Nothing comes close to that feeling you get when you finally hook that monster fish. Your victory without even realizing it, however, can end up being short-lived when your fishing line snaps.
Fishing lines just like everything else have an expiration date. If it’s been a while since you went fishing, then you need to check on the condition of your fishing line before you head out.
Failure to do so could mean losing your catch easily. Fishing lines are made of different materials which means that quality is vital.
You could have the most expensive fishing line, but if the quality is poor, then your catch is likely to escape.
One of the most commonly asked questions is how long a fishing line lasts before needing replacement. Let’s find out!
So, How Long Do Fishing Lines Last?
One of the most overlooked items is the fishing line. A majority of anglers tend to replace everything else from swivels, hooks, and rods and forget about the fishing line.
Ideally speaking it’s easy to spot wear and tear on most of the other gear but not the fishing line.
And that begs the question; how long do fishing lines last? There is no set time on how long your fishing line is supposed to serve you before you replace it.
All fishing lines will break down after some time especially if they haven’t used it in a while.
There are different factors that determine the lifespan of a fishing line from the material, the maintenance, how often it is used to what it is used for.
But what causes a fishing line to degrade over time? Water quality, abrasion, temperature changes, and UV damage all end up shortening the life span of your fishing line.
It would make a difference if the packaging has an expiration date so that you know when you need to replace your line. However, it’s never that easy and you have to rely on your instincts.
Fishing lines come in different types from braided, monofilament to fluorocarbon which affects the life span.
Generally, braided fishing lines are of a higher quality and therefore can go for years (2-4 years) without needing replacement.
Fluorocarbon and monofilament lines have a shorter lifespan. For instance, monofilament lines depending on usage might need to be replaced every year while fluorocarbon lines can go for a year or two before requiring replacement.
Material aside, unused lines if not stored properly will not perform at peak performance.
The rule of thumb is; if you can’t recall the last time you replaced your line, then you are better off doing so before you go for your next fishing trip.
Even if you are not going fishing, you need to always check if your fishing line has wear and tear rather than waiting to do so when you are about to head out.
Types of Fishing Lines and Their Shelf Life
The main factor that affects the shelf life of a fishing line is the material it is made of.
Monofilament, fluorocarbon, and braided fishing lines exist and they come with different shelf life.
These are the most common types of fishing lines. Made of nylon and synthetic fiber, monofilament fishing lines comprise of one long and continuous cord.
Since such fishing lines are made of a single strand of material, they are capable of stretching when they are pulled.
Such lines also break easily when exposed to sunlight and heat. They are also capable of absorbing water, which is one of the factors that cause fishing lines to degrade.
The rate of degradation increases when such lines are used in saltwater. Monofilament fishing lines have the shortest life span and may need to be replaced after a year or so.
Fluorocarbon fishing lines are made of Fluoropolymer which is a type of plastic.
However, unlike monofilaments lines, these ones do not degrade as fast and come with a whole set of properties.
For instance, such fishing lines are not affected by sunlight or heat and they also don’t absorb water.
The lines, however, don’t stretch when there is a load which causes the ‘necking’ effect.
Necking occurs when a heavy load causes the material to stretch. It the same effect that causes a rubber band to stretch when pulled.
With time, the rubber band becomes thinner and eventually snaps and it’s the same thing with fluorocarbon fishing lines.
Once the fishing line starts necking, the material becomes weaker, especially where there are scratches or other kinds of damage.
Braided fishing lines are made of multiple strands that are woven together creating a strong fishing line.
Braided lines are constructed from manmade fibers that create the fabric feel.
Such lines can hold a lot of weight compared to monofilament and fluorocarbon fishing lines without stretching.
Braided fishing lines tend to be resistant to sunlight, heat and don’t absorb water. The lines, therefore, have the longest shelf life.
How to Store Your Fishing Line Properly
Poor storage is another factor that can make your fishing line to degrade fast. You may have a braided fishing line, but if you don’t store it well, its life span shortens considerably.
Here are some of the measures you need to take to ensure that your fishing line lasts long – at least to the end of its natural shelf life.
Keep the fishing line tight and tidy
During the off-season, it is vital that you keep your line organized. When you store your fishing line loosely in a container or bag, the line will end up getting damaged.
Instead, spool the line tightly and store it in a well-protected area where no objects can be placed on top of it.
Store the line in a cool and dark place
Sunlight degrades fishing lines over time. Therefore, if you are not using the fishing line, store it in a cool place away from direct sunlight. You can even cover it with a cloth to protect against scratches.
Rinse off after use
Before you store your fishing line, rinse off the reel to get rid of any salts and bacteria.
Removing salt and bacteria ensures that the line doesn’t degrade during storage.
Bacteria usually break down the line while salt ends up causing small scratches on the line which affects its strength when you go fishing next.
Rinse the tackle box
If you have a tackle box, it serves as a convenient place to store your fishing line.
Just like the fishing line, your tackle box could have collected salts and bacteria over time.
Before you store your fishing line, therefore, rinse it off to ensure that your fishing line doesn’t degrade due to bacteria and salts left inside the box.
Whether you are an amateur or have been fishing all your life, one thing you can’t afford to ignore is the fishing line. If you haven’t gone fishing in a while, before you leave the house, check on the condition of your fishing line.
Even the best fishing lines degrade over time especially if they are not stored properly. As seen, there are so many factors that determine how long it will take you to replace your fishing line.
The most common ones are the material, how often the fishing line is used, and what you use it for. So next time you are going fishing unless you want to lose your catch due to a damaged line, check for wear and tear.