How Long Do Fluorocarbon Lines Last? When Should You Replace Them?

Fluorocarbon lines are strong with many advantages, but there are some disadvantages that you need to be aware of. One particular issue you have heard about regarding any fishing line is how long they last. So if you’re using fluorocarbon, you may be interested in knowing how long they last and how frequently should they be replaced.

Fluorocarbon line can last up to 5 years when stored and does not require any special storage conditions. Fluorocarbon lines on reels should be replaced every 2 years max for infrequent anglers, 2 to 3 times for moderately anglers, and high-frequency anglers should replace 4 or more times a year. 

Fluorocarbon lines have a limited lifespan, just like any other fishing line. Let’s take a deeper dive into a fluorocarbon’s life span.

How Long Can You Expect Fluorocarbon Line To Last?

Fluorocarbon lines have been used for years.  

I love saltwater fishing and use fluorocarbon for its abrasion resistance and low visibility. The rocky surroundings can take a toll on a fishing line. Therefore, I need something that can hold up to the environment. 

But, fluorocarbon is not only meant for saltwater fishing. The low visibility and low visibility make it perfect for heavy-cover casting. 

One would think that a fishing line with such robust qualities would have a long lifespan.

Fluorocarbon fishing lines are made from a polymer called polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF).

Different fluorocarbon line manufacturers have their own recipes for producing the line, which imparts other characteristics to the final fishing line product. Most of these companies consider this recipe a trade secret and do not divulge the details publically.

One of the main longevity advantages of fluorocarbon is that it is not easily damaged by UV radiation from the sun, which boosts the fishing line’s lifespan.

The main factors that limit the lifespan of fluorocarbon lines are as follows.

  • Time. The polymer degrades over time, causing the line to become brittle and susceptible to breakage.
  • Nicks on the line. Nicks creates a weak point, and the line will fray at that point or snap when sudden tension is applied, such as when you strike to set the hook.
  • Kinks in the line. Kinks that occur when the line is bent, such as tying knots incorrectly, will crack the fluorocarbon line, and the line can snap when force is applied.
  • The quality of the fluorocarbon line. Different manufacturers produce fluorocarbon lines of different quality, depending on their particular production recipe. Lower quality lines have a shorter lifespan.

Given these characteristics, what sort of duty cycle can you expect when using the fishing line or stored on the shelf?

How Long Will Fluorocarbon Line Last On The Reel?

Fluorocarbon lines are making their way into many different types of fishing. This pushes the line to be used as a mainline and on various kinds of reels not commonly thought of as fluorocarbon friendly, like spinning and baitcaster reels.

Fluorocarbon line is notoriously difficult to use on a spinning reel due to the line stiffness.

When the bail arm on the spinning reel is lifted in preparation to cast, loops of fluorocarbon line simply spill from the reel! This can quickly become a knotted mess, which will affect the life span of the fluorocarbon line on your reel.

The usual wear and tear of casting, reeling in, and hooking into a fish will cause the line to deteriorate on your reel over time. The timeframe for this will depend on how often you go fishing. 

The table below indicates fishing rates compared to how often you should replace the fluorocarbon line on your reel.

Fluorocarbon Line On Reel Replacement Guidelines

Fishing Frequency Frequency Of Fluorocarbon Replacement
Heavy fishing – You can’t get enough and are out there every weekend!Replace the fluorocarbon line on your reel 3 or 4 times a year.
Moderate fishing – You go fishing two or three times a month. Re-spool your reel with fresh fluorocarbon 2 to 3 times a year.
Occasional fishing – You fish once a month.Change the fluorocarbon line on your reel at the beginning of every fishing season or once a year.

These are recommendations, and you should inspect your fluorocarbon line every once in a while. 

If you notice any imperfections in the line, replace it before you lose a fish and blame the line!

How Long Will Fluorocarbon Line Last On The Shelf?

Fluorocarbon line stores very well on the shelf and is not susceptible to degradation from UV exposure. Consequently, if you have fluorocarbon line still on the spool, you can safely store it for use for 7 to 8 years if it is a good quality line.

Lower quality lines should only be stored on the shelf for up to 5 years before being discarded and replaced.

Does Fluorocarbon Line Expire?

Most manufacturers of fluorocarbon lines will put an expiry date on the spool to indicate how long the line is good for. While the line will probably be good beyond the indicted date, it would be wise to test it before attaching an expensive lure.

The most common reason anglers push their luck and use fluorocarbon line for longer than its indicated shelf-life is that the line is expensive to replace. 

Some high-quality fluorocarbon lines can easily cost double the price of mono.

How Can You Protect Fluorocarbon Line?

Since fluorocarbon line is expensive, many anglers look for ways to preserve the line with products or certain methods to store the line to extend its usable life.

Fluorocarbon lines still on the original spool do not need any special care or treatment for storage to extend the product’s life.

Many anglers who use full-reel fluorocarbon of their reels also like to use a line conditioner to help the line come off the reel more smoothly.

This lubricant does not protect the line, but it helps prevent the line from birdnesting when casting. 

Does Fluorocarbon Line Degrade In The Environment?

Fluorocarbon fishing lines are tough fishing lines that can withstand a lot of abuse. This makes fluorocarbon a great fishing line but makes it detrimental to the environment.

As anglers who enjoy nature and the outdoors, we are responsible for taking care of the environment. We should avoid leaving fluorocarbon lines in the environment. 

Fluorocarbon lines can take hundreds of years to break down. During this time, it can cause untold damage to the natural environment, like animals accidentally eating the lines or getting tangled in them.

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