Sunday, April 18, 2010

Caring For Your Fly Rod, Reel, And Line

So the first trip is fast approaching and so is the time for the yearly ritual of preparing my gear. Good fly fishing equipment is an investment and proper care is protecting that investment. Most of you who fish likely know a lot of this, but for those who don't, here is my routine.

Fly Line: Todays fly lines are very technologically advanced but still based on a PVC coating on a Dacron line. In the spring the line needs to be cleaned, stretched and dressed. During the season, several times, the cleaning and dressing should be done again. The performance of a line is based largely on it remaining supple and smooth. Grit can take the sheen off of it. Sunlight and drying out make it less supple. The line can be cleaned with soapy warm water (mild soap only), and dressed with a line dressing. Do yourself a favour and spend a few dollars more to get dressing from a fly line manufacturer. They know what they are doing. To stretch the line to get rid of reel memory, tie the line off to a post or tree in the yard, and roll it off the spool, and pull it past tight. Use some discretion. Stretching too hard can damage the PVC or the Dacron core.

Fly Reel: A modern fly reel is a remarkable piece of engineering. The tolerances are aircraft level and so are the materials. As such we have to take proper care to avoid damage. Most important? Keep the care instructions that come with your reel. Reels have different drag systems and some require different types of care. Know which one yours is. Take the spool off of the body and make sure you clean our any sand, grit, or dirt after every trip. In the spring, a drop of high quality oil (sewing machine as an example) on the moving parts and center shaft. It is also wise to check and screws that hold the reel together and ensure they are tight. A reel has a lot of movement during casting and they can work loose over time.

Fly Rod: I always check the guides for any grooves. A gritty line can make them easier than you might think. The tip guide takes the most abuse. If it is grooved or has sharp edges it should be replaced. A local rod builder can replace it easily. Also find yourself a silicone cloth to clean the blank, clean and smooth the guides and also to clean your reels as well. Check all of your fits on the rod sections and the strength of the handle and reel seat. Also check the ferrules and windings along the length of the rod. Damage to those could mean a repair or a replacement of the rod. Regular cleaning and careful use and storage can make a good rod last a lifetime.

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