When I started fishing regularly I replaced line about every time I got a new reel. In other words, I kept line on the reel a lot longer than recommended. Why? Mostly because I didn’t know better, but partially because I assumed line took forever to break down and become a potential problem. So, do you know when to replace fishing line? Each line has different requirements, and we’ll go over each one so you have a good idea when to replace fishing line depending on what you like to use. If there’s one part of equipment maintenance you don’t want to skip out on, replacing fishing line should be at the top of the list. The last thing you want on the water is a broken off fish due to bad line. So let’s begin…
When to Replace Monofilament Fishing Line
Monofilament line is a simple Nylon polymer that degrades over time due to use and exposure to the sun. Monofilaments’ best quality to anglers is it’s cheap, but it also stretches, which many anglers prefer when fighting fish on light tackle. It’s spooling properties are okay, but it does retain a memory so it’s no surprise when casting you’ll see big loops in the line. The big issue with monofilament is that because of these properties, it’s more delicate than the other two main types of fishing line on the market. With its ability to stretch, you might find the line weaker over time. Additionally, unless you take extreme care with your equipment, prolonged exposure to sunlight naturally degrades the nylon. Because of this, it’s recommended you change your monofilament line out every season. Make it part of your early spring routine. Just before you hit the water, make sure you’ve respooled some brand new monofilament line. You’ll be happy you did. If you fish regularly many times a week, it might be even more beneficial to replace your line a couple times a season. Use your best judgment and be sure to inspect your line for nicks and stretching every time you’re out.
When to Replace Braided Fishing Line
Braided line is a stronger, more durable fishing line that is the most popular type of fishing line on the market today. You can find our thoughts on the best braided fishing line here. Braided fishing line are typically constructed from two types of fibers, sometimes several fibers each. Take Sufix 832 Braided Line for instance. Sufix 832 is constructed of 7 Dyneema Fibers and 1 Gore Performance Fiber. These fibers are woven so tightly that from plain sight it appears as one strand of line. The combinations of fibers and the weaves make braided line much stronger than monofilament, and at a smaller diameter than monofilament of the same tensile strength. This opens the door to limitless possibilities for use. The only real negative to braided line is they have not come up with a transparent or nearly transparent braided line yet. So instead of fooling fish with the type of line you use, many anglers are forced to tie on monofilament or fluorocarbon leader lines to the lure. But, with the benefits of braided line being numerous, it’s absolutely worth it.
So when should you replace braided line? Again, individual circumstances differ, but because of its resiliency, it’s safe to assume braided line will last for two seasons or more on your reels. The only two things to pay attention to with braided line as you use it is discoloration and fraying. Over time, whatever color braided line you use will fade from sunlight and regular wear. That combined with fraying along the line, usually easily visible, is a really good indicator of when to replace. Typically two seasons is a safe bet but if you fish harder than average anglers, you may want to replace once a year.
When to Replace Fluorocarbon Fishing Line
The most recent major advancement in fishing line technology is the advent of Fluorocarbon fishing line. This line is a polyvinylidene strand microfiber that is most similar to monofilament line but is stronger, more transparent, and more expensive. Fluorocarbon line is denser than water, has zero water absorption and is nearly invisible underwater because of its light refraction properties making it the ideal leader line on the market. It does have memory, however, so it’s not the best type of line to spool up on a casting reel. Because of its construction, fluorocarbon line lasts longer than monofilament. Some even suggest fluorocarbon can last longer than braided line. Its surface strength is strong enough to hardly fray or get nicks in it. If you use fluorocarbon line, you should change your line out every two years or more, depending on how hard you fish your equipment. As with all lines, be sure to visually inspect before each outing to make sure you won’t suffer any unnecessary breaks. We go into detail some of the best fluorocarbon lines on the market today, so check it out if you’re looking to add it to your arsenal.
Fishing line is disposable. It is a wearable (in the sense that it does break down) item. Fishing line is not something that you can maintain and extend the life of for years and years. But for some reason, either ignorance or laziness, many anglers ignore obvious signs of problems and continue to use the same line year after year. If, hopefully not, you break off a trophy fish in a future outing, I hope it won’t be because of old, worn out line. Do yourself a favor and make it a habit to regularly check and replace as needed your fishing line, regardless of what you use. Tight (and new) Lines!