Words and photos by Chris Funk
I am not alone in saying that I have stared at the ragged end of an empty line where a lure and nice fish used to be. The worst of those experiences are when I had previously told myself "you really ought to retie that…" With 100 percent certainty, big momma will ruin your day when you notice an issue with your line and don't remedy it.
The line is the one link between us and the prize and way too often we take it for granted. We have learned which knots we like the best and discussions about which is better and why can be found all over the Internet. Most of us have the three or four that we trust and we tie them well so what seems to be the issue?
The issue is that no line is 100 percent abrasion resistant. Some lines are better than others but all lines will fail after they start to chafe and fray. The places folks need to particularly pay attention to is the last inch or so right above the knot and the knot itself. Fish teeth can be sharp or abrasive and will do a number on line.
You rarely see the pros on television stop and retie but that is just because the networks don't want to waste airtime. You better believe they are checking and retying a lot if not after every fish. Imagine the cost of losing a good fish in a tournament to a problem that they could have prevented! When you hook a fish, look at where the line is. If there is any way it could have made contact with the teeth, it is best to cut off and tie again.
Sandy areas are another reason to check your line regularly. You may have seen a product that shows this type of abrasion; it's called sandpaper! The line in the example photo was only fished with for a short time and the damage can be plainly seen. If your line turns milky looking or rough to the touch, cut off that lure and start over. The sand has done its damage and failure is not far away.
Rocks and oysters can create their own special issues. Oysters can cut line with very little effort and usually leave long scratches down the length of the line. They are often accompanied by small curly strands at the end of the scratch. This will end badly if you hook a sizable fish. Rocks can abrade line and since a lot of us fish rock structure we need to pay close attention.
Another issue with rocks is while casting if the lure impacts the rocks the knot can be damaged. If you zing a lure off a rock wall, take the time to retie again. It will prevent that empty look of heartbreak when the next biggun hits! By taking the time to inspect and be aware anglers can make sure their next hook set has a happy ending.
Jackson Kayak pro staffer Chris Funk is a proud self-proclaimed redneck outdoorsman. He swings a mean camera, particularly when any of his beloved critters are around. Funk is a Kayak Fish Magazine contributing editor.