Reel Talk: Does Fishing Line Go Bad? Unveiling the Surprising Truth!

Fishing is a beloved pastime enjoyed by millions of enthusiasts around the world. Whether you’re casting your line into freshwater lakes or saltwater oceans, one crucial component that can make or break your fishing experience is the fishing line. The fishing line serves as the vital link between you and the fish, allowing you to feel even the slightest nibble and reel in your prized catch. So, does fishing line go bad.

Yes, fishing line can go bad!

Fishing line can go bad for several reasons, but with proper care and attention, fishing line can last you much longer.

In this article we will discuss:

Definition of fishing line

So, what exactly is a fishing line? In simple terms, it can be described as a cord or filament that anglers use to cast their baited hooks into the water. Fishing lines are typically made from various materials such as monofilament, fluorocarbon, or braided fibers.

Each material possesses unique properties that cater to different fishing conditions and target species. A monofilament fishing line consists of a single strand of nylon or other synthetic materials.

It offers excellent versatility, knot strength, and ease of use for beginners. Fluorocarbon lines, on the other hand, are virtually invisible underwater due to their refractive index closely matching that of water itself.

They are popular among anglers targeting finicky fish species in clear waters. Braided lines are constructed by intertwining multiple synthetic fibers like Spectra or Dyneema®, resulting in an incredibly strong and thin diameter line ideal for heavy-duty applications such as saltwater angling or big game fishing.

Importance of using a good fishing line

Now that we understand what a fishing line is let’s delve into why using a good one is essential for successful angling adventures. Firstly, a high-quality fishing line provides superior strength and durability under various conditions.

Imagine hooking onto an elusive trophy-sized fish only for your cheaply-made line to snap under pressure! A good fishing line ensures that you have the necessary strength to battle and land your catch.

Additionally, using a good fishing line enhances your casting accuracy and distance. A well-constructed line allows for smooth and controlled casting, enabling you to precisely place your bait where the fish are lurking.

This increased accuracy can make all the difference between a day of frustration and one filled with triumph. Furthermore, an excellent fishing line offers optimal sensitivity, allowing you to feel even the faintest nibbles or bites.

This is especially crucial when targeting species that exhibit subtle feeding behavior or in situations where fish are biting cautiously. A sensitive line enables you to detect those subtle movements, giving you the opportunity to set the hook at precisely the right moment.

Using a good fishing line reduces the chances of tangles and knots forming during your angling escapades. A high-quality line resists twisting and tangling, ensuring smooth retrievals without frustrating bird nests or snarls that waste valuable time on the water.

Exposure to Sunlight and UV Rays

When it comes to fishing lines, exposure to sunlight and UV rays can be a major factor in their degradation. The powerful ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can cause significant damage to fishing lines over time.

These rays penetrate the line’s structure, breaking down the molecular bonds and weakening its overall strength. The effects of UV rays on fishing line strength and durability are twofold.

Firstly, prolonged exposure can lead to a decrease in tensile strength, making the line more prone to breakage when put under stress. Secondly, the degradation caused by UV rays makes the line less resistant to abrasion and wear from friction against rocks or underwater obstacles.

How to Protect Fishing Line from UV Damage

To shield your fishing line from harmful UV damage, there are a few simple steps you can take:

Use a high-quality sunscreen: Apply a thin layer of sunscreen specifically designed for fishing lines onto the surface of your line before each outing. This helps create a protective barrier that reduces direct exposure to UV rays.

Opt for colored or opaque lines: Clear monofilament lines are more vulnerable to UV damage due to their transparency. Choosing colored or opaque lines helps block out some of the harmful sun’s rays.

Cover up your fishing line: Consider using rod sleeves or covers while transporting your equipment in direct sunlight. This will shield your line from unnecessary exposure during transit.

Frequently inspect and replace damaged sections: Regularly examine your fishing line for any signs of discoloration, fraying, or weakening caused by prolonged sun exposure. If you notice any such issues, it’s best to replace the affected sections promptly to maintain the line’s overall integrity.

Chemical Exposure

In addition to sunlight and UV rays, chemical exposure can also play a role in the deterioration of fishing lines. When fishing, your line may come into contact with various substances that can cause damage over time.

These chemicals include sunscreen, bug repellents, fish attractants, and even natural elements like algae or bacteria. Chemicals can have a detrimental impact on fishing line integrity by weakening its structure and reducing its strength.

They may cause the line to become brittle or prone to breakage under stress. Furthermore, some chemicals can react with components of the fishing line material, resulting in degradation and loss of performance.

Common Sources of Chemical Exposure While Fishing

To protect your fishing line from chemical damage, be mindful of potential sources while out on the water:

Sunscreen and bug repellents: These common substances often contain chemicals that can negatively interact with fishing lines. To minimize exposure, apply such products away from your equipment or ensure they are fully absorbed into your skin before handling any tackle.

Fish attractants and oils: While these aids can enhance your chances of attracting fish bites, they may also affect the condition of your fishing line if applied directly onto it. Be cautious when applying these substances around or near your line.

Natural elements: Algae growth on a reel or rod guides can introduce harmful bacteria or acids that degrade lines over time. Regularly clean equipment after use to remove any potential contaminants.

Wear and Tear from Usage

The ordinary wear and tear experienced during fishing can gradually impact the quality of your fishing line. When repeatedly cast and retrieved, the line encounters friction against various surfaces such as rocks, vegetation, or even the edge of your boat. This constant rubbing and abrasion can lead to weakened sections and compromised performance.

Friction and abrasion have adverse effects on fishing line quality by causing it to thin out, become rougher in texture, or even develop small nicks and cuts. Such damage weakens the line’s strength, making it more susceptible to breakage when under pressure from fighting fish or snagged objects.

Signs of Wear and When to Replace the Fishing Line

To ensure optimal performance during your angling adventures, keep an eye out for these signs indicating wear and tear on your fishing line:

Visible fraying or unraveling: Inspect your line regularly for any signs of frayed edges or loose strands.

If you notice any significant fraying beyond the normal wear associated with usage, consider replacing that section promptly.

Reduced diameter: As a result of wear from repeated use or friction against surfaces, fishing lines may become thinner over time.

Thinning can weaken their overall strength; thus, if you observe a significant reduction in diameter along portions of your line, it may be time for a replacement.

Nicks or cuts: Small nicks and cuts on your fishing line compromise its structural integrity.

These imperfections create weak points that are prone to snapping when subjected to stress. If you notice any visible nicks or cuts that could impair performance, replace the affected section accordingly. Maintaining a keen eye on these indicators will help you determine when it’s necessary to retire an old fishing line and replace it with a fresh, reliable one.

Types of fishing lines prone to going bad

Choosing the right fishing line is essential for a successful angling experience. However, not all fishing lines are created equal when it comes to durability and longevity. Let’s delve into the different types of fishing lines that are more prone to going bad, understanding their vulnerabilities and maintenance requirements.

Monofilament Lines: Sunlight’s Sneaky Foe and Chemical Absorption

Ah, monofilament lines! They are widely popular among anglers due to their affordability and versatility. However, these nylon-based lines have a couple of Achilles’ heels that you should be aware of.

Firstly, monofilament lines are susceptible to UV damage due to their composition. Prolonged exposure to sunlight can weaken their strength and make them more prone to breakage.

To counter this issue, it is crucial to store your monofilament line in a cool, dark place when not in use or invest in UV-resistant products specifically designed for protecting fishing lines. Secondly, monofilament lines have an unfortunate tendency to absorb chemicals found in water bodies.

These chemicals can lead to degradation over time, reducing the line’s overall performance. To minimize this risk, consider rinsing your monofilament line with freshwater after each use and avoid exposing it unnecessarily to potentially harmful substances such as gasoline or insect repellents.

Fluorocarbon Lines: Sunlight’s Double-Edge Sword and Chemical Reactions

If you’re seeking an invisible fishing line with excellent sensitivity for those finicky fish species, fluorocarbon may be your go-to choice. However, even this remarkable material has some weaknesses worth noting.

Firstly, while fluorocarbon lines are known for their invisibility underwater, prolonged exposure to sunlight can compromise their unique properties. Sunlight breaks down the carbon bonds, causing the line to lose its invisibility and potentially reduce its overall strength.

To mitigate this issue, try spooling your fluorocarbon line on a dark-colored reel or using specialized UV-protective sprays or coatings. Secondly, certain chemical reactions can affect fluorocarbon lines’ strength and durability.

For instance, some solvents or lubricants used in fishing equipment maintenance may cause the line to weaken over time. It is advisable to be cautious about what products come into contact with your fluorocarbon line and choose those specifically formulated for use with this type of fishing line.

Braided Lines: Durability under Friction and Maintenance Tips

Braided lines have gained popularity among anglers due to their exceptional strength-to-diameter ratio and resistance against abrasion. However, even these sturdy lines have their own set of challenges.

The primary threat to braided lines is friction. The constant rubbing against rod guides during casting or retrieval can cause wear and tear over time, compromising their durability.

You can minimize friction-related issues by regularly inspecting the guides for any signs of damage or sharp edges that could fray the braids. Additionally, applying a light coat of silicone-based lubricant on the guides can reduce friction during casting and increase your braided lines’ lifespan.

Maintenance plays a vital role in prolonging braided lines’ lifespan as well. After each fishing trip, it is recommended to wash off any dirt or debris from the line using mild soap and freshwater.

Once cleaned, make sure it dries thoroughly before storing it in a cool, dry place to prevent mold or mildew formation. If you notice any signs of wear, such as fraying or weak spots, it’s wise to replace the line promptly to avoid potential breakages during your next fishing adventure.

Consequences of using a bad fishing line

Decreased casting distance and accuracy

When you’re out on the water, one of the key factors that contributes to a successful catch is the ability to cast your line with precision and cover a good distance. However, using a bad fishing line can seriously hamper your casting abilities.

A worn-out or damaged line tends to become stiff and lose its flexibility, resulting in decreased casting distance. You’ll find yourself struggling to reach those prime spots where fish are lurking.

Moreover, accuracy becomes a distant dream when your fishing line is compromised. A faulty line won’t respond well to subtle adjustments or changes in direction during casting.

It may veer off course or form undesirable knots mid-air, leading to erratic casts that scare away even the most patient fish. This lack of control not only diminishes your chances of landing a catch but also robs you of the satisfaction that comes from precisely placing your bait where it needs to be.

Loss of fish due to weakened or snapped lines

Picture this: after patiently waiting for hours, you finally feel a tug on your line indicating that you’ve hooked a fish. You start reeling it in with anticipation, but suddenly disaster strikes – your fishing line gives way, and the prized catch slips away into oblivion.

This heart-wrenching scenario is one of the dire consequences of using a bad fishing line. A weakened or snapped fishing line can never be trusted when battling against strong or aggressive fish species.

The last thing any angler wants is for their hard-earned trophy fish to break free due to an inferior line’s inability to withstand pressure. Considering the time and effort invested in reaching this moment, it’s essential always to use top-quality fishing lines that possess adequate strength and durability.

Wasted time and frustration due to frequent tangles or breakages

Imagine this scenario: you’re all set up at your favorite fishing spot, eagerly looking forward to a relaxing day on the water. But as soon as you cast your line, it becomes entangled in a frustrating mess of knots and twists. You spend precious time trying to untangle the mess, only for it to happen again moments later.

Not only does this waste valuable fishing time, but it also tests your patience and can leave you feeling exasperated. Using a bad fishing line increases the likelihood of encountering tangled lines and frequent breakages.

Weak lines are more susceptible to forming knots or becoming twisted during casting or retrieval. These tangles not only disrupt the fishing experience but also increase the risk of the line snapping when subjected to stress.

Frustration mounts as you find yourself constantly retying knots and replacing damaged sections, taking away from the enjoyment that fishing is supposed to bring. Using a subpar fishing line has numerous negative consequences that can ruin an otherwise pleasant angling experience.

Decreased casting distance and accuracy hinder your ability to reach promising areas and successfully present your bait. Loss of fish due to weakened or snapped lines brings disappointment when potential catches slip away despite hooking them initially.

Wasted time and frustration caused by frequent tangles or breakages undermine the joy of being on the water in pursuit of fish. To avoid these undesirable outcomes, investing in high-quality fishing lines that boast strength, durability, and knot resistance is crucial for every angler seeking success on their next adventure.

Proper storage techniques

One of the key ways to prevent your fishing line from going bad is by adopting proper storage techniques. Storing your fishing line correctly will help protect it from damage and extend its lifespan.

One important aspect to consider is avoiding direct sunlight exposure. Sunlight, especially the harmful UV rays, can cause your fishing line to deteriorate faster.

To protect it, store your fishing line in a cool, dark place when not in use. Using protective cases or spool holders is another effective way to safeguard your fishing line.

These accessories offer an extra layer of protection against external elements such as dust and moisture that can degrade the quality of your line over time. Protective cases come in various sizes, allowing you to neatly organize and secure multiple spools of different types of fishing lines.

Regular inspection and maintenance

In addition to proper storage techniques, regular inspection and maintenance are crucial for preserving the quality of your fishing line. Inspecting your line before every fishing trip allows you to identify any signs of wear or damage. Look out for fraying, nicks, or discoloration which are indications that it may be time to replace the line.

To maintain your fishing line effectively, it’s important to clean it after each use. Gently wipe down the entire length using a soft cloth or towel dipped in soapy water. This helps remove dirt, saltwater residue, or other debris that may have accumulated during your outing. Remember not to apply excessive force while cleaning as this could weaken the integrity of the line.


Taking proactive steps towards preventing your fishing line from going bad is essential for a successful and enjoyable angling experience. By implementing proper storage techniques such as avoiding direct sunlight exposure and utilizing protective cases or spool holders, you can significantly prolong the lifespan of your fishing line.

Additionally, regular inspection and maintenance, including cleaning and timely replacement when necessary, will ensure that your line remains in optimal condition for countless fishing adventures. Remember, with a little extra care and attention, you can keep your fishing line performing at its best. So go out there with confidence, knowing that your well-maintained line is ready to tackle any fish that comes your way.

Tight lines, warm breezes, good friends, plenty of bait; it doesn’t get any better!


Q: Can fishing line deteriorate over time, and how do I know if it’s gone bad?

A: Yes, fishing line can degrade due to exposure to sunlight, moisture, and wear. Signs of deterioration include a change in color, reduced strength, and increased stiffness. If you notice these signs, it’s time to replace your line.

Q: What is the best fishing line for different types of fishing?

A: The ideal fishing line varies based on the fishing conditions and target species. Monofilament is versatile and suits many situations, while fluorocarbon is less visible underwater. Braided lines offer strength and sensitivity, making them suitable for specific applications like heavy cover or deep-sea fishing.

Q: How often should I replace my fishing line?

A: It’s recommended to replace your fishing line at least once a year, even if it appears to be in good condition. Regularly changing the line helps maintain its strength and sensitivity, ensuring better performance on the water.

Q: Does the diameter of the fishing line affect its performance?

A: Yes, the diameter of the line can impact casting distance, sensitivity, and how deep lures dive. Thinner lines have less water resistance and can cast farther, while thicker lines may offer more strength. Choose the diameter based on your fishing style and target species.

Q: How can I prevent tangles and twists in my fishing line?

A: Tangles and twists can be minimized by spooling the line onto your reel carefully, avoiding line memory. Use quality reels with proper spooling techniques, and consider using a monofilament or fluorocarbon leader if using braided line to reduce tangles and improve manageability. Regularly check for knots and tangles during fishing to address them promptly.