If you have fished for any length of time then no doubt you will know just how important a fishing line is. Fishing lines need to be made with the utmost in strength to ensure that you get the best out of them and you get a great return on your investment. Monofilaments are by far the most common fishing line and the main fabric used. It’s estimated that a single monofilament fiber can last between seven and ten years, whilst a braided line is usually known to last around five to ten years. These are made from pure cotton and will tend to last much longer than other types of fishing lines. These lines tend to come in two different thicknesses, which is dependent on how much activity the fisher does and also what part of the world they live in
The next question you might ask is, “How long does fishing line last?”. There’s no point worrying about this if you’re not going to use it regularly, however there are other things to consider too. If you use a spinning reel, then the spool tends to form at the centre of the boat. This means that over the years the spool may become loose. A simple repair can be all that’s required but if it’s a one piece reel you could find that the damage to the spool would render it useless.
But is that necessary? Your rod seems to be in good shape, you’ve still got a nice collection of lures and hooks… but what about your line? Is it safe to use after months in storage, or are you at risk of losing your first big catch of the year?
This question, like many, depends on many factors.
The first is what kind of line you put into storage at the end of last season. If you’re a fan of braid, you should be good to go. Braided line, when treated properly, can be used in the water for years.
Monofilament and fluorocarbon do, however, come with what you might call a “shelf life.” Like meat and produce, even if you put it in the refrigerator, these lines will eventually go bad, even if they haven’t been taken out of the packaging.
Granted, “eventually” takes a lot longer than with groceries. There is no official answer for the life of these products, but we’ve compared estimates from various fishing publications and have gathered that monofilament has an average shelf life of seven to ten years, while fluorocarbon lines can last up to seven or eight years without losing its edge.
These are under ideal conditions, however.
Once you take the line out of its packaging and put it to use, other factors must be taken into consideration. For example, if you have already used the line during the previous year, you should take time to examine it for nicks and imperfections before using it on another run. Even if things looked great at the end of the Fall fishing season, check again. Just like a small crack in a windshield, tiny nicks that were imperceivable before can expand dramatically over time.
Another issue, impacting monofilament in particular, is line memory. After spending several months in one position, lines can begin to stick in one shape. You’ll notice a telltale curl in your line if this is the case.
But what if you bought a new spool last year and never opened it? Consider how it was stored before jumping to conclusions. Sunlight and high temperatures can dramatically weaken these lines, and the most popular places to store fishing gear are often the most problematic. Garages can endure Summer temperatures much higher than air-conditioned homes, while basement storage rooms also tend to host furnaces, making them warmer during the Winter. Keep this in mind when stashing your gear!
Is there a solution for keeping line safe from high temperatures?
One simple idea is to store line away from the rest of your fishing gear in a more temperate part of the home. We may have been onto something when we alluded to refrigerating produce; you can do the same with your fishing line! It sounds like a joke, but refrigeration protects lines from both heat and humidity.
It’s easy to diagnose overexposure to sunlight, at least on monofilament lines. Even on “clear” variations of this line, you’ll be able to spot faded patches where UV rays have sunbleached the line.
Take the time to review your equipment before going fishing for the first time this year, so you won’t spend the rest of the season regretting the one that got away!