Fishing line

From New World Encyclopedia
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fishing line
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A Fishing line is any cord made for fishing. Factors that may determine what line an angler chooses include breaking strength, knot strength, UV resistance, castability, limpness, stretch, abrasion resistance, and visibility.

The most popular line is monofilament line made of a single fiber. Deep sea fishermen use braided fishing line for its thin diameter and resistance to abrasion; braided lines also do not stretch much, which allows for greater sensitivity in detecting a "bite." Wire lines, fluorocarbon lines, co-polymer lines, and other kinds of lines are also used for different types of fishing.

Fishing lines left in the water are hazardous to fish, birds, and other marine life. Toray Industries, Japan, developed biodegradable fishing lines & lures (FieldMate[1]) that can naturally decompose in three months in both salt and fresh water.


Fish are caught with a fishing line by encouraging them to bite a fish hook. A fishing hook will pierce the mouth parts of a fish and may be barbed to make its escape less likely. Another method is to use a gorge, which is buried in the bait such that it would be swallowed end first. The tightening of the line would fix it cross-wise in the quarry's stomach or gullet and so the capture would be assured.

Fishing with a hook and line is called angling. In addition to the use of the hook and line used to catch a fish, a heavy fish may be landed by using a landing net or a hooked pole called a gaff.

Fishing line with hooks attached

Trolling is a technique in which a fishing lure on a line is drawn through the water. Trolling from a moving boat is a technique of big-game fishing and is used when fishing from boats to catch large open-water species such as tuna and marlin. Trolling is also a freshwater angling technique most often used to catch trout. Trolling is also an effective way to catch northern pike in the great lakes. It's also good for muskellunge in deeper lake using large baits also known as crankbaits or other big baits using strong line. This technique allows anglers to cover a large body of water in a short time.

Long-line fishing is a commercial fishing technique that uses hundreds or even thousands of baited hooks hanging from a single line.

Snagging is a technique where the object is to hook the fish in the body. Generally, a large treble hook with a heavy sinker is cast into a river containing a large amount of fish, such as salmon, and is quickly jerked and reeled in. Due to the often illegal nature of this technique, some practitioners have added methods to disguise the practice, such as adding bait or reducing the jerking motion.

Early developments

Fishing lines were often constructed from horse hair or silk thread, with catgut leaders. From the 1850s, modern industrial machinery was employed to fashion fishing lines in quantity. Most of these lines were made from linen, silk, and more rarely cotton or flax, sometimes with a waterproofing compound added during line manufacture.[2]

Modern lines

Modern fishing lines intended for spinning, spin cast, or bait casting reels are almost entirely made from artificial substances, including nylon, polyethylene, Dacron. and Dyneema (UHMWPE). The most common type is monofilament, made of a single strand. Recently, other alternatives to standard nylon monofilament lines have been introduced, made of copolymers or fluorocarbon, or a combination of the two materials. Flurocarbon in particular is well regarded for its refractive index, which is similar to that of water and, as a result, less visible to fish. There are also braided fishing lines, cofilament, and thermally fused lines, also known as "superlines" for their small diameter, lack of stretch, and great strength relative to standard nylon monofilament lines. Both braided and thermally fused "superlines" are now readily available.

Monofilament fishing line

Monofilament line is a thin string made from a single fiber. Most fishing line is made from monofilament because of its strength, availability in all pound-test kinds, and low cost. It also comes in many different colors such as white, green, blue, clear, and fluorescent. Monofilament is made by melting and mixing polymers and which is then extruded through tiny holes, forming strands of line, which is then spun into spools of various thicknesses. The extrusion process controls not only the thickness of the line but also the pound test of the line.

Monofilament is not advisable for deepwater fishing, since it can absorb water resulting in loose knots, and its sensitivity can decrease when it is wet. Monofilament degrades with time and can weaken when exposed to heat and sunlight. When stored on a spool for a long time, it may come off the fishing reel in coils or loops. It is advisable to change monofilament line at regular intervals to prevent degradation.[3]

Monofilament is also used in medicine to test the sense of touch.[4] It can be used in jewelry making to create "floating" or "illusion" beaded necklaces.[5] Because it is difficult to see, it has often been used in movies for special effects where objects need to look like they are floating in thin air.[6]

Environmental issues

Discarded monofilament lines can present serious environmental issues. These lines are extremely difficult to spot when submerged in water, and fish, birds, and other marine life can easily become entangled. Monofilament lines also present a risk to swimmers and scuba divers. Toray Industries, Japan, developed FiledMate, the first biodegradable fishing line in 1966, and subsequently biodegradable lures. These lines and lures are made of biodegradable polymer and they decompose in three months in both salt and fresh water.[7]

Sinkers can also be problematic for the environment. A sinker or a plummet is a weight used in fishing to force a lure/bait to sink more rapidly or to increase the distance that it may be cast. The ordinary plain sinker is made of lead and is shaped round, like a pipe-stem. The use of smaller lead based fishing sinkers has now been banned in the UK, Canada, and some states in the U.S.,[8] the reason being that lead may cause toxic lead poisoning if ingested. This has contributed to the death of many waterbirds and other aquatic organisms.[9] Sinkers made from non-toxic materials such as tin, steel, and tungsten-nickel alloy are used in places where lead based sinkers are banned.


DuPont made public in 1938 that their company had invented nylon.[10] This new invention was the first synthetic fiber, which compose fabrics that are commonly used in textiles today.[11] In 1939, DuPont began marketing nylon monofilament fishing lines; however, braided Dacron lines remained the most used and popular fishing line for the next two decades. DuPont seized the opportunity in 1959, and introduced Stren, a thinner monofilament line that could be used in a large range of reels, including newly introduced spinning and spin casting tackle. Stren's monofilament lines soon became the fishermen's favorite fishing line because of its ease of use. New materials, for example Spectra or Dyneema, are finding growing use in monofilament lines.

Braided fishing line

A Braided line is one of the strongest types of fishing line in relation to its diameter. Braids are made by braiding or weaving fibers of a man-made material like Spectra or micro-dyneema into a strand of line. Braided fishing lines are resistant to abrasion and are relatively strong, making it unlikely that a fish would break the line.

Discarded braided lines present some issues. This type of fishing line is so tough that they can cause abrasion to other things like one's hands, fishing rod, and fishing reel. Also, braided lines are opaque in the water. For this reason, it is visible to fish, which may spook them. Thus, some attach a monofilament at the end of the braided fishing line to serve as a leader and to reduce the high visibility of the braided fishing line.

Specialty lines

Fly lines Fly lines consist of a tough braided or monofilament core, wrapped in a thick waterproof plastic sheath, often of polyvinyl chloride (PVC). In the case of floating fly lines, the PVC sheath is usually embedded with many "microballoons," or air bubbles, and may also be impregnated with silicone or other lubricants to give buoyancy and reduce wear. In order to fill up the reel spool and ensure an adequate reserve in case of a run by a powerful fish, fly lines are usually attached to a secondary line at the butt section, called backing. Fly line backing is usually composed of braided dacron or gelspun monofilaments. All fly lines are equipped with a leader of monofilament or fluorocarbon fishing line, usually (but not always) tapered in diameter, and referred to by the "X-size" (0X, 2X, 4X, etc.) of its final tip section, or tippet.

Wire lines Wire lines are frequently used as leaders to prevent the fishing line from being severed by toothy fish. Usually braided from several metal strands, wire lines may be made of stainless steel, titanium, or a combination of metal alloys.

See also


  1. Tree Hugger, Toray biodegradable fishing line & lure. Travel & Nature. Retrieved June 21, 2008.
  2. James Henshall, Book of the Black Bass (1881).
  3. ABC of Fishing, Fishing lines-tips, MaxLifestyle International Inc. Retrieved June 21, 2008.
  4. Medical Monofilament Manufacturing, Monofilaments: History and Importance. Retrieved June 21, 2008.
  5. Marlize Kasselman, How to make beaded jewelry: Stringing Materials. Retrieved December 13, 2007.
  6. American Cinematographer, Creating Special Effects for 2001: A Space Odyssey. Retrieved June 21, 2008.
  7. Tree Hugger, Toray biodegradable fishing line & lure. Retrieved June 21, 2008.
  8. Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Let’s Get the Lead Out! Non-lead alternatives for fishing tackle. Retrieved July 1, 2008.
  9. Ibid.
  10. L. Trossarelli, The history of Nylon.
  11. DuPont, Nylon: 1935, In Depth.

ISBN links support NWE through referral fees

  • Cederberg, Göran. The Complete Book of Sportfishing. New York: Bonanza Books, 1988. ISBN 0517662191.
  • Creative Publishing International. Freshwater Fishing Tips: 300 Tips for Catching More and Bigger Fish. Chanhassen, Minn: Creative Pub. International, 2006. ISBN 1589232186.
  • Dunaway, Vic. Complete Book of Baits, Rigs & Tackle. Stuart, Fla: Florida Sportsman, 2002. ISBN 0936240245.
  • Fitzgerald, f-Stop. The Elements of Fly Fishing: A Comprehensive Guide to the Equipment, Techniques, and Resources of the Sport. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999. ISBN 0684845156.
  • Henshall, James A. Book of the Black Bass. Cincinnati: Stewart Kidd company, 1923.
  • Price, Steven D. The Ultimate Fishing Guide: Where to Go, When to Leave, What to Take, What to Wear, What to Know, How to Find Out & Other Indispensable Information for the Angler. New York: HarperPerennial, 1996. ISBN 0062732900.
  • Wisner, William L. The Complete Guide to Salt and Fresh Water Fishing Equipment. New York: Service Communications, 1976. ISBN 0876902123.


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