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Solving Fishing Line “Memory” Issues for Anglers

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For those who are serious anglers and have been fishing for some time, you're likely familiar with the term "memory" for fishing lines. Referring to issues of flexibility in the fishing line, memory issues may lead to issues with everything from casting distance to snarls -- but luckily, there are some simple ways to either avoid or get rid of them if they're causing issues.

At Pybus Point Lodge, our fantastic Alaska fishing tours are led by some of the most experienced guides in the state. They can assist you with everything from locating the species you're most interested in catching to helping you with line or reel problems, including for advanced anglers dealing with regular memory issues and looking to remedy them. What exactly is fishing line memory, when does it become problematic, and how can you avoid or remove it from your line? Here's a basic primer.

Fishing Line Properties

To understand fishing line memory, you first have to understand how fishing lines are created. They're formulated with several specific properties that will make them helpful for catching fish, including each of the following:

  • Abrasion resistance: This is the ability to resist damage from rocks, other submerged objects, and even fish teeth.
  • Diameter: A thinner line will help you to avoid spooking fish, but may be more easily damaged or broken.
  • Elasticity: Stretching or lack thereof for a given line is a significant and obvious problem.
  • Breaking strength: Some lines may break under certain levels of force, and you'll want to know about the breaking point in case you get snagged or run into problems.
  • Knot strength: In addition to the basic knot that you'll need to tie your line through your hook or lure, differences in how quickly and easily a line can be tied without causing issues is an important consideration.
  • Visibility: This is especially relevant for fly fishing and night time fishing, where you want to be sure that your line can be seen and followed by others.
  • Flexibility: Finally, flexibility is a major factor for fishing lines -- and this is where "memory" comes into play. More below.

Fishing Line Flexibility and Memory

In many circles, fishing line flexibility will simply be referred to as memory -- but it's important to know how this works. Lines with low memory will actually have high flexibility, and are called limp lines; the term signifies that due to their strong flexibility, they can quickly return to their original shape after a period of being bent or twisted. Lines with high memory will often retain their original shape for much longer, meaning they actually have low flexibility.

For many anglers, issues arise when their lines have too high a memory. When a line stays in the same position for too long at once, it becomes more and more likely to develop memory problems. One common sign of this is when you pull the line off the spool and find a significant amount of coiling.

There are several ways a high fishing line memory can impact your day on the water:

  • Limiting casting distance: If your line coils too much or it's otherwise unable to flex properly, this can significantly limit the range that you're able to cast. This is especially problematic if you're using heavier lures (or even fly fishing), as you'll need more length of line out in order to get the lures where you want them.
  • Snarl formation: While the best way to avoid snarls is to use a high-quality fishing line such as Spiderwire, tapered lines (or other low memory lines) can help you avoid them even when your main line does suffer from issues.
  • Impacting bait performance: This is especially true if you're using live bait, as the ability to track your baits can be significantly hindered by high memory issues. Even with lures, issues with casting distance may lead to fish being spooked due to problems with your presentation -- or simply not being able to cover enough water.

Avoiding or Removing Issues of Fishing Line Memory

Luckily, there are several ways you can steer clear of the issues we listed above, including:

  • Avoidance: The simplest way to never deal with memory issues in your fishing line is to avoid them to begin with, and this starts with selection of the right fishing line. Look for large-diameter spool, for starters, and also don't simply go for the cheapest line you can find. You want a flexible material that won't hold a certain position for too long.
  • Storage: If you have a small-spool fishing reel, however, storage is one of your top concerns. Make sure that you don't leave the line out on the spool for too long at once, and be certain to store it in a dark place when not using it.
  • Stretching: One good method of removing memory from fishing line is to stretch it out. Take 50 to 75 feet of line off the reel, then tie the end to a strong object and work your way up and down the line, stretching it as you go. You should see a noticeable difference after just a few minutes of doing this.
  • Soaking: Another possible way of removing memory from fishing line is to soak it in water for several hours to overnight. While this won't be as simple as stretching the line, it does help with memory issues.
  • Replacing: If you've tried out both of the above methods and your line is still suffering too much from memory issues, then replacement might be necessary. Consider switching to a tapered or superline option, which will have less memory issues, regardless of the size diameter.

For more on dealing with memory issues in your fishing line, or to learn about any of our Alaskan fishing trips or other wildlife adventures, speak to the team at Pybus Point Lodge today.

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Andrea Tate

Incredible Experience!

Pybus Point Lodge has some of the most stunning scenery I’ve ever seen. I mean absolutely breathtaking! In addition to the amazing fishing, I hiked to a beautiful secluded lake, soaked in some hot pots, saw several waterfalls, went whale watching, saw bears and all kinds of wildlife and marine life. As a photographer, photographing a wedding under a waterfall will remain a highlight of my life.

Shirley Johnson

Pybus Point Lodge - WOW!

We had the best time! This was our first visit to Pybus, but it definitely will not be our last. The stunning scenery, amazing fishing experience, and the joy of meeting new friends – all outstanding! We did not want to leave!!! If you are thinking about this trip – don’t think any more, just book it. You will not regret it!!!

Sharon Hedding

Trip of a Lifetime!

We had such an amazing time the staff was so wonderful and the lodge was fantastic! capt Joe was so helpful and always doing what ever he could do to make each day special. a special thank you to both Scott and Jody for taking the time to make us feel like family. can't wait to go back next year

Jason Nielsen

Wonderful and Magical Place

We had an amazing business retreat to Pybus Point Lodge.  Everything was top notch... the fishing, the staff, the boat captains, the food, the accommodations, and especially the scenery. I really liked that Pybus took care of everything from start to finish. Chef John is an amazing cook. We had delicious hot meals the entire trip.  The cabins were amazing and very comfortable.  The fishing was awesome and that’s coming from a guy that doesn’t fish that much.

Brandon Foote

We brought home 100lbs of fish!

My wife and I spent a week at Pybus Point this Summer. We had a beautiful, private room overlooking the bay and our own new, ensuite, private bathroom. What an amazing place for couples to get away together. We set our own breakfast time, met our boat captain after, fished the day along, and returned to clean up and enjoy a nice dinner at the restaurant. Next time Alaska is on the trip list, Sherrie and I will go together, and it will be to Pybus Point!

Kent Danjanovich

Fun in Alaska

This was my first trip to Pybus Point. I stayed in one of their new cabins. The accommodations were incredible, the view onto the bay in the mornings was stunning. I loved the staff and the food was really very good. All of this and they have new boats to take you out onto fairly calm waters to fish. The fishing guides were great. Overall a great experience. Definitely going back.


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