Home River

Take Care Of Your Fly Line
By Leon Chandler

The modern fly line is a remarkable product that has evolved over a period of several decades by utilizing a blend of space age materials, efficient taper designs and manufacturing know-how. The fly line you buy today can be expected to provide you with many hours of pleasant fishing - but a fly line is not indestructible. By following a few reasonable precautions, you can insure that your line will last longer.

The appearance of small radial cracks in the finish coating will offer the first visual clue that a fly line is reaching the end of its useful life. Cracks occur because the plasticizers within the finish formulation have migrated or moved. The role of plasticizers can be compared to the milk in bread dough - in simplest form, they are the liquids that hold solids together and provide the suppleness that is so important in fly line performance. Once cracks appear and water is admitted, further deterioration is fairly rapid. Plasticizer migration will occur naturally over a period of time. The chemical process can be accelerated if the surface of the line is exposed to solvent base chemical substances (such as are found in most brands of insect repellent, suntan lotion and gasoline), to excessive heat, or prolonged exposure to the ultraviolet rays of direct sunlight.

It is a well-known fact that most insect repellents are murder on fly lines, they are equally destructive to rod finishes. If it is necessary to use liquid repellents, be especially careful about handling your line with repellent residue on the palms of your hands. Use the back of the hands to spread repellent to the neck and face.

Keep your floating fly line clean! In normal use, even on clean water, microscopic particles of dirt and debris will adhere to the surface of a floating line, adding weight that may eventually overcome the natural buoyancy built into the line itself. Because it contains a thinner coating of the buoyant finishing material than does the larger diameter body, the tip section of a tapered line will begin sinking first - an indication that it should be cleaned. What is the best method to follow in cleaning a floating line? Opinions vary. Some manufacturers include cleaner saturated felt pads in the line package, with the recommendation that the working part of the line be wiped with the cleaner pad each time before starting to fish. In addition to removing surface residue, the pad will leave a film of lubricant on the surface to assist the line in moving efficiently through the rod guides. Another manufacturer recommends washing the line with a mild soap and water solution and wiping dry with a soft, clean cloth. Regardless of the method used, clean your floating line frequently and you will be rewarded by a line that will give you better performance and considerably longer life.

Heat. Never ever leave a line-filled fly reel on the dashboard or rear ledge of an automobile parked in the hot sun. The level of heat buildup from the sun coming through the windshield or rear window can literally cook the line and start internal plasticizer migration. Visible cracks may not occur immediately, but the damage will have been done.

Most anglers are acutely aware of the importance of frequently checking rod guides for wear induced sharp areas that will scuff or cut the surface of a fly line. Most however, overlook the fact that the line guard area of the reel actually gets more wear from stripping off line than do the guides. A sharp projection on the reel line guard can slice and ruin a line in short order.

Some fishermen use methods of retrieving and controlling line that do little to prolong the life. For example, the procedure commonly referred to as the "hand twist" retrieve can place an unusual amount of stress on that portion of the line that is handled. Gradually, the portion continually squeezed and stretched will break down.

Fly line manufacturers are frequently asked to identify the life expectancy of their products - an impossible question to answer because of the variables involved. Much depends upon the conditions under which lines are used, the degree of care given and of course the amount of time a line is in actual use. One manufacturer suggests that except for the most avid angler the average user can expect his line to perform well over two seasons. Another suggests that if his lines are used under normal conditions and given normal care, one can expect to log 200 to 300 hours of actual use. Beyond that time he should expect that the end of useful life is being reached.

Most experienced fly rod anglers agree that the fly line is just about the most important part of the equipment because it plays such an important role in the effective presentation of artificial flies. Your line deserves Tender Loving Care. It will respond by giving you much fishing pleasure. ~ Leon Chandler, (comparadun) former Vice President, Cortland Line Company

Have a question? Email me!

Beginners Archives

[ HOME ]

[ Search ] [ Contact FAOL ] [ Media Kit ]

FlyAnglersOnline.com © Notice