The Interesting Evolution of Fishing Lines

What today we consider as a past-time, or even a sport, was a means of providing food for survival for our ancestors. Fishing is of considerable antiquity. Ancient references to fishing are found throughout the world in Greek, Roman, Jewish and Assyrian writings. One of humankind’s earliest tools were the fishing rod, line and hook. Today, anglers can choose from a variety of fishing lines ranging from monofilament to braided lines. But lines had undergone a long and complex change so that today we could have only the most sophisticated and efficient choices at our disposal. Let’s start from the beginning.

Fishing Reel, Fishing Line

Ancient Records

The earliest historical records of fishing lines are found in China and date from the fourth century B.C. They were made out of silk and consisted of a single line. There’s also an Egyptian carving from 2000 B.C. that depicts a person fishing with a stick and a line, however, no clear evidence has ever been found.

Early Development

For centuries people were fishing with lines made out of animal or vegetable material that had enough strength to hold and drag out a fish. A British book written in 1496 mentioned that fishing was performed with a line made out of braided horse hair. Then, in another book from 1667 it is mentioned that fishermen used to construct their own lines from a wire loop which was attached to a pole. People continued to experiment with different types of line until the invention of synthetic materials.

Industrial Revolution

Fishing greatly benefited from the advent of machines. From the 1850, fishing lines were produced in large quantities in specialized factories. Most of those early mass-produced lines were made out of silk or linen, and more rarely out of flax or cotton. Some lines even had a waterproof compound added to them during line manufacture.

The Leap of Fishing Line Production

When DuPond announced in 1938 that the company invented a new revolutionary material called nylon, the world was aghast. This was the first synthetic fibre ever made and everyone saw the grand potential it could have on producing textiles. The next year, DuPond themselves went even further than textiles by starting to produce nylon mono lines. However, Dacron’s braided lines remained the most popular fishing line for the next two decades. But DuPont were no simple company – they knew that monofilament is an ingenious design that different anglers could benefit from.

In 1959 DuPond seized the market with the introduction of Stren, a thinner mono line that was suitable for a wide range of reels, old ones and the newly introduced spinning and spin casting tackles. Because it was flexible and easy to use, the Stren mono line soon became both beginner and expert anglers’ favourite choice.

Fishing Lines Today

Recently, other types of lines were introduced that are made completely out of artificial substances such as nylon, polyethylene, Dyneema and Dacron. However, they did not succeed in topping mono line’s popularity. Monofilament is a material that’s derived from melting and mixing polymers which are then spun into strands of lines with different thickness.

Most fishing lines are made from this material because of its supreme strength, availability in all test kinds and affordable cost. Another advantage of this kind of line is its broad colour palette including clear, white, blue, green and fluorescent. Selecting the right fishing line colour can result in buckets full of fish.

Mono also holds better than other lines when heavy fish are concerned. This is because it stretches to absorb shocks and it is uniformly round in cross section which makes it hold better to reel spools without slipping. Mono is easy and fast to tie in a knot which makes it the go-to choice when anglers need to quickly change a line, unless they miss a potential catch.