Is the fishing line biodegradable? ( 5 types of fishing lines)

This article shall answer the question, “is fishing line biodegradable?”. 

It shall also cover other areas such as:

  • Categories of fishing line.
  • Types of fishing lines.
  • Properties of fishing lines.
  • Pros and cons of different fishing lines.
  • Eco-friendliness of fishing lines.

Is the fishing line biodegradable?

No, most fishing lines are made from plastic polymers acquired from crude oil.

The plastics are non-biodegradable because of the resistance of the plastic to microbial degradation.

However, recently there has been a breakthrough in the production of biodegradable fishing lines.

Bioline is a biodegradable type of fishing line acquired from organic polymers. The bioline was developed by medical researchers in the USA using the same technology they use in the manufacturing of biodegradable sutures.

Bioline polymer is resistant to UV light but it is susceptible to microbial degradation in water, soil, compost, and sediment.

What are the types of fishing lines?

Fishing lines are made from different polymer materials.

There are four main categories of fishing line materials.

  • Nylon fishing line material.
  • Braided fishing.
  • Fluorocarbon fishing line material.
  • Monofilament fishing line material.

Before we look at the individual fishing lines, let’s first take a look at the general characteristics of fishing lines.

Fishing lines possess different characteristics which make them ideal for fishing. 

Different lines have different properties but there are unique properties one should look at before deciding on the type of line to use.

  • Memory: This is the ability of a fishing line to remain straight or curly up when it is pulled off from a spool.

A lot of memory makes it hard to make knots or cast the lure far.

  • Stretch: stretchy lines maintain a good tension while one is fighting a fish.

However, too much stretch gives one less precision and feedback, making it hard to set the hook.

  • Shock strength: Good shock or impact strength is good because it stops hard-hitting fish from breaking the line.
  • Abrasion resistance: A good fishing line should have a good abrasion resistance to remain effective even after scratches.
  • Buoyancy: This is the ability of a line to float on water. Both the sinking and the floating abilities are important. Highly buoyant lines are good for topwater fishing while sinking lines are good for deep water fishing.
  • Visibility: The visibility of a line determines if the fish will bite the lure or not. Highly visible lines alert the fish against biting the lure.

Nylon fishing line.

These are fishing lines made from nylon plastic material.

The nylon fishing lines are popular in bass fishing due to their strength and ease of tying knots.

Nylon is a thermoplastic synthetic fiber made from petrochemical products, with the main monomer used being diamine acid.

It is one of the most used fabrics in industries today.

Properties of nylon.

Nylon has the following properties.

  • High abrasion resistance.
  • High tensile strength.
  • It is highly elastic.
  • High resistance to sunlight.
  • It is highly durable.
  • It is hygroscopic; it absorbs water.
  • It is less crystalline.
  • It is clear and transparent.
  • It can be dyed into different colors.
  • It has a high melting point.
  • It is less flammable.

Braided fishing line material.

This is one of the oldest fishing lines.  They were initially made from natural fibers such as cotton, silk, and linen. 

Today, the braided fishing line is made from synthetic polyethylene materials like Dacron, micro-Dyneema, and spectra.

The properties of braided fishing lines.

They include the following:

  • They have a low resistance to abrasions.
  • They have a smaller diameter than monofilament or fluorocarbon lines therefore, longer braided lines can be used than monofilament and fluorocarbon.
  • They are less elastic.
  • They are very flexible.
  • It can float on water.
  • It is the strongest fishing line.
  • It has low memory.
  • It is hard to make knots
  • It is tough.
  • It is non-recyclable.

Disadvantages of braided fishing lines.

Braided fishing lines have the following disadvantages.

  • They are very visible in water and therefore fish spot them easily.
  • When cut with nail clippers, it makes frayed ends, and therefore it should be cut with a sharp pair of scissors.
  • Braided lines are hard to make knots because of their flexibility and lack of elasticity.

Fluorocarbon fishing line.

Fluorocarbon fishing lines are made of a fluorocarbon polymer that is almost invisible to fish due to its high refractive index.

The line contains closely packed hydrocarbon molecules which help in transmitting more energy than monofilament, so it sends more signals of light bites and also helps one detect if the lure is ticking the bottom.

Properties of fluorocarbon fishing line.

The following are the properties of the fluorocarbon fishing line.

  • It is invisible to the fish due to its high refractive index.
  • It is abrasion-resistant.
  • Its high density makes it easily sink into the water.
  • It has the same knot strength as the monofilament line.
  • It has a high memory.
  • It has low absorbency.
  • It has a high specific gravity.
  • It has a high shock strength.
  • It is very expensive.

Monofilament fishing line.

This is a fishing line made from a single plastic fiber. It is the most common type of fishing line material.

It is made by melting and mixing polymers and then extruding the polymer mixture through tiny holes, making strands, which are then modeled into different thicknesses.

Properties of monofilament fishing line.

  • It can be produced in a range of diameters with different tensile strengths.
  • It can be manufactured in different colors.
  • It contains one strand of plastic fiber.
  • It can absorb water, making it hard to make knots and reducing its sensitivity.
  • It degrades with time.
  • It is affected by light, heat, and salt water.
  • It is cheap and easy to use.
  • It casts smoothly and it’s easy to make knots.
  • It has low memory.
  • It has a high shock strength.
  • It is highly buoyant, and hence it is good for top water fishing.

Uses of monofilament lines.

Monofilaments can be used in the following ways.

  • In making fishing lines.
  • Used in medicine to test the sense of touch.
  • It is used for string trimmers.
  • Used to make strings for musical instruments.
  • It is used as a sewing thread.

The negative impact on the environment.

Monofilaments have the following effects on the environment.

  • Due to their high invisibility in water, they usually entangle aquatic animals such as fish and birds, causing starvation, amputation, and death.
  • When ingested by aquatic animals, it causes poisoning.
  • The strings also pose a threat to divers and swimmers.
  • It breaks down into microplastics which may cause starvation or poisoning of aquatic life.

Copolymer fishing line:

This is an improved version of the monofilament fishing line. It contains two or more different materials, usually different nylon plastics.

The copolymer fishing line has the following properties:

  • It has a lower stretch than monofilament.
  • It has a high shock strength.
  • It has lower memory.
  • It is easy to make knots.
  • It has a higher abrasion resistance than monofilament.
  • Unlike monofilament, it has low buoyancy.

Eco-friendliness of fishing lines.

Fishing lines, as we have covered, are made from different materials and therefore they have different effects on the environment.

According to a study on biodegradable, Biolines are fishing lines made from biodegradable polymers. These types of lines have no negative effects on the environment.

Monofilament and braided fishing lines are made from nylon material. The lines are degraded by UV radiation and therefore their negative effects are minimized.

However, they take long periods to degrade and therefore they affect marine life for some time.

Microfilaments and braid lines may also break down into microplastics which upon ingestion by the fish and other aquatic life, they cause poisoning.

Fluorocarbon fishing lines are made from thick fluorocarbon polymers. These materials are non-biodegradable and non-recyclable and they, therefore, cause water pollution.


This article has covered the biodegradability of different fishing materials.

It has also covered other areas such as;

  • Types of fishing lines.
  • Properties of different fishing lines.
  • The eco-friendliness of fishing lines.

For any questions or comments please use the comment section below.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): is the fishing line biodegradable?

How long does it take for a fishing line to decompose?

Different materials of fishing lines take different times to decompose. It is estimated that nylon containing monofilament and braided fishing lines may take up to 600 years to decompose. 

There are efforts underway to develop biodegradable fishing lines, an example is bioline which is biodegradable.

What plastic is a fishing line?

Fishing lines are usually made from nylon and polyethylene polymers.

What is a copolymer fishing line?

This is a type of fishing line made by blending polymer materials; like two nylon plastics or nylon and polyethylene.


McNally, Bob (2 August 2019), How to Pick the Right Kind of Fishing Line, Outdoor World (published August 2, 2019)

Ben Hartsfield. Monofilament vs fluorocarbon vs braided fishing lines: Fishing lines, Lures, and Rigs 

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Greg Dickson ( Van Isle Marina). Different Types of Fishing Lines and Their Uses:

An overview of the different types of fishing lines and how to select the right line for the right fish.

Retrieved from:

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