Merwin on Biodegradable Fishing Line

John Merwin reports on a biodegradable fishing line manufactured by Bioline (recently purchased by Wright-McGill). Even though the material is larger-diameter than most nylon tippets and may cost twice as much, does the environmental-friendless of the product make it the best choice for fly fishers? “The Bioline tippet does seem workable as a leader material. And unlike discarded or lost nylon–which is a substantial environmental hazard–it will biodegrade fairly quickly. (The makers say, by the way, that full strength is retained for 8 to 10 months.)”

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  • jfwells

    I bought some Bioline about 6 months ago and was completely unsatisfied with it. It had a distinct whitish tint that made it very visible in the water, and did not play well with other leader materials. Every time I got a fish on, the blood knot would cut through the mono. Finally, I tried testing it out right after tying the knot and sure enough it would snap.

  • Gary Soucie

    When I was at AUDUBON magazine, we tested kraft paper, polyethylene bags, and biodegradable polyethylene bags by having our sanctuary managers expose them to the elements in different environments (Florida swamps, Maine lobster pots, southwestern deserts, etc.). We wanted to see what was the environmental friendliest way to protect our magazines in the mails. None of the materials appeared to be particularly prone to rapid degradation in any of the environments. Sometimes, litter is just plain litter.
    And in my experience, the vast majority of monofilament problems do not involve tippets but yards and yards of fishing lines.
    Gary Soucie
    Williamstown, MA

  • J. A. Kissane

    If it isn’t labeled properly with respect to diameter or strength, and it doesn’t knot well with otehr materials, and it isn’t as clear as nylon or fluorcarbon, and there seems doubts about its degradability – where is the real up side to this stuff? Bubba the baitslinger isn’t going to poney up $30/year to re-string his spinning reel with this stuff so he doesn’t litter the stream with line every time he snags his minnows or Power Bait in the rootwads. It’s preaching to the choir, and if it’s not a good product (i.e. not what it proports to be) then no one will buy it.
    If, on the other hand, W&McGill do some quality control and improve it, then there’s another story. They’re not novices and they may see something the original mfg. co. didn’t.
    Just my $0.02 worth
    Joe Kissane