Spring Pre-Season Prep
Spring is a great time to take a look at your fly-fishing gear and get ready for the upcoming season. Here are a few things you can do to take care of your rods, reels, waders, boots, and lines.
Cleaning your fly lines is not only quick and easy, but also extends their life. Before cleaning, inspect the line for any cracks, splits, nicks, etc. A small crack or nick in the line can be fixed with a thin coating of UV epoxy or with a splice; larger problems are best solved by getting a new line. Don’t throw your old lines in the garbage! Flyvines (www.flyvines.com), will recycle your old lines into bracelets, lanyards, and sun glass retainers.
To clean your line, all you need are a couple of buckets, warm water, mild dish detergent, and a soft, clean cloth (chamois is a great material to use). One bucket should contain warm water and a bit of the detergent, while the other bucket is used for a clean water rinse. Strip your line into the soapy bucket and let it sit for about a half hour. Next, run the line through the soft cloth as you strip it into the rinse bucket. The final step is to strip the line into a clean, dry bucket, and then wind back on the reel. For optimal results, you can then lightly coat your line with a fly line dressing. Rio Products (www.rioproducts.com) has two great videos on line cleaning and care under the “Learn” heading on their web site.
It’s a good idea to inspect and clean your fly rods as well. Check the guides for any nicks or grooves. Look closely at the ferrules and reel seat to determine if any problems exist. Fixing these problems now can save you time on the water later!
Cork rod grips can be cleaned with soapy water and a very soft-bristled brush. To clean the rod itself, use either a damp cloth or a common furniture polish such as Pledge. If using polish, be sure to apply only a light coating, and remove any excess.
While fishing, it’s easy for dirt, sand, and grit to find its way into the inner workings of your fly reels. Debris that becomes lodged in the fly reel’s drag, spool, or handle can seriously damage the reel. Rinse your reels in clean water and let them air dry thoroughly. Tough dirt can be removed with a cotton swab, and a can of compressed air is useful at cleaning out tight spaces.
Waders & Boots
Waders that are very dirty can lose some of their breathability and waterproofing. Most waders can be cleaned via the gentle cycle (cold water only) on household washing machines. It’s critical to use a quality detergent such as Tech Wash; this detergent, and others like it, will not impede the breathability of materials such as Gore-Tex. After washing, waders should be air dried only. Never put your waders in the dryer! Spraying cleaned waders with Revivex will enhance the breathability and performance of waders. Note – it’s a good idea to consult specific wader manufacturers web sites for washing instructions.
Shoelaces on wading boots can degrade over time. Now is a great time top replace wading boot laces and inspect the wading boots for tears, loose soles, etc.
Cleaning your gear as described above won’t take much time, and if you take care of your gear, it will take care of you!
- Chad Chorney - photographer, guide for Picabo Anglers in Idaho and RepYourWater Ambassador