Braided fishing line and duck decoys are a bad mix

Waterfowlers will do well to stick with traditional anchor lines on dekes and not try to take a short cut with braided fishing line. (Photo by Mike Schoonveld)

Recently, I needed to replace the anchor lines on several of my duck decoys. There are several kinds available but being old school, I just use the old fashioned dark brown or green nylon cord. I usually have some; I thought I had some but if so, it had been misplaced. However, while checking in various drawers and other hidey-holes, I came upon a spool of 150 pound test braided fishing line. Why I had a spool of 150-pound line is another story.

Colored a deep, almost black-green, the color was perfect and being about 100 times thinner than my usual decoy anchor cord, it would be undetectable to the ducks. I often hunt for the smartest-ever ducks which, I’m sure, always circle a flock of ducks before landing with them, checking to see if any of them look to have anchor lines attached to their bellies.

The 150-pound-test line would certainly be strong enough. I’m not sure of the test-strength of regular decoy string, but since my anchors weigh only about a quarter-pound, I knew 150 pounds strong would do.

Great idea, eh?

Partially great, mostly a disaster.

Great first. It proved strong enough. Second, I hunted with those decoys several days. Not one duck flared from spotting the anchor lines.

The bad, starting with setting the decoys in the dark. Even with a headlamp on my hat, the line was hard to see. Seeing it was plenty easy in the direct beam, but in the shadows it disappeared.

Wearing gloves – you better be wearing gloves with this line – it was hard to grip. Bare fingered, the risk of getting a line cut is real – even 150 test is thin enough to cut through skin. Want to see my scars?

I use strap anchors which wrap around the decoy’s neck to keep the anchors from dangling and tangling. It works about 11 out of 12 times, with any kind of decoy line. But I was hunting using three dozen decoys. Do the math.

I don’t know which was worse, untangling a braided line tangled with a nylon cord anchor line or untangling two braided line anchor rodes. Neither added much contentment to the morning.

One last downside to the braided anchor line. It has to do with inadvertently running over the braided line with an electric trolling motor. Not good, but an outboard would have been worse. Luckily, from one sense, the outboard wouldn’t start.

Take heed, my duck hunting friends. Stock up with decoy line and store it where it can be found when needed. When in need, and all duck hunters will be in need eventually, forgo using braided fishing line as a substitute. Some plans just won’t fall into place.

Categories: Bloggers on Hunting, Michigan – Mike Schoonveld, Waterfowl

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