In the late 1970s there were really only two lines that the majority of anglers purchased. Of course, there were still hold outs using Garcia Royal Bonnyl and of course us nuts on the west coast using Maxima. But for the most part, I’d venture to say by 1979, greater than 90% of serious anglers used only two lines. In today’s feature, Stren vs. Trilene 1979, we’re going to talk about those lines.
What we have here today are seven ads from Stren and Trilene, the two biggest line companies at the time. I first remember these lines from the middle 1970s but Stren always stood out more because of the fluorescent blue and especially the gold lines they had.
DuPont first invented nylon line in 1937 but it had an uphill climb competing with the Dacron braids and other lines of the day. By 1959, they came out with Stren and its new properties like less memory, clear in color, and strong knot strength, changed the world of fishing. Coupled with the popularity of the spinning reel, monofilament line finally hit its stride.
Roughly at the same time, Berkley purchased the rights to produce nylon from DuPont and started manufacturing their own nylon monofilament. By the early 1960s they introduced Trilene.
These two line companies would go on to be their own main competition in the monofilament line market.
As I was going through my 1979 bass magazines I noticed that both Stren and Trilene had aggressive ad campaigns in the publications of the day. Although they only used two different ads for the entire year, both were in nearly every issue from each company. That’s some major coin to drop down.
The two-page ad for Stren, featuring Roland and Mary Ann Martin, Claudette Tircuit, Bobby Murray, The Alabama BASS Team, Jerry Odom, and Roy Garcia, was banking on their highly successful pro-staff to seel their line for them. Each one of the anglers in the ad had won a major event or, in Roland’s case, his 5th AOY title. With results like that, you couldn’t go wrong using Stren.
The next Stren ad is a bit confusing to me after looking at it a bit. Here we have Marty O’Shea of Texas fishing one of Texas’ tree-inundated reservoirs. The image has O’Shea pulling a fish out of the thickest cover. He’s using a period rod with a period reel (looks like a Speed Spool), and his trolling motor is close to the right year. But the boat looks as if it’s a 1973 or earlier Terry or Ranger TR series. The boat looks brand new, including the seats, which just baffles me with him fishing in a jungle like that. I’m sorry for going off on a tangent.
Now on to Trilene.
The two Trilene ads presented in the magazines of the year were essentially the same ad placed on a different image. In each ad Berkley talks about the difference between their XL, TS, and XT lines and where the angler should use them.
XL was extra limp and extra thin line great for spinning reels. TS was billed as being an intermediate line with limpness and toughness, while XT was just tough. I used a lot of XL and XT over the years and XL was noticeably thinner and had less memory than XT when comparing the same test lines. I don’t ever recall seeing TS and after a few years Trilene stopped manufacturing the line.
All Trilene lines came in either clear or their high-vis and after a few years they started manufacturing a green version specifically to compete on the west coast to turn the Maxima users. It didn’t work.
When I come upon a Maxima ad, I’ll write an article on that and how it ruled the west. But, for the other 47 contiguous states, Trilene and Stren were the dominant force for all monofilament line sales.
Now the two heavy hitters are owned by the same company, Pure Fishing. In 2004, Remington Arms sold their fishing-related assets, including Stren line, to Pure Fishing in 2004. Although Berkley still makes up a big share of the line sold by Pure Fishing, the Trilene brand has dropped significantly with respect to the number of products. Stren has suffered even more with only one SKU within the product line, that being the original.
Line technology has changed so much over the last 20 years and good old nylon monofilament has fallen by the wayside. But there are still plenty of uses for “mono,” I just don’t think many anglers know how or when to use it.