How Long Does Fishing Line Last? [Mono, Fluoro, Braid]

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Written By Russ Egan

Russ is a professional fisherman with over 20 years of experience. He has fished all over the world for more than two decades, primarily for saltwater game fish but also for local trophy fish. Russ comprehensively tests and reviews all his fishing gear to help others achieve their own fishing goals. There is nothing he prefers than heading down to his local tackle store, buying the latest fishing reel, and taking it to the water to test.


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Fishing line typically lasts for 1-2 years under regular use. However, the lifespan greatly depends on the type of line (braided, monofilament, or fluorocarbon), exposure to UV light, the level of abrasion, and storage conditions. Regular line replacement is essential to ensure top performance.

Ice Fishing Line

How Long Does Fishing Line Last?

As a keen angler for over two decades, I’ve often asked myself, “how long does fishing line last?” The answer, I’ve found, varies depending on how often you fish and whether your target species has teeth.

Line TypeLifespan
Monofilament4-6 months
Fluorocarbon6-9 months
Braided Line12-18 months

UV Light

One of the biggest culprits of fishing line degradation is UV light. I’ve experienced many instances where a perfectly good-looking fishing line snapped due to the harmful effects of the sun’s UV radiation. Nylon monofilament lines are particularly vulnerable to UV damage. This degradation can reduce the line’s strength by up to 50% over the course of a year, depending on how often it’s exposed to the sun.


Another factor that affects the lifespan of fishing line is abrasion. Lines often come into contact with sharp edges, rocks, and debris that cause cuts and weaken the line over time. Braided fishing lines have been my go-to choice in conditions with high abrasion, as they tend to resist cuts better than other types.


Stretch plays a significant role in how long fishing lines last. Excessive stretching can lead to “line memory,” which means your line will retain the coiled shape of your reel. This can result in poor casting distance and less sensitivity to bites. Typically, monofilament lines are most susceptible to this issue.


Memory, as I mentioned earlier, can be a problem, particularly in monofilament fishing lines, where the line tends to coil and lose its straight form after being stored on the reel. This makes casting harder and can decrease the line’s overall effectiveness.

If you leave a fishing reel spooled with mono line in your garage for a few years, you will find the line stuck in coils. You will need to throw that line away and replace it.

Does Old Fishing Line Go Bad or Expire?

Yes, old fishing line can go bad or expire. Unlike a bottle of fine wine, fishing line does not improve with age. The shelf life is typically a few years, but the expiration date is highly variable, depending on the factors I’ve fully explained above. Leaving old fishing line on your reel for too long can result in disappointing fishing outings and unexpected line failures.

Which Fishing Line Lasts the Longest?

In my years of fishing, I’ve worked with three main types of fishing lines: monofilament, fluorocarbon, and braided.

multiple seagar fluorocarbon fishing line packets in a row


Monofilament fishing line is made from a single nylon strand and is highly susceptible to UV degradation and memory issues. However, its low cost and availability make it a popular choice among anglers. It typically needs to be replaced every year.

Berkley Trilene Mono
  • Available in Up to 10,800 Yard Spools
  • From 8 to 200 Pound Strength
  • Extremely Powerful
  • Shock Resistant


Fluorocarbon line is a step up from monofilament. It’s denser, more abrasion-resistant, and less visible underwater, which can be a game-changer in clear water. Fluorocarbon lines resist UV light better than their monofilament counterparts but are usually more expensive. They can last up to two years with proper care.

Seaguar Red Label Fluoro
  • UV Resistant
  • High Tensile Strength
  • Invisible Underwater
  • Extremely Sensitive


Braided fishing line boasts the longest shelf life. Made from woven fibers, it’s strong, has low stretch, and resists UV light well. Although it can fray due to abrasion, a quality braided line can last for several years before needing to be replaced.

KastKing Superpower Braid
  • Strong Knot Strength
    Low Memory
    High Abrasion Resistance
    Ultra-high Sensitivity

How Do I Know If My Fishing Line Is Still Good?

Determining the health of your fishing line isn’t always a straightforward task. However, with the wealth of experience I’ve accumulated over the years, I’ve honed a few reliable strategies to assess whether my fishing line is still in good shape.

One key tactic is to feel the line: Run your fingers along it.

If you come across any rough spots, nicks, or abnormalities, these are indications of potential weak points where the line might fail when under pressure. Another method is to check for discoloration. If your originally clear line has adopted a milky or yellow hue, or if your colored line appears faded, it could signal that it’s time for a replacement. Discoloration is typically a sign of UV damage and suggests that the line’s strength has been compromised.

To gauge the line’s resilience, you can perform a stretch test. By stretching a section of the line, you can see if it stretches slightly and then returns to its original length, indicating that it’s probably still good. Conversely, if it stays stretched out or breaks with little effort, it’s likely time for it to be replaced.

Check for coiling – If the line retains the coiled shape of the reel (also known as ‘memory’), it may impair casting and reduce sensitivity to bites.

How to Dispose of Old Fishing Line?

Fishing line that’s been discarded can cause serious harm to wildlife, making it crucial to dispose of it correctly.

Always cut up your old fishing line before you dispose of it. This reduces its length and makes it less likely to tangle, reducing the risk it poses to animals if it somehow ends up in their environment. Many fishing shops and public docks have specially designated recycling bins for fishing lines. These bins form part of recycling initiatives that give new life to old lines by repurposing them into new fishing gear or other plastic products.

How to Get More Life Out of My Fishing Line?

Getting the most out of your fishing line saves you money and is also beneficial for the environment.

Proper storage is key. Keep your fishing line in a cool, dark place when not in use. Heat and sunlight exposure can degrade the line over time, and if possible, it’s best to remove the line from the reel during storage to prevent it from developing memory.

Cleaning the line after each fishing trip can also work wonders. A rinse with fresh water can remove salt, dirt, and grime, significantly reducing wear and tear on the line. There are also products called line conditioners that can help reduce memory, soften the line, and even provide UV protection.

Consider rotating your line. If you have a large line on your spool, reversing it occasionally could prove beneficial. The line at the bottom of the spool often sees less action and, therefore, might be in better condition.

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