How Old Is Your Line?


Click to see the full ad.

With all the fancy new lines at our disposal as anglers, we sometimes forget a little about the beginnings of the most basic, yet arguably most important component of many a bassin’ outfit – monofilament line. Can you guess when one of the most popular brands of monofilament, Trilene, hit the market? This black and white ad should get you close to the answer.

Yes, back in 1967 when this ad appeared in the June issue of Fishing News, there was no XT, XL or Big Game. There was just one version of monofilament line from Berkley and it was called “Trilene”. Looking back at documents, first use in commerce of ‘Trilene’ was listed as Sept. 17, 1958. The name was filed for trademark a week later, and registration was issued on May 17, 1960. So when did Berkley split off the line into different versions?

Berkley 1979 ad for it's 3 versions of Trilene

Berkley 1979 ad for it’s 3 versions of Trilene

According to those same documents, Trilene XL didn’t come about until 1971, about 4 years after the black and white ad above published. Trilene XT and it’s companion Trilene TS didn’t hit the market until 1977. You say you don’t remember Trilene TS? A look at another ad, this 1979 Trilene ad (right) pictures all three versions, part of their Trilene Strategy. The XL line was “extra limp”, while the XT “extra tough”. TS actually fell in the middle of the two, giving a combination of good castability with more toughness than XL. In the long run, Berkley must have decided that the two versions on the ends of the management spectrum were all that were needed, or perhaps were simply the two that sold best.

And just to complete the story, the other long running Berkley line product that has gained a strong following over all these years, “Big Game” monofilament, came about in 1985, nearly 28 years ago. Kind of scary to think about how long it’s been since I picked up my first spool of the stuff and loaded it onto my reels. I still have some bulk spools sitting in the garage that I use to this day in certain applications.

  • Jojo Norwood

    I remember it came in a little plastic box w/ 2 spools that were conected together….I think they were only 110 yards on each of them. Handy little box for hooks n sinkers, but rubber worms would eat them up…..

    • Yep Jojo, I remember that too. Man the plastic worms would eat the heck out of ’em!

  • I like the pricing. Eight buck or so for 1000 yards.
    A lot of the stores used to price the 2 connected spools separately, because, “Who would spend almost four bucks on fishing line!”
    I still have a spool of 30# Big Game from who knows when, that I use as leader when I go topwater striper fishing. Still can’t break the stuff.
    Speaking of old line ads, good friend of mine was one of the top advertising photogs in NY back in the day, and he hired me as a “consultant” for a 3 day photo shoot that was to amount to the “action” part of a composite print ad for DuPont Prime (the first time they were going to introduce it) Spent two days fishing for “models” and taking DuPont execs out fishing, and one day burning film — 3500 frames worth. In the end, the ad was never used, as the line had “technical issues” that delayed its release for a year or two.

    • Four bucks for a spool of line> Heck, even back in the day Garcia Bonyl was more expensive than that. Stuff cast like a slinky but it sure did tangle a spinning reel like no other. 🙂

      As for the DuPont boondoggle, I’d like to have been on a few of those with you Rich.