How long the fishing line lasts depends on what type of line you’re using, the care you take to preserve it, and a few factors that you can not control. Braid, Monofilament, and Fluorocarbon all have different expected life spans. However, these numbers are only a guide.
Going off a specific number and only changing after that allotted time is good but will still result in a lot of failures. We should use it as a guide rather than a law. The best practice is to always be on top of your fishing line, double and triple-checking its integrity making sure it doesn't expire.
Braided fishing line has the longest shelf life of all the line types. With a careful watch over it and some luck, braid could easily last you a decade. I say luck because we're talking about fishing and things happen all the time when you’re fishing regularly.
Braid loses its color, and a majority of people think of this as a sign that it's worn out and you need to replace it. However, this is false, the dye in braid just doesn't hold on well, it fades rather quick, but it says nothing to the integrity of your braid. Don’t give it a second thought, your braid is fine.
The most common things to eat at braid are chipped and sharp rod guides. You will not notice it but they could slowly eat away at your braid and causing you to pop off frequently. Also, check your reel for any abnormally sizeable gaps or sharp chipped edges on your bale.
If you want to double your braided lines life span, you can simply flip it on the reel. Any tackle shop can do this for you or you can do it yourself. Transfer the line onto any object or a spare reel if you have, then again onto another object or reel. Now when you spool it back onto your reel, your line will be ready to go.
The most popular type of fishing line is monofilament, also known as “mono.” This type of line is made of mostly nylon and synthetic fiber material, and is comprised of one long, continuous chord.
Because it is made of one strand of material, monofilament line has the capability to stretch when pulled. It is rated at different “tests” which indicate the amount of poundage the line can withstand before breaking.
The fishing line that is quickest to go bad is monofilament. It just doesn't thrive in the elements. UV rays eat at it much quicker than all other lines. The general suggestion is to swap our monofilament line once a year. However, this is subject to your use and abuse of your line.
If I was a captain or fishing multiple times a week, I would most likely be changing out my line before the year mark and maybe even twice a year. Weekend warriors could probably follow the year rule, and on a budget, you could probably even get away with more than a year.
Don’t wait too long though, saving a couple of bucks on cheap mono is not worth losing a trophy of a lifetime. We know they love to bite when we are least prepared so just stay ready. Like braid, be on top of your line always checking it plus your reel and guides for any sharp edges.
The life span of fluorocarbon is very similar to monofilament, just 3 - 4 times stronger. The same rules apply for care and maintenance. Even though it is stronger, there is a reason it mostly used for the leader which is usually constantly changed out so longevity isn’t much of an issue.
Fluorocarbon fishing line is also made up of one, continuous strand of line, but is composed of polyvinylidene fluoride, which makes it stronger than monofilament. However, fluorocarbon is very stiff, good for strength, but the added memory doesn't allow it to wrap around reels properly.
Casting and reeling can be funky with a full spool of fluorocarbon and it can often get crinkled or knotted easily. Not to mention it’s the most expensive of the 3 line materials. Stick to using it as a leader only.
Any line over a year old should raise suspicion, even braid. Constant use will open it to damage and fishing is expensive, and we have to pay to play. Be on top of your line! It will save you money in the long run. If you lose a fish to a popped line, it is time for deep inspection and possibly a new spool of line.
Storing Fishing Line
It’s always a good idea to keep an extra spool of fishing line with you in case you find yourself needing to respool your reel. However, keeping your extra line stored away doesn’t mean it has a longer shelf life.
In fact, monofilament or fluorocarbon fishing line that’s stored away will deteriorate within a year or two and will need to be replaced. For the longest shelf life, store your fishing lines in a cool dark place - away from uv rays - as much as possible.
Now that you’re all spooled up check out how to fish with live bait!