Does Fishing Line Go Bad on Spool?

If you’re a fisher, you may wonder how long your fishing line will last when it is already on the spool or if it goes bad at all. Even though it doesn’t usually have an expiration date on the packaging, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t wear down over time.

Fishing line can go bad on the spool because it breaks down over time. However, how long it will last on spool all depends on the type of string (braided, fluorocarbon, or monofilament) you are using.

It is important to know when your fishing line will expire so you know when you should go out and use it. If you don’t do your research, you may go out fishing and have your line break right when you have a whopper! If you need to know more about your fishing line and when it will expire, keep reading!

Does Fishing Line Go Bad on Spool?

If you’ve ever looked into your fridge to see that your milk has expired while making you a bowl of cereal, you can probably relate to a fisherman who notices their fishing line has gone bad when they are standing by a pond full of fish. The only difference is that you can keep up with when your milk expires. However, the expiration of fishing line can sneak up on someone with no warning.

If you’re wondering how fishing line goes bad, it is actually not as difficult to untangle the reasons as you may think. In fact, you can trace it back to overexposure to heat in many cases. That would make sense considering that fishing is done outside where the sun usually bears down on you.

While you are outside fishing, you are exposing your fishing line to so much besides just overexposure to heat. Even with braided line, you will experience nicks on your line from rocks and fish nibbling on it. It’s important to check frequently and trim your line to avoid losing fish or expensive tackle.

Another thing to consider is the fishing line getting too cold. Cold can actually cause your fishing line to go dry and brittle. Saltwater is also a factor of wearing down your fishing line, and you should get into the habit of putting it in freshwater right after.

Does Unused Fishing Line Go Bad?

If you have some unused fishing line that you want to use, you are certainly not alone! Sometimes, time goes by and before you know it, it’s been years since you bought that fishing line that’s sitting in your garage.

Unused fishing line might still be good depending on how you stored it and the type of fishing line that it is.

If the fishing line was stored in the sun, the lifespan will be much shorter. It is important that you store your fishing line properly if you want to get the most out of it.

If you are using a cheap monofilament fishing line from your local fishing store, you probably won’t get much out of it compared to high quality braided fishing line.

Braided Fishing Line

Braided fishing line is a stretch-resistant line that is several strands of fiber woven together. Braided line is known for its strength and lasting-power which is why it is known by many as the best fishing line out there.

That sounds pretty great, but there is one downside to it. When something is so great like this, it usually has a bigger price tag attached to it and this is no exception. In many cases, you’d spend double the price for good quality braided fishing line compared to the other two options.

Fluorocarbon Fishing Line

Fluorocarbon fishing line is a single strand made of polyvinylidene fluoride. It is known for being very difficult to see underwater which gives the fisherman the edge against fish.

Just like braided fishing line, fluorocarbon has a downside that might be a deal-breaker for some. It tends to be more rigid, and it has more memory. That means that it keeps the shape of the twists and bends from the reel. This makes it more susceptible to kinks and knots while reeling it in. This can also mess with the presentation and the distance when casting it into the water.

Monofilament Fishing Line

Monofilament, commonly nicknamed mono, is one continuous strand of synthetic fiber commonly made using nylon. Mono tends to stretch quite a bit before its breaking point so if you want to test your mono’s quality to see if it has expired, you can see if it holds up against the amount of weight it should be able to hold.

For example, a monofilament line with 30 lbs line weight should be able to hold 30 lbs before breaking. It will stretch, but the real test is to see when it breaks.

Does Heat Affect Fishing Line?

If you’ve been storing your fishing line under harsh lights, you should maybe consider changing that as soon as possible. Heat does in fact have an effect on fishing line, but instead of helping it, heat can actually do the exact opposite.

Storing fishing line under any light or anything that produces heat can breakdown the fishing line. Storing it in a dark, cool place is definitely the way to go as it will prolong the lifespan of the fishing line.

How Long Should Your Fishing Line Last?

Like mentioned before, each type of fishing line has a different lifespan. Braided line lasts the longest due to it being several strands of manmade fiber woven together. It is much stronger than monofilament and fluorocarbon line.

Braided LineLifespan
Heavy Fishing1-2 Years
Moderate Fishing2 Years
Occasional Fishing3 Years
On the Shelf8-10 Years
Functional Life Span on the Reel4 Years


Like mentioned before, braided line lasts the longest. You can get a very long amount of shelf life. Though the chart above says 8-10, you can sometimes get many more years out of it depending on how you take care of it. In some cases, it can even last through the average human lifespan.

Fluorocarbon LineLifespan
Heavy Fishing6 Months
Moderate Fishing18 Months
Occasional Fishing2 Years
On the Shelf7 Years
Functional Life Span on the Reel3 Years


If you look at the lifespan for fluorocarbon line with heavy fishing, it doesn’t seem that impressive compared to monofilament. However, if your eye wanders down to how long its shelf life is, you’ll see that’s where it differs from monofilament. The shelf life is two years more than monofilament, but it is actually only a year less than the braided line’s shelf life.

Monofilament LineLifespan
Heavy Fishing4-6 Months
Moderate Fishing1 Year
Occasional Fishing1 Year
On the Shelf3-5 Years
Functional Life Span on the Reel2 Years


The data for the monofilament line is definitely not as impressive as the data for the braided line, but remember that a larger lifespan comes with a larger price tag. Monofilament is definitely worth purchasing if you are looking for a cheaper option. It still does the job along with the other two options.

Does Fishing Line Go Bad on Spool? Now You Know

Fishing line can last a long time depending on what type it is, but it will go bad eventually on a spool. In fact, it will eventually go bad even if it is unused and stored in a cool, dark room. However, braided fishing line can last as long as an average human life if it is in the best conditions possible in terms of heat and use.

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