Can Fishing Line Cut Your Hands? (Tips To Protect Them)

What if I told you your fishing line could cut your hands? Would you believe me?

Probably not.

But …

Fishing line can cut your hands if you’re not careful. There’re three major factors you need to consider not to get your hands cut by your fishing line:

  • Line Tension
  • Line Diameter
  • Improper Handling

I have to admit, I’ve never had my hands cut from my fishing line before. But that is not to say I’ve had a close call or two.

For most casual anglers, this will probably not be an issue. 

That being said, you can do things to reduce the risk of cutting your hands with your fishing line. Or at least be more aware of the potential risk.

How Does Fishing Line Can Cut Your Hands?

Before diving into what you can do to protect yourself, first, let’s talk about how fishing can cut your hands. 

Line tension:

Fishing line is designed to carry a LOT of load for their size. This is useful when fishing because it means you can have more line on your reel. 

But there is a problem.

The higher the load, equals higher tension in the line. And as line tension increases, so does the potential risk of injury.

The most common injuries caused by having high amounts of tension in the line is when:

  • Your fishing line breaks.
  • You wrap fishing line around your hand.

What happens when fishing line breaks:

As line tension increases, so does the stored energy in the fishing line. When the fishing line breaks, it will tend to recoil back towards you. 

But how does this result in you getting hurt?

If the line were to snap back at you and whips you somewhere on the skin. It could lead to a cut.

In most cases, this is unlikely to happen because you’re not fishing with line strong enough to produce enough stored energy to whip back at you. Or your in deep enough water, where the water will stop the lure from whipping back at you. 

The risk here is if you are fishing in shallow waters or if you’re snagged on a branch near the shore. 

Wrapping Fishing Line Around Your Hand

People will wrap their hand around fishing line for many different reasons:

  • Better control of a fish when you’re trying to land it
  • Trying to break the fishing line when you’re snagged on something.

The risk of injury because you’ve wrapped fishing line around your hand when controlling a fish is pretty small. 

Unless you are fishing for some monster fish, then that would be a different story. 

But, more commonly, most people tend to hurt themselves when they try to break the line when they’re snagged on something.

As you can probably imagine, having a thin line wrapped around your hand while pulling will create a lot of pressure on your hand. If you pull hard enough or if the line is thin enough, it will cut into your hand.

Line Diameter:

The line diameter determines the thickness of the line. 

The thicker the line, the less likely it will cut your hands. But, on the flip side, the smaller the diameter, the more likely it will cut.

The reason why smaller diameter fishing lines have more tendency to cut your hand is that it acts more like a blade and will want to slice into your skin if you’re not careful. 

Which Type Of Fishing Line Is Likely To Cut Your Hand?

In case you’re wondering which type of fishing line you need to be the most cautious about when fishing is braid.

Braid fishing line is known for being extremely small in diameter yet offers excellent strength. This is why many anglers love using braid. But this is not so great for what we are talking about today. 

Braid line has all the factors discussed above, which makes braid the most likely fishing line you can use to cut yourself. 

Check out this video of an angler showing his cut from his braid line recoiling back at him.

How To Protect Your Hands From Cuts

Now you know what factors contribute to your fishing line being able to cut your hands, and the most likely type of fishing line that could cut your hands is braid. But the real question … 

How to protect your hands from getting cut in the first place?

There are two ways that I can see you doing that would result in you potentially getting a cut from your fishing line. 

  • Casting with braid
  • Breaking free a snagged line

How you protect your hands are different for the two scenarios. So let’s talk about what you can do to protect your hands. 

Casting with Braid

Casting with braid has been known to cut fingers. Generally, this tends to happen when you’re casting with a heavier lure or too light line where the fishing line diameter is super small.

So here is what you can do to protect your fingers casting with braid line:

Install A Breakway Cannon On Your Rod

A breakaway cannon is a small, simple device that you can attach to your fishing rod. 

This works by wrapping the line around the device before you cast. This will prevent your fingers from making contact with the line. 

You push down on the lever to lock the line in place. Then open the bail of your reel like you would normally. 

At this point, cast your line as you would normally, but you’re holding down on the cannon leaver. Release the leaver as you would normally if you were casting without the cannon. The line will release from the cannon and start unspooling like a usual cast. 

Check out this video for a demonstration. 

If you’re interested in the Breakaway Cannon click here to check it out on Amazon.

Wear Gloves when Casting  

Another way to protect your hands when casting, especially with a braid line, is to wear gloves. 

It may take a bit of a learning curve to get used to the feeling of wearing gloves with casting, but it does the job. 

There are a variety of different gloves out there that will get the job done. It’s a personal preference, really. 

My only suggestion is to avoid bulk and thick gloves. The thicker gloves might offer more peace of mind when it comes to protecting your fingers, but it also has a higher chance of the line to get caught on the glove during release. 

I would suggest thinner but stronger material like neoprene or leather (similar to Archery Gloves).

Check my suggestion for a casting glove by clicking here.

Hand Protection Using Items At Home

If you find yourself in a bind and need to come up with a quick solution. I got you covered.

I would recommend using tape to wrap around your index finger before casting. Duct tape and hockey tape would work great. Just make sure to keep the tape dry and check the tape to make sure it’s still sticking, and you don’t have any exposed skin.

If you don’t have any tape on hand, the next best thing I can think of is using a Band-Aid. Depending on your comfortability, you might want to fully wrap around two or three Band-Aids making sure you don’t have any exposed skin or just use one to cover the area that makes contact with the braid.

Breaking Free A Snagged Line

Eventually, you will be faced with a snagged fishing line. This is very common, but surprisingly many people don’t know how to break free from a snag safely. 

If you tried everything possible to pop the hook out of the snag and figured the only out of this is to break the line. The last thing you should do is wrap the fishing line around your hand and pull. This is how cuts happen. 

Also, don’t try using your rod to pull on the line because this is an excellent way to break your rod. 

Instead, try these two simple methods.

Wrap the line around some wood. 

This does not have to be wood. It could be an oar or the handle of your fishing net. The idea here is that you want to pull on the fishing line slow when the line is wrapped around something that is not your hand. 

Here is a quick video talking about this:

Pulling The Line From The Reel

Another simple method to break free from a snag is to pull from the reel. It works like this:

  1. Point the tip of the rod in the direction of the line. 
  2. Reel in as much slack as you can without having your rod bend. 
  3. Grab the reel and pull backwards.

By not having the rod bend takes it out of the equation and prevents damage to the rod. This is quick and easy. 

Here is a quick video showing this technique. 

At the end of the day, being prepared and aware of the potential risks when fishing with your line is the best way to avoid injuries. Hopefully, this information brings awareness to the risks and allows you to be better prepared. 

Happy Fishing and Tight Lines!

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