When To Change Fishing Line: How Old Is Too Old?

New Braided Line On Smoke Inshore Reel

I got this question this morning:

Name: Felix Alvarez

Email Address: Fgalvaez74@hotmail.com

Subject: Fishing line age

Message: Hey Tom - how old is too old in regards to fishing line (mono/braid/fluorocarbon) spooled on a reel?
Thanks for your time

(Sent via Saltwater Experience Fishing Blog)


Here is my answer:

Hey Felix,
Thanks for the question. I emailed you back right away but for some reason the email kicked back.  I just posted my answer here.

I change mono after every trip.  It is cheap and gets nicked, and twisted in a full day of fishing.  The fish that I fish for take long runs so the line could be nicked anywhere along 100-150 yards.  I usually just change it to avoid a heart breaker later on a big fish.

You may be able to get by by pulling off the line that was cast over and over again and just tying right there…maybe 150 feet. 

I change any line that has changed in appearance.  If the line is sold crystal clear and it becomes cloudy or chalky looking, I pull it off and start over.

Braid is a different story.  I spool about 250 yards of braid on my reels.  I will often just pull off the first 20-30 feet after a day of fishing where I caught a lot of fish and then tie the leader on there.  I change braid as I work down into the spool and don’t have enough line anymore.  A spool of braid can last a long time.  

If the color changes or the line gets a little furry, I pull off the worn line and retie.

With Fluorocarbon, I pretty much just use this type of line as a leader.  I simply feel the leader to check if it has been nicked or frayed.  If so, I re tie.  Just like mono, if it gets cloudy in appearance or chalky, it is definitely time for a change.

Many people may not change line or retie as much as I do and probably think I am wasting line.  Well, maybe I am, but fishing line is the direct connection between you and the fish you are after.  In the overall scheme of things, it is cheap compared to the boat, time off work, gas, bait, insurance, guide fees and on and on... Fishing line is cheap and I go through a ton of it because it is one of the easiest ways to stack the deck in your favor.  Always having fresh line and strong knots will result in alot more fish and alot more fun on the water.

I hope that helps!

Tom Rowland