Do You Need To Soak Fishing Line?

Last Updated on September 29, 2023

As avid anglers, we know that proper line preparation is crucial for a successful and enjoyable fishing experience. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or just starting out, knowing when and how to prepare your fishing line can make a significant difference in your results on the water.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the concept of soaking a fishing line, its purpose, and the considerations surrounding this practice. So, let’s dive in and unravel the mysteries of soaking a fishing line.

The Purpose of Soaking Fishing Line

One of the main benefits of soaking is the reduction of memory in the fishing line. Over time, fishing lines can develop coils and twists, commonly known as memory. Soaking the line helps to relax and straighten it, allowing for smoother and more accurate casts. By minimizing memory, we can cast further and with greater precision, increasing our chances of a successful catch.

While soaking can be beneficial for various types of fishing lines, it is particularly advantageous for monofilament and fluorocarbon lines. Monofilament lines tend to exhibit more memory, and soaking them before use can significantly improve their performance. Fluorocarbon lines, on the other hand, benefit from soaking as it helps to reduce any residual stiffness and improve their overall manageability.

One common misconception is that soaking fishing lines increases their strength. While soaking may temporarily improve the line’s flexibility and casting performance, it does not fundamentally alter its strength. The line’s strength is determined by its material and diameter, which remain unchanged by soaking.

Soaking does not eliminate all memory from the line, but it does help to reduce it. It’s essential to approach soaking fishing lines with realistic expectations and understand their purpose as a line preparation technique.

When and How to Soak Fishing Line

Consider soaking the line when it’s new or when you notice signs of memory, such as coils or twists. Also, if the line has been stored for an extended period, soaking can help revitalize its performance. However, it’s important to note that braided lines and some advanced fishing lines do not require soaking.

To properly soak the fishing line, follow these simple steps.

  1. Begin by filling a clean container, such as a bucket or sink, with lukewarm water.
  2. Submerge the fishing line in the water, ensuring that it is fully immersed. Let the line soak for approximately 15 to 30 minutes, allowing the water to penetrate the line and relax any memory. During this time, gently agitate the line with your hands to promote even soaking.
  3. After the designated soaking period, remove the line from the water and dry it thoroughly before spooling it onto your reel.

In warmer climates or when fishing in hot weather, consider soaking the line for a slightly shorter duration to prevent potential heat-related line weakening. Conversely, if you’re targeting larger or stronger fish species, you may opt for a longer soaking period to ensure better line performance and durability during intense battles.

Alternative Line Preparation Methods

While soaking is a common method of preparing fishing lines, there are alternative approaches that can achieve similar results. Let’s explore some of these methods:

  1. Stretching: Instead of soaking, stretching the fishing line can help reduce memory and improve its performance. To stretch the line, secure one end to a stationary object and apply gentle tension while running your hands along the length of the line. Repeat this process several times, gradually increasing the tension. It’s important to be cautious and not overstretch the line, as it can lead to damage or reduced strength.
  2. Conditioning: Conditioning the fishing line involves applying a line conditioner or lubricant to reduce friction and enhance its casting capabilities. These products can help minimize memory and improve the line’s overall performance.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When it comes to soaking fishing lines, there are common mistakes and misconceptions that anglers should be aware of. Let’s explore these mistakes and learn how to avoid them:

  1. Excessive soaking time: Oversoaking can cause the line to become overly saturated, leading to reduced strength and performance. It’s important to follow the recommended soaking time specified by the manufacturer or based on expert advice.
  2. Using hot water: Some anglers believe that using hot water during the soaking process can help improve the line’s performance. However, hot water can actually weaken the line and cause it to lose its integrity. Stick to using cool or lukewarm water for soaking.
  3. Neglecting line condition: Soaking fishing lines is just one aspect of proper line maintenance. Neglecting other crucial aspects, such as cleaning, drying, and storage, can still lead to line degradation and decreased performance.

To ensure proper line preparation and avoid potential pitfalls, here are some tips and guidance:

  1. Prioritize line cleanliness: Before soaking, make sure to clean the fishing line thoroughly. Remove any dirt, debris, or salt deposits by gently wiping the line with a clean cloth or using a mild line cleaner. This helps maintain its performance and longevity.
  2. Proper drying after soaking: After soaking, ensure that the fishing line is adequately dried before use. Excess moisture can promote the growth of mold or mildew and weaken the line. Hang the line in a well-ventilated area or use a clean towel to gently dry it.
Alternative Line Preparation Methods

Here are some general tips for maintaining and caring for your fishing line:

  1. Avoid extreme temperatures: Exposure to extreme heat or cold can degrade the line’s strength and performance. Store your fishing line in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and extreme temperature fluctuations.
  2. Regular inspection: Regularly inspect the fishing line for any signs of damage, such as fraying, nicks, or abrasions. Replace any compromised sections to ensure the line’s integrity during fishing.
  3. Proper storage: Store your fishing line properly by using line spools, line holders, or tackle boxes designed to prevent tangling and protect the line from UV rays and moisture.

Can fishing line dry rot?

Monofilament lines are typically changed every year, although braid lines can last two or three years. Braid does not dry rot or have line memory concerns like mono. Braid is much more sensitive than mono, so you may feel the biting immediately.

Is soaking fishing line necessary for all types of fishing?

It’s not mandatory for all types of fishing, but anglers who experience issues like memory coils (line retaining its shape) often soak their line to reduce this problem.

Can I add any substances to the soaking water to enhance the line’s properties?

Some anglers add line conditioning solutions or specialized products designed to improve line manageability during soaking. Always follow the product instructions.

Can soaking fishing line remove memory coils completely?

Soaking can reduce memory coils, but it might not eliminate them entirely, especially if the line has been coiled for a long time.

Are there alternatives to soaking for reducing memory in fishing lines?

Yes, techniques like stretching the line gently or using a line conditioner before fishing can also help reduce memory without soaking. Experiment with different methods to find what works best for your specific line type and brand.


As an angler, it’s important to experiment and find the line preparation method that works best for your fishing style and preferences. Every angler may have their own approach based on their experiences and fishing conditions. By exploring different techniques and considering the specific requirements of your fishing endeavors, you can enhance your overall fishing performance.

So, whether you choose to soak your fishing line or explore alternative methods, remember to prioritize line care and maintenance. With proper preparation, you can set yourself up for successful fishing outings and enjoy memorable moments on the water. Happy fishing!

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