No matter how fancy your rod is, it’s not going to bear any fruit without the right fishing line. When picking out a fishing line, don’t just let the advantages sway you—you should also be questioning how long the line can last and when it should be replaced. If you’re a fluorocarbon fan, you may want these questions answered!
Fluorocarbon lines have a perceived shelf life of around five years in storage and around two years when used infrequently. For frequent anglers, the line may need to be replaced four or more times each year, while moderate anglers may only need to replace the line two or three times a year.
What affects the line’s durability, though? Can you prolong the life of your fluorocarbon line for maximum usage? Read on for a deeper dive into the lifespan of a fluorocarbon line!
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How Long Should a Fluorocarbon Line Last?
Fluorocarbon lines are commonly used for saltwater fishing.
These are low-visibility lines with excellent resistance to abrasion, which also makes them ideal for heavy-cover casting.
Fluorocarbon lines are made from polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) polymers.
PVDF is a material known for its superior stiffness, toughness, strength, abrasion resistance, resistance to ultraviolet rays, low moisture absorption, and low flammability.
Given all this, shouldn’t fluorocarbon lines last much longer?
It should, but several factors prevent these lines from lasting longer.
Factors Affecting a Fluorocarbon Line’s Longevity
Some of the main factors that affect a fluorocarbon line’s lifespan:
- Different manufacturers of fluorocarbon lines follow different manufacturing processes and recipes. These variations could affect how the quality of the line and define how strong or weak it is. Weaker lines give out faster.
- Polymers degrade over time, becoming brittle and weak. The degradation is further accelerated when continuously exposed to sunlight, UV rays, moisture, and other environmental factors.
- Damage in the form of fraying, mildew, nicks, cuts, and discoloration can weaken the line and cause it to snap in the face of sudden tension.
- Kinks from improper spooling and incorrect tying of knots can cause the line to crack and eventually snap.
The Fluorocarbon Line’s Lifespan
Depending on whether it’s on the shelf or the reel, the lifespan of a fluorocarbon line can range from three months to eight years.
On the Shelf
If stored properly, away from UV rays and direct sunlight, a fluorocarbon line that’s still on the spool can last for as long as seven or eight years—provided the line is of good quality, of course.
A line of decent quality can be stored for around five years before you throw it away.
Most fishing lines don’t technically have an expiry date—collective experience over the years has shown how long certain fishing lines can last.
Though there’s a chance that your line may have outlasted its perceived expiry date, there’s also a chance that it has severely deteriorated and you don’t want this to come as a surprise when you’re using the line to reel in a catch and it snaps.
Therefore, it’s recommended to replace your fluorocarbon lines once they’ve reached their expiry dates (some manufacturers also print this date on the label, in case you’ve lost track of time!).
On the Reel
On the reel, fluorocarbon lines can have extremely short or decently long lives. Which one depends on a few factors:
- The usual fishing-related motions, such as hooking, casting, and reeling in, will result in the line’s deterioration over time. The more you perform these actions, the faster the degradation.
- Using a bait caster or spinning reel may degrade your fluorocarbon line as these reels aren’t generally perceived to be fluorocarbon friendly. The line tends to spill from the reel, leaving behind a knotted mess that can shorten the line’s life. Additionally, the stiffness of the line makes it challenging to use on these reels.
- Any chips, debris, or dust in the reel may damage the line. Given the material’s abrasion resistance, though, this shouldn’t worry you excessively, but prolonged exposure to such substances can eventually cause weakening to some extent.
So, How Often Should You Replace Your Line?
Based on the above, here’s a general rule of thumb to follow when it comes to replacing fluorocarbon fishing lines:
- If you’re a frequent angler (you fish almost every weekend), replace the line at least three or four times a year.
- If you fish moderately (around twice or thrice a month), replace your line twice or thrice a year.
- If you fish only occasionally (around once a month or lesser), replace your line once a year or at the start of each fishing season.
However, there are several anglers who follow their own replacement schedules—completely understandable, given how expensive fluorocarbon can be.
With sufficient experience, you’ll know what works best for you and your line and how much you can push it before having to replace it. You’ll also learn to inspect your line well and catch any damage or imperfections.
If you’re a complete fishing novice, following the above recommendations, at least for the first couple of years, will help.
How Do You Protect Fluorocarbon Lines?
Fluorocarbon lines can be protected by storing them in a cool, dry place away from sunlight and chemicals.
It is also important to avoid abrasion, as this can weaken the line.
Additionally, using a line conditioner can help protect the line from damage.
Rinsing the line with fresh water after each use, and re-spooling the line on the reel with care can also help prolong the life of the line.
How to Test If Fishing Line Is Still Good?
Inspecting your line will inform you of its status.
Run the line between your forefinger and thumb and see if there are any abrasions, cuts, or worn-out spots.
Additionally, checking the knot strength and the line’s memory will also tell you if it’s still good (you’re looking for strength in both knotting and memory).
What Is the Best Fluorocarbon Line for Spinning Reels?
Some of the modern fluorocarbon lines are more supple and therefore, may be used in a spinning reel.
In conclusion, the frequency at which a fluorocarbon fishing line should be changed depends on various factors such as the type of fishing, the environment, and the way it is handled.
It’s important to regularly check the line for visible signs of wear or damage and to use the appropriate knot strength test.
As a general rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to change the line at least once a year or every 100-200 hours of fishing.
By following these guidelines, anglers can ensure that their fluorocarbon fishing line is always in top condition and ready for the next big catch.
Tight lines, bend rods, and may all your fishes come true!