Anglers, it’s crucial to determine when it’s time to change your fishing line. Neglecting to do so can result in line failure during a crucial battle with a trophy fish or while casting an expensive lure. On the flip side, changing it too frequently can be a costly habit. Let’s explore the art of recognizing when it’s time for a line change, bearing in mind the different types of fishing lines and their characteristics.
1. Monofilament Line:
- Monofilament is often the most economical choice.
- It retains its integrity for a decent period, similar to fluorocarbon but not as long-lasting as braid.
- Fresh monofilament is soft and slightly stretchy. When it loses this inherent stretchiness and becomes dry, it’s time to change.
- Watch out for abrasions and rough spots on the line, usually close to the lure. These can be caused by cover or friction. If you notice these, you may not need to change the entire spool; just cut off the damaged section and retie. However, if you have to remove a substantial portion of the line, it will reduce your casting distance significantly, necessitating a complete respooling. Since monofilament is relatively inexpensive, it’s advisable to err on the side of caution and replace it if you suspect any strength or integrity issues.
2. Fluorocarbon Line:
- Abrasions and frays are also a concern with fluorocarbon.
- They often occur near the bait as cover or fishing environments cause damage.
- You can easily spot these frays and abrasions with your eyes, or you can feel them by running the line between your fingertips. In most cases, retying the line is sufficient.
- A severe backlash or a line cinching down into your reel due to a bad cast can cause abrasions or weak spots that might not be apparent through touch. In such cases, look for a discoloration in the line. Fluorocarbon is transparent in water, so if you notice a milky or white section, it indicates a weak spot. To be certain, place that section in the water to make the discoloration more visible. If you suspect these issues or if the damaged section is far up the line, consider respooling.
3. Braided Line:
- Braided line has a long lifespan, which can lull you into a false sense of security.
- Some anglers mistakenly believe they never have to change braid, even for rods with limited use.
- Others may change braid too quickly, often based on fading color. However, the integrity of braided line lasts longer than its dye.
- Look for abrasions and frays, especially near your baits. These segments can typically be removed by cutting them out and retying the bait.
- Be cautious when using a line pick to remove backlash or knots, as it can split the fibers of braid and damage its strength.
- Knots cinching down far up the braided line may make it impossible to remove, causing the line to break during the process. If you notice that your line starts to look fuzzy or the fibers become looser, it’s time to change your braided line.
In conclusion, the key to knowing when to change your fishing line is observing abnormalities. Whether it’s noticeable frays, knots, abrasions, or the general fuzziness of braid, dryness in monofilament, or discoloration of fluorocarbon, any changes from the line’s initial condition should prompt consideration of a replacement. While it’s better not to rush to change the more expensive lines like fluorocarbon and braid, it’s perfectly acceptable to play it safe with cheaper monofilament lines. Pay close attention to the section of line nearest your bait, as it’s often the most critical. Over time, you’ll develop a feel for when it’s time to change your fishing line.