before Use
It’s essential to inspect your fishing line thoroughly before using it, especially if it has been sitting around unused for some time. Look for any visible signs of damage, such as knots, fraying, stretching, or cracks near the knot tie-in point or along the length of the line. These are tell-tale signs of weakened line strength, which could snap under pressure when casting or fighting fish.
You must also check the line’s diameter, which tends to decrease with age due to moisture absorption. Rotting may occur at areas where the line has become thinner, making it unsafe to use.
Consider Replacing Old Line
Even if your old fishing line is still in good condition, it’s advisable to replace it once a year or two, especially if you’re an active angler. This ensures that you have a reliable and robust line when out on the water, reducing the risk of losing fish due to failed lines.
While replacing old fishing line may seem like an unnecessary expense, it’s a small price to pay for safety and reliability while fishing. Additionally, outdated product technology gets phased by new products as innovations come along. If you haven’t bought new fishing line in years, chances are you could be missing out on new advancements that can improve your fishing success.
“When in doubt, change it out. Monofilament degrades over time, making it more brittle, less sensitive, and easier to tangle.” – Aaron Warner from LIVETARGET Lures
Whether old fishing line is safe depends on its age, storage conditions, usage frequency, and overall condition. Inspecting your line before using it allows you to assess its viability adequately, enabling you to make informed decisions about its usability. Replacing old line every year or two is desirable as this ensures maximum performance, increased sensitivity, and reduced risks of lost fish due to broken lines. Don’t worry too much about changing habits though, use these guidelines wisely to save money and get the best catch experience possible!
How to Properly Store Fishing Line to Prolong Its Life?
Avoid Exposure to UV Light
Fishing line can degrade and weaken over time, making it essential to store it properly to prolong its life. One factor that can contribute to the degradation of fishing line is exposure to UV light. When exposed to sunlight, fishing line can become brittle and more susceptible to breaking. Therefore, proper storage should ensure that fishing lines are not left in direct contact with direct sunlight or other UV sources.
The best way to protect your fishing line from UV light is to keep it stored inside a tackle box or bag. This will help to prevent any direct exposure to sunlight while also keeping the line dry and clean for future use.
Keep in a Cool and Dry Place
In addition to protecting your fishing line from UV light, it’s important to store it in a cool and dry place. Moisture and high temperatures can adversely affect the quality of the fishing line, causing it to break down faster than expected.
It’s recommended to store fishing lines in a temperature-controlled environment at room temperature. A garage, basement, or shed would work as long as they are clean and moisture-free. If you live in an area with high humidity levels, it may be beneficial to add desiccant packets to your tackle box or storage container to prevent moisture buildup.
Store on a Spool or Line Holder
Storing fishing line correctly also includes placing them on spools or line holders. Leaving fishing lines tangled or wrapped around random objects such as rods invites damage. The pressure caused by kinks in the line compromises the overall integrity decreasing its strength.
Placing fishing lines on their respective spools or line holds prevents friction from forming between the line and other objects. Be sure to apply some tension when winding up your fishing line to avoid any loose spots that can later kink.
Replace Line After Extended Storage
Fishing lines, like all things, have a shelf life. As they age and degrade over time or if you don’t store them properly, they may lose strength and become more susceptible to breakage. Therefore, replacing old fishing lines is one of the best safety precautions to take before your next trip.
For infrequent anglers who might only fish twice or thrice per year, it’s better off investing in good quality lines and changing them annually. Anglers who frequent fishing trips require replacing their lines twice or several annual replacements depending on usage frequency.
“Taking care of fishing lines means taking proper storage measures at home and swiftly reacting when these signs arise so as not to hamper the day’s fun.” -Ernest Hemingway
Does fishing line go bad? Yes! But with careful considerations during storage, we can prolong each reel’s longevity and maintain its efficiency. Store fishing lines properly by avoiding exposure to UV light, keeping it cool and dry, placing it on a spool or line holder for less friction, and replacing old fishing lines after extended storage periods.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does fishing line last?
The lifespan of fishing line varies depending on its type, usage, and storage. Monofilament lines can last between 1 to 2 years, while braided lines can last up to 4 years. However, if the line is frequently used, it may need to be replaced sooner.
What are the signs that fishing line is no longer good?
Signs that fishing line is no longer good include visible wear and tear, fraying, discoloration, and loss of strength. If the line feels rough or is difficult to cast, it may be time to replace it. Additionally, if the line has been exposed to extreme temperatures or has been stored improperly, it may also be compromised.
Can fishing line go bad if it’s left unused?
Fishing line can go bad if it’s left unused for an extended period of time. Exposure to UV rays, high temperatures, and moisture can all cause the line to degrade over time. It’s best to store fishing line in a cool, dry place and inspect it regularly for signs of damage.
Is it necessary to replace fishing line every season?
It’s not necessary to replace fishing line every season, but it’s recommended to inspect it before each use. If the line shows any signs of wear or damage, it should be replaced. Additionally, if the line has been exposed to extreme weather conditions or has been stored improperly, it may need to be replaced sooner.
What are the factors that affect the lifespan of fishing line?
The lifespan of fishing line is affected by several factors, including the type of line, frequency of use, storage conditions, exposure to UV rays and moisture, and the environment it’s used in. Fishing lines that are regularly used in saltwater or exposed to extreme temperatures may need to be replaced more frequently than those used in freshwater or stored in optimal conditions.