This Week's View|
by Deanna Lee Birkholm
November 5th, 2001
Archive of Ladyfisher Articles
There are some myths which are persistent in our sport.
An old one is about fly fishing being a 'rich mans'
sport. It isn't any more expensive than a lot of
sports - and like other sports one can spend as much
or as little as the budget (or taste allows.) The myth may
however, discourage some folks from even trying to fly fish.
Another popular old myth is that bamboo or cane rods are
all soft, like a buggy whip, and very heavy. There were
some cane rods sold out of Japan after the 2nd World War
which were like that. But there were thousands of cane
rods produced in the US which were and are just dandy.
The cane rods being produced today can be anywhere in
the ball park, depending on the maker and the taper/design
of the rod. Prices for cane rods vary widely as well, a very
nice cane rod can be purchased for slightly more than the
top name graphite rods.
Reels are another example. If one is being used for trout
fishing, all that is really necessary is something to hold
the line. For big fish, the drag becomes important. But
to somehow insist that the average guy on his local trout
stream needs a $200 reel (or even more) isn't realistic.
If you have money to burn, and are into tiny machined jewels
posing as reels, good for you. But it sure isn't necessary
There's another myth which keeps coming up - and it drives me crazy.
It's about the care and feeding of fly lines. The folks
who produce fly lines will tell you to clean them often
(I fished a lake with one company rep who cleaned
the line several times an hour - because there were all
sorts of microscopic stuff that 'gorped up' his
line - making it float improperly.) He had a little
cleaning pad, held in his line hand, which he just
pulled the line through. I do know that there are
all sorts of plankton and stuff in saltwater, and we
are very careful to clean our fly lines after EACH
use. I honestly don't think I've cleaned my fly line
while on the water. (But maybe I should have.)
So today in a good magazine I read one should "clean their
line at least once a year" - and then treat it, polish it,
with Armor All. WRONG! Maybe if you own a fly shop
and want everyone to have to buy a new fly line every year
it would be great advice. But even that is very underhanded
and tacky. Car seats and dashboards are not made from
the same stuff fly lines are.
Since I've got a chemistry background, I'll try and make
this non-technical. Using the vinyl-type cleaners and
polishes removes some of the good stuff from the fly line.
Fly lines contain stuff to keep UV light (sunlight) from breaking down
the coating material. Armor All leeches the anti-UV stuff
out of the fly line. Resulting in your line getting
like bubble gum, or worse shredding off the core.
All of the fly line manufacturers do recommend specific
cleaners. But warm soapy water and a soft cloth will clean
a line very nicely. Use the fly line preservative recommended
by the manufacture. If you don't know what that is, check
their websites (or read the little booklet that came with your
I don't know where the Armor All myth got started, I've even
heard it would make you line go faster, farther . . .you name
it. Let me make it clear, IT WILL RUIN YOUR FLY LINE.
DO NOT USE IT!
And you can quote me on that. ~ LadyFisher
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