Do you ever think about fishing line? No, I’m not talking about whether it needs to be changed or even what type to use. I’m thinking about its beginnings.
“Why when I was a boy”……man, do my kids, grandkids, and most of our friends roll their eyes when this phrase comes out of my mouth. Guess it’s inevitable when you’re my age and have all this “experience” and stories you know everyone wants you to share. And at this stage of my life I can indeed look back well over 60 years and gather up memories of things past. Experiences had. Issues resolved.
So here I am on this snowy day where the temperature started out at 26 degrees about sunrise and has now dipped into the teens. And it’s not even noon yet. Anyway, I’m sitting here going over some new rods from G. Loomis, new reels from Shimano, and other new items we’ll be telling you about soon – and then fishing line creeps into my brain.
Ever wonder what kind of fishing line was used by prehistoric man? Or early Romans? Or Mayans? Or Incas? Or even Christopher Columbus? Well, that’s what my brain is working on right now.
Maybe early man harvested reeds or the like and then wove them into lines and ropes. We know that Egyptians used ropes they had woven to build the pyramids. Inca’s built suspension bridges over ravines, etc. using ropes they made. Maybe early man stripped long reeds really fine and then wove them into line that could be used for fishing. I’m guessing that the concept of line test wasn’t an issue. Come to think of it, pounds and ounces weren’t an issue back then either.
So, if we concede that most likely early fishing line was hand woven then what followed? Hey, you old guys know the answer, right? Woven fabric fishing line. I’m guessing that as soon as wool or other natural fabrics started being woven into fabric for clothing that replaced animal skins as haut couture for humans, fishing line was made shortly thereafter. Not being an anthropology scholar, I’d only be guessing when this was, but certainly well before the early societies of Egypt, Greece, or Rome.
By the time I was born this new fangled monofilament line was being installed on fishing reels. But not all fishing reels. Woven fishing line was still more popular and if I recall my Dad and uncles we’re very resistant to change. The woven lines they used were made from a newer synthetic fiber called Dacron which was used extensively in World War II.
Anyway, I started out with monofilament. Then came premium monofilament lines such as Stren and Trilene. Now these were far better than your run-of-the-mill 1950’s monofilament lines. First, they were actually round and concentric. And they were consistent in their diameter. And, compared to other lines, they were tough and actually broke at or above the printed line test on the spool.
I stayed with Stren for many, many years for my spinning and casting reels. I was buying it in 2500 yard spools and changing line at least 4 to 6 times a year. You see, as good as it was, it had some drawbacks like turning brittle in the sun, kinking up when stretched, having a “memory” after being put on the spool, and a few more. So it had to be changed frequently. Sidebar here – we kept it in the freezer so the spool life would be longer!
Toward the end of the 20th century fluorocarbon lines were introduced. They were amazing in their toughness but also very problematic. They were stiff, expensive, and easily installed on reel spools improperly. But as time progressed they got better. Not much cheaper, but better.
Since the year 2000 fishing lines have exploded in every way. There are hybrid lines, braided lines, new material mono lines, fluorocarbon lines that stretch, monofilament lines that sink, lines that are oval, square, and yes, round. Whatever line you think will give you an advantage over the fish is definitely out there and available to you.
Me? Hell, I still like good ole’ monofilament lines. But, no one will ever accuse me of being a “technical” fisherman either. Today I fish just to get out and enjoy nature. Yea, I like to catch fish as well as the next guy, but it doesn’t ruin my day if I don’t. At my age I’m just happy to be healthy enough to be out there in the first place. And monofilament line is simple and familiar to me. No strain. No pain.
We sell lots of technical lines and yes, they do work and are part of the gear you need to give you a bigger advantage over the fish. But sometimes it’s just fun to go backwards and use old gear – and older types of line – just for the fun of it. And folks, old guys like me always like to have fun.
Now I’m thinking about fishing hooks………………………………..
Thank you for your wonderful friendship and support. All of us here at American Legacy Fishing truly appreciate your continued loyalty and support. We feel we are so fortunate to have so many friends who share our joy and obsession with one of the world’s greatest sports. Thank you once again for all you do!