In fishing, the thin line between failure and success is literally a thin line. Monofilament, fluorocarbon or braided, the right fishing line makes the difference between landing a lunker or watching the fish swim away with your favorite lure. But there’s more to fishing line than tensile strength and strand count. With so much riding on the line, take a look between the lines at the secret life of fishing line.
10 Unusual Facts About Fishing Line
Fishing Line Through History
- The earliest documented use of fishing line dates to 400 B.C. in China. However, hieroglyphics depict Egyptian anglers using fishing lines as far back as 1,600 years ago.
- In the 1500s, European anglers made their own fishing line by braiding horsehair. After the Industrial Revolution, huge machines weaved silk or linen into fishing line. To prevent mold, the fishing line was cleaned and dried after each trip.
- Bringing the world better living through chemistry, industrial giant DuPont invented monofilament fishing line in 1939. Extruding the same nylon used in parachutes and pantyhose, DuPont’s monofilament made fishing line more reliable and less expensive.
- Since 1990, Berkley Fishing has recycled more than nine million miles of monofilament fishing line. That’s enough fishing line to fill two reel spools for every angler in America. To recycle your used fishing line, take it to any of the 17,000 collection points and Berkley will turn it into new fishing tackle.
Fishing Line in Pop Culture
- “The show where everything is made-up and the points don’t matter.” That’s how host Drew Carey started each episode of the improvisational comedy show Whose Line is it Anyway. Do you remember the episode where Colin Mochrie accused Ryan Stiles of cheating in a fly fishing competition?
- Fishermen catch fish with fishing line and sometimes fish have great lines, too. Perhaps the most famous line ever spoken by a fish was in the animated movie, Finding Nemo (2003). Who can forget a blue tang named Dori, voiced by Ellen DeGeneres, encouraging us to, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming.”
The earliest documented use of fishing line dates to 400 B.C. in China. However, hieroglyphics depict Egyptian anglers using fishing lines as far back as 1,600 years ago.
- Cat lovers can breathe a sigh of relief: Catgut fishing line is not made from cats. Instead, it is rendered from the intestines of goats, sheep and cattle. Sorry goat, sheep and cow lovers. Cat gut was a popular source of fishing line before the invention of monofilament. Today, fly fishing anglers still use the stiff, opaque material to tie flies.
Other Lines to Follow
- “Although it is generally well known, I think it’s time to announce I was born at a very young age.” Groucho Marx didn’t invent the one liner, but he did perfect the short, ironic joke with a simple setup and punch line. After all, it was Marx who famously insisted: “I would never belong to a club that would have me as a member.”
- The first documented line dance was the Madison invented in 1957 in Columbus, Ohio, and popularized on The Buddy Deane Show out of Baltimore, Maryland. The choreographed repeated dance moves feature dancers in lines and not facing each other. Today, line dances like the Macarena and electric slide are popular aunts and uncles at weddings and birthday parties.
- The game show, What’s My Line?, ran on CBS from 1950 to 1975. The show’s 700 episodes featured celebrity panelists questioning incognito celebrity contestants to guess the celebrity’s line of work. First-season guests included Boris Karloff, Jackie Robinson, Ed Sullivan and Santa Claus.
There’s more to fishing line than tensile strength and strand count. | Feature photo: Adobe Stock