Do fly lines degrade?

teviothead

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Hello,

For family/work reasons I haven't done much fishing over the past four or five years.

Anyway, having decided to remedy that (post lockdown) I hauled my fishing box down from the loft and did a bit of an audit.

I've never been a tackle queen, but I do seem to have collected a lot of reels. They all appear to be in good order, but as the lines and braided loops are mostly 10+ years old I was wondering if I should be concerned about their condition. As I say, they look fine, but I don't know if they are prone to degrade over time.

Only ever used on fresh water and always stored in dark conditions. Any advice welcome.

Thanks,

TH
 

arkle

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More than likely, given your chosen storage area, The floater's might be able to be (partially) revived if they're pvc. by a careful application or two of Permaplas. However, given the extremes of tempertures we've had, it's pretty unlikely t.b.h.
 

3lbgrayling

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I have some lines that are 10+ years old and still good..If they look good/feel good after a wash/ clean you have nothing to lose.

Jim.
 

jimmcl

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They undoubtedly do - I was fishing the Spey a few years ago, and using an old, and well used Rio AFS line, which I knew was on the edge of being retired. Casting became difficult, so I stripped the line from the rod and replaced it with a brand new one I'd picked up locally, and all was right again. When I got home I weighed them both on accurate scales to find that the old one had lost 3 grammes compared to the new one which was spot on the makers specification.
 

glueman

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Nylon degrades under UV
So do a lot of plastics of one sort or another.
UPVC the stuff your windows are made from slowly degrades especially early versions of it before stabelizers were blended in
 

BobP

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A quick test will be to spool them off and see if they are badly coiled. Some coiling is to be expected but should be able to straighten out. If they won't then i'm afraid it's the bin.
 

pentlandflyman

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a good clean and a stretch, apply some line conditioners then see how they look and feel, spending a few hours doing this could save you a fortune.
 

speytime

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I had three 333 lines of my dads, they had to be 15+ years old, I was thinking of making a shooting head with one last year, to me it looked, felt and cast fine, in the end I didn't cut into them I passed them on, the recipient was happy with them.
They were lightly used and stored in the dark.
 

flathead

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I have a flourescent red Courtland 444 (#6 DT ) which I cut into a shooting head over 35 years ago. It is still going strong and nearly as good as new.

I think Shooting heads take a lot less wear, except on the running line which I change when needed.

I also refuse to use snake ring and always put lined rings on my rod.

Snake rings are awful for line wear...and not much better for anything else.
 

ian1104

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Give them a try first! Some are likely to be fine!
 
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Secret Angler

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Cracking is the main problem. You'll soon know if you run it between your fingers. But they do last some years before they deteriorate.
 

original cormorant

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It's difficult to remember how old my temperate lines are but I can date several tropical lines to about 20 years old. These are in good condition and I see no need to replace them.

The conditions for storing lines are important - you say stored in the loft so that means dark which is good, but in the summer this can mean very hot which is not good.
 

original cormorant

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They undoubtedly do - I was fishing the Spey a few years ago, and using an old, and well used Rio AFS line, which I knew was on the edge of being retired. Casting became difficult, so I stripped the line from the rod and replaced it with a brand new one I'd picked up locally, and all was right again. When I got home I weighed them both on accurate scales to find that the old one had lost 3 grammes compared to the new one which was spot on the makers specification.
I'm sceptical about this 3 grams is 46 grains - (don't know what weight line you were using) but that seems a helluva lot. What do you believe was the substance that the line had lost?
 

taffy1

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I've an old Mullarkey's fast sink mill end line attached to a reel somewhere in my bag, it gets an airing every now & again when circumstances dictates, must be getting on for 25 years.
 

ohanzee

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If coiled on a reel too tight for too long they can hold the coils, 10 mins in water should be enough to make a line usable, apart from that and serious old age circumference cracks there is nothing to deteriorate in normal temperatures.
 

Paul_B

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Cracking is the main problem. You'll soon know if you run it between your fingers. But they do last some years before they deteriorate.
It seems that its more common with harder action rods and cleaning with a harsh cleaner (washing up liquid included).
Some lines are effected more than others.
 

JohnH

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I go along with the feedback above that fly lines can potentially have a long useful life. I bought a "home made sink tip shooting head", as recommended by Bob Church, in 1978 and didn't finally bin it until the early 2000s, many trout having been caught on it. Eventually the plasticiser does run out.

Some aspects of use can shorten the life of a fly line, and the running section of WF lines is always something to keep an eye on. There can potentially be cracking around where the back taper joins the running line due to hinging when casting. And watch out if you bank fish a gravel pit fishery because the abrasive effect of the sand and tiny gravel pieces picked up when you drop the retrieved line will rapidly kn*cker it. Maybe a case for a line tray ?
 

jimmcl

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I'm sceptical about this 3 grams is 46 grains - (don't know what weight line you were using) but that seems a helluva lot. What do you believe was the substance that the line had lost?
It was a 42 gramme Rio AFS (10/11), that fell to 39 Grammes when weighed. A new one was spot on. I think it was the plasticiser that had evaporated over time & through use.
 

The Barbless Crook.

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The only line I've had that has degraded was the last 2 airflo di7's. They get used once or twice per year so are in my box for long periods. After 2 season's they just fall apart.

T.B.C.
 

original cormorant

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It was a 42 gramme Rio AFS (10/11), that fell to 39 Grammes when weighed. A new one was spot on. I think it was the plasticiser that had evaporated over time & through use.
Ok thanks, far too scientific for me to follow up further but intuitively it doesn't feel right to me that a fly line has that much "evaporatable" content.
 

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