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May 12, 2014

How to Pick Your Fishing Line Color

Color counts when choosing your braided and spectra fishing lines.

(Be sure to click through all the images in the gallery above.)

"Why is your line pink?” I joked to a fishing buddy years ago.

“It used to be red; I never would have picked pink braid!” he snapped back quickly.

The truth is, he isn’t the only angler to ­experience “faded-braid syndrome” over the past decade. Symptoms include seeing a dramatic change in polyethylene line (spun from strands of Dyneema or Spectra), with reds turning to pinks, yellows reverting to whites, and dark greens waning to lime.

Since anglers discovered the fading, line ­companies have been proactive, spurred by anglers’ buying habits. New, different proprietary techniques are now used by manufacturers to get as much lasting color out of their line as possible.

No single color of braided line has ever proved to cause fish to bite more readily, but that shouldn’t preclude fishermen from being mindful when selecting line. For this column, we’re not accounting for any other features involved in today’s braids — just color. Consider these factors the next time you’re among a polychromatic smorgasbord of lines.

Coat of Armor

Braided line is in a constant battle with color; ­polyethylene (PE) fiber is naturally a white, opaque color. One unshakable property of braid is that it’s hydrophobic, causing dyed colors to bleed. Companies use specific processes (held close to the vest) to maintain dyed color firmly in their braids.

For example, Cortland’s proprietary process is called Fiber Tech. But any number of methods used by different manufacturers have the same purpose, to drastically reduce color fading and increase durability.

“Polyethylene fiber cannot be dyed like ­traditional fibers, since you cannot bond a dye molecule to this class of fiber,” says Konrad Krauland, PowerPro’s division president. “This leaves ‘painting,’ or surface coating, the only option. PowerPro has made significant advancement in recent years in both our coating system as well as resin management in our Enhanced Body Technology process, making colors far more stable and longer lasting on current line than even five years ago.

"Manufactured coatings are vital to keep the color of braided lines, and the companies that best figure out how to capture color have the advantage.

“We’ve developed a process to color PE fibers so lines won’t shed or bleed immediately,” says Ted Thibault, sales manager at TUF-Line. “The coating on TUF-Line XP features true, permanent coloration and abrasion resistance for a long service life with zero shedding.”

TUF-Line’s SuperCast takes it one step further. Because SuperCast has a mono core and braided outside, TUF-Line can heat it, extrude it, and add slickness and coating so that “it feels like mono, acts more like a braid, but makes permanent coloration possible,” Thibault explains.

Ben Miller, project manager at Sufix, cautions anglers from believing there is a cure-all method to maintaining perfect coloration in PE lines. There are just too many factors ­manipulating the line, he says.

“Coatings added after a line is dyed definitely help retain color,” says Miller, “but coating eventually comes off.” Even acidity affects coloration, he says. The higher the acid content in water — the saltier the water — the more likely the line is to lose color.

Wear-and-tear is also a detriment: Abrasion affects the color of the PE line physically. That’s partly why Sufix 832 Advanced Superline puts a priority on abrasion resistance. In 1,000 cycles of use, Sufix 832 had little abrasion and still a consistent round profile, according to line tests by Sufix.