The great thing about “old fishing tales” is that sometimes they are true! One such tale is that fishing line conditioners have incredible benefits. The growing popularity of using a line conditioner has given rise to a few homemade alternatives, and we have found three great homemade fishing line lubricants you can use today.
- Hair Conditioners Containing Silicone
- Baby Oil
Homemade fishing line conditioners have a host of benefits and are generally considered to be environmentally friendly. They are easier to find at your local stores and are considerably cheaper than the actual fishing products.
The benefits of using a line conditioner are said to increase cast distance and diminish line memory. There are other benefits for the fishing line and your pocket too, which we will cover.
Homemade Fishing Line Conditioners
Let’s get right into the three homemade fishing line lubricants you have probably got in your home right now.
If you have a spontaneous fishing trip pop up, and you need to take every measure to ensure you land that trophy fish, why not try one of these line conditioners?
1. Hair Conditioner (Containing Silicone)
Silicone is the special ingredient in many leading store-bought line conditioners and is also prevalent in hair conditioners.
Silicone will form a thin, waterproof coating around your hair cuticle and will do the same on your fishing line. This coating will keep your line hydrated and prevent it from absorbing water and becoming brittle once the moisture evaporates.
Silicone can protect against heat damage, and its smooth, glossy texture leaves your hair soft, slick, and tangle-free. That sounds exactly like what we want for our fishing lines.
Hair conditioners are tested and formulated to be safe for the environment, giving us peace of mind when applying them to fishing lines that we cast into our rivers and lakes.
Tips For Applying Hair Conditioner to your Fishing Line:
- Dilute conditioner with water – use about a 1:4 ratio of conditioner to water and apply it with a spray bottle to the line already spooled onto your reel.
- Soak a cloth or sponge – use conditioner as it is, and run your line through the soaked cloth/sponge while spooling your line onto the reel.
- Apply the night before – allow the conditioner to absorb overnight.
- Re-apply frequently – take your diluted spray along on the trip and re-apply every few hours, depending on the conditions (hot, windy, and dry climates need frequent re-conditioning).
2. Baby Oil
Baby oil is manufactured from mineral oil, similar to petroleum jelly. Baby oil is made from a by-product of the oil refining process, which is then further refined until it is safe for skincare.
Using baby oil as a pre-treatment for your fishing line before fishing will help make your line more soft and flexible, reducing line memory and improving your casting distance.
Baby oil doesn’t contain harmful chemicals like phthalates, parabens, scents, and dyes. It’s clinically proven to be safe for use on babies, and if we are comfortable using it for baby-soft skin, it would be safe for the environment too.
Tips For Applying Baby Oil to your Fishing Line:
- Drip onto the packed line – drizzle the oil onto the line already spooled onto your reel, or apply it with a spray bottle. It isn’t water-soluble for dilution, but it is liquid enough to run through the layers of line.
- Soak a cloth or sponge – use oil as it is, and run your line through the soaked cloth/sponge while spooling your line onto the reel.
- Re-apply as needed – take a small spray bottle along on the trip and re-apply if necessary, depending on the conditions (hot, windy, and dry climates need more re-oiling).
- Watch this video on applying Baby Oil to your line
Vaseline is widely used for its lubrication properties, and it is also used to lock in moisture in skin conditions caused by tissue dehydration. It has many of the same benefits as baby oil but is a solid product that becomes liquid when heated up.
The use of Vaseline on fishing line will create a thicker waterproof layer than the hair conditioner or baby oil options. Many anglers have used Vaseline predominantly as an additive to help their line float because Vaseline is approximately 21% lighter than water.
Vaseline has been reported to be triple-purified, highly refined, and regarded as non-carcinogenic. Even though Vaseline is a petroleum-based product, it is proven to be safe for the environment.
Tips For Applying Vaseline to your Fishing Line:
- Reel it through a cloth – put a blob of Vaseline on a cloth, and pinch the cloth down on the line while spooling your line onto the reel.
- Re-apply as needed – if using Vaseline to float your line, re-apply as you see the line sinking more.
- Avoid greasing your gears – Vaseline can clog the gears of your reel if it is too thick, and high-temperature climates will see the Vaseline melting out and all over your reel, rod, and hands – not good if you are fighting a monster fish with slippery hands.
Common Household Line Conditioners I Don’t Recommend Using
While we are getting creative and finding alternative solutions to condition our fishing line, we need to be careful to only use products that are safe for the aquatic ecosystems and the environment.
A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself, “would I apply this product to my skin or mouth?”
If not, then it is safer to avoid introducing it to nature.
There is much debate amongst anglers regarding the efficacy of lubricating silicone sprays. While they may work wonders on metal and mechanical components, their safety concerns for the environment should prevent you from applying them to your fishing line.
Based on the Master Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for Silicone sprays like SW945, these sprays are particularly toxic for aquatic life and not good for the environment.
Avoid using them for anything other than their intended purpose, and go for the safer options that will serve the same function as these silicone sprays.
The WD-40 website openly states that they do not recommend using their product to lure fish after the rumour mill declared that fish are attracted to it. However, according to the WD-40 Master Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), WD-40 could affect your nervous system if ingested. For this reason, it is not safe to allow fish that you might eat to digest the toxins.
The WD-40 Company is quoted to say,
“WD-40 Company has taken steps to respect and conserve the environment, and encourages its users to do the same. While WD-40 Multi-Use Product can be used to help protect fishing equipment from rust and corrosion, WD-40 Company does not recommend using WD-40 Multi-Use Product to attract fish.”
To ensure we can enjoy the sport of fishing safely for generations to come, let’s make a point of angling responsibly and protecting the environment we so cherish.
There are great homemade alternatives to the conventional store-bought fishing line conditioners, and they are generally right at your fingertips. Always make sure the product you are going to try is safe for the environment and that there are no regulations against it in your state. Here’s to keeping those lines well-conditioned and always tight!
Happy Fishing & Tight Lines