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What Is Fishing Line Memory

What is fishing line memory and how do you check to see if your current setup is dealing with it?

Fishing line is specifically formulated with certain properties to make it useful for catching fish. Among those properties are abrasion resistance, breaking strength, diameter, elasticity (stretch or lack thereof), knot strength, visibility, and flexibility.

Some of these properties can pose difficulties, none more so than flexibility, which is usually referred to as memory or fishing line memory. Lines with low memory (high flexibility) are called limp, and lines with high memory (low flexibility) are called stiff.

What is Fishing Line Memory?

Most lines take a set when wrapped around the spool of a fishing reel, especially if the line stays in that position unused. The longer the line stays in that position, the greater the chance that the set becomes prominent and/or problematic. You’ll recognize fishing line memory when you pull line off the spool and find a significant amount of coiling. This can impact castability (reducing distance), contribute to snarls, and affect the appearance and performance of some lures or bait. Memory is more likely to form on spinning and spincasting reels.

How to Avoid or Remove Memory from Fishing Line

There are steps you can take to decrease the chance of having line memory or to remove memory from fishing line.

Start by purchasing good-quality fishing line, not bargain products. Buying line that comes on a large-diameter spool is also helpful. People who have reels filled at tackle shops generally don’t have to remove memory from fishing line because the shop uses a huge-diameter bulk-supply spool to take line from.

Avoid keeping a rod and reel outside, exposed to sunlight and temperature changes. Store it in a relatively stable environment inside to maximize the life and condition of the line. If line is low on the spool, refill with fresh line.

To remove memory from fishing line, try stretching it. Take 50 to 75 feet of line off the reel, tie the end to a stout object, then wrap your gloved hand around the other end of the line and pull firmly.

Another option is to soak the line, particularly nylon monofilament, which relaxes when it absorbs water. Remove the spool from the reel and soak it in a bowl of warm water for a while. An hour should do it, but for best results you’ll need to soak it in advance of fishing. If you discover a fishing line memory problem at the lake, try soaking the spool for a short while before using it.

We hope these tips help you identify if you are experiencing line memory on your setup and if so, how to fix.