Questions I see asked a lot are how long does fishing line last, and how often should you change your fishing line?
The degradation of a fishing line varies depending on the type of line, and there are several variables involved in each. I will cover them all and so you can have a better understanding of when you should be changing out your fishing line.
*Note any time frames mentioned below are based on a hobby angler who may fish once or twice a week, and not a match angler who fishes a lot more regularly.
How often should you change monofilament fishing line
Monofilament is susceptible to UV damage, so once your line has had quite a lot of exposure to the sun, then it will naturally start to deteriorate and weaken.
Mono also absorbs water, so over time as more and more water has been absorbed by the line (especially if it’s saltwater), then again this will be a big depreciating factor.
Monofilament line also carries a lot of memory, and this gets worse the longer the line has been on the reel. Having those big loops in the line when you cast will affect its casting ability, so this is again something you need to factor in when deciding when you should be changing your mono.
It is also a good idea to inspect the end of your mono line each time before you fish and cut away any part of it that appears to be frayed or has some abrasion.
So as a rule of thumb, if you fish a couple of times a week then you should look at changing out your mono line at least once a year if you just go through the normal wear and tear mentioned above.
If you fish more often than a couple of times a week, then you should change out your mono line every few months to ensure you always have structurally sound line on your reel at all times.
Fortunately, monofilament fishing line is fairly cheap to purchase, so changing it out quite regularly is not that expensive to do.
How often should you change braided fishing line
Braided fishing line is expensive to buy, so it’s not something you want to be buying to often. But how long does braided fishing line last and how often should you be changing it out?
Fortunately, braid lasts for a long time, it doesn’t have anywhere near the same degradation rate as mono line.
Potentially, your braided fishing line could last you a few years without you having to change it out. This is good news for your wallet of course, but there are a few things that you need to be aware of.
Braid will tend to lose its color over the years. This does not mean that it is losing any of its strength, it’s just the dye used to color it that slowly fades away.
Braided fishing line is very susceptible to abrasion. If it rubs across any rocks or other structure it will compromise its quality in some way, so you need to check your line for any abrasion and fraying and cut away any part of the line that is compromised.
It is a good idea when you are at home to slowly peel off your braided line from the reel and look carefully along it and also run it through your fingers to feel any inconsistencies. Pull out quite a bit of line each time, just to ensure you find any inconsistencies on the line and cut them away.
You don’t want to be losing too much of your braid by cutting large chunks off, as you want to keep your spool as fully loaded with line as possible.
If you do find a bit of abrasion quite far into your line, you can always reverse it on your reel so that you don’t have to cut a large portion off.
To better explain, if during your line check you notice a small abrasion 50 meters into your line, and you still have 100+ meters of line on the reel, you can take all of the braid off the spool and then re-spool it, now putting the part with the abrasion at the bottom of the spool.
How often should you change fluorocarbon fishing line
Fluorocarbon fishing line is a lot more densely made than mono line, and is also not susceptible to UV and water damage like mono is, so it will generally last longer and you can expect to get 2-3 years of usage from your fluoro mainline as long as you trim away any lengths that have abrasions.
That being said, you will need to inspect your fluorocarbon line after each session and cut any damage away. Also, if you get any birds-nest tangles and you get a kink in a line as a result, this will need to be cut away as well. Kinks and abrasions in the line are a point of failure, so they should be removed.
All this trimming of the line will of course reduce the amount of line you have on your reel, and it is never good to leave your spool with an insufficient amount of line on it.
So if you have had to cut away large portions of your line over time, then this could also be a factor and indicator of when you should be changing up your fluoro main line.
If you are using fluorocarbon as a leader line, then you can change this up regularly. You should always check the leader for any slight abrasions and always replace them if you find any inconsistencies. But generally, you can change out your fluoro leader every 2-3 sessions.
How to prolong the life of your fishing line
You can do a few things to prolong the life of your fishing line. The first is to make sure you store your line away from any hot areas of the home. If the line is kept of a garage or outdoor storage room through the summer heat, then this can lead it to get all of that curly memory that you never want, and it can also make it more brittle. So keep it stored in a cooler area of your home.
Also, it is worth taking the time to rinse your line in freshwater after each fishing session. Peel the line off from your spool and pull it through your fingers while under running water from the tap, then run it through a cloth to dry it off before you put it back onto the spool.
Always keep an eye out, or feel for any inconsistencies in your line and cut them away as these are always going to be the points of failure, and you don’t want to be losing that trophy fish because of a weakened point in your line that you could easily have removed.