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Your fly line receives some horrendous treatment during a busy season. Thrown about in the air thousands of times… stretched to its limit against the strain of a fleeing 6lb fighting-fit rainbow trout… yanked to within an inch of its life when your errant flies find themselves embedded in the branches of a nearby tree… attached to the mooring rope of your boat or, even worse, wrapped around the propeller of an outboard engine.
It’s also subjected to ‘boater’s boot’, being squashed firmly into a muddy bank by a misplaced size 10 wading boot. None of which is the fault of the angler, of course… “I’m sure that tree moved just as I was casting.”
So, before the new season, take some time out to give your fly line some well-deserved TLC. It’ll pay you back tenfold in the long run. Consider this: Paying for a fly line can relieve you of up to 50 quid, but what does a pack of baby wipes cost? Do the maths for yourself.
If your floating line is cracked, brittle and sinks akin to a Di7 then it’s a sure bet it needs changing. However, some regular maintenance could prolong the inevitable.
Your fly line needs cleaning if: • You feel micro-grit on the line as you strip it in • For floating line, the first 10 feet or so of line doesn’t float • The line retains coil memory • The line has small cracks in it • The line feels brittle
If the last two observations above are noticed, the bad news is that the line is on its last legs. The good news is that a cleaning and reinvigoration of the line may add another season of use before you have to replace it.
Cleaning Your Floating Fly Line Materials required: • Mild washing-up liquid • Clean rag or kitchen roll • Fly-line dressing • Line winder (optional)
TOTAL FLYFISHER 36 Line Soaking 0 1 Fill a container – preferably a glass bowl so you can see what’s going on – with about a litre of hot water. Add just a few drops of washing-up liquid. Don’t overdo it! You only need enough to make a few bubbles and help loosen debris. Too much liquid will leave a film on the fly line that may have the r everse effect on floating lines by sinking them. 02 Strip off all the fly line from your reel in loose coils into the bottom of the glass bowl, ensuring each coil lies on top of the one before. This will help prevent the line from knotting up as it is cleaned during the next step. Allow the line to soak until the water becomes lukewarm, in about 15 to 30 minutes or so.
Line Cleaning 03 Taking a clean, moistened piece of kitchen roll in one hand, draw the fly line from the bowl through it. Apply mild pressure with the hand holding the paper to ensure the line is being ‘stripped’ of all the debris and dirt. You’ll know if you have enough pressure by hearing the line ‘squeak’ as you pull it through. Take the loosely coiled line from the bowl and pat dry with some clean kitchen roll.
Line Dressing 04 Apply a small amount of degreaser liquid onto a felt-padded line cleaner. Pick up the end of the fly line and pull the complete line through the line cleaner (avoid letting the line slip to the floor as this can attract unwanted debris). 05 Roll four or five double pages of a newspaper together, holding the roll together with strips of tape. Wind the line onto the rolled newspaper. A line winder can also be used for this step. 06 Apply Line Slick to the felt-padded line cleaner.
Feed the fly line through the line cleaner. Don‘t be afraid to be generous with the line conditioner – it will help protect the line in future use. 07 Now simply attach your fly line to the backing and wind on the clean line under tension.
TOP TIP Don’t forget that the line backing gets wet throughout the season. It’s best to refresh it at the start of a new season as it can rot, and the very last thing you want is a fish of a lifetime stripping you through to your backing and it breaking. Attach the fly line to the backing with a four-turn water knot or nail knot and wind onto the reel
TOP TIP England Ladies international Martha Thomson has a great tip for line cleaning. She always carries a small packet of baby wipes with her to clean her lines. “I just fold the wipe in half and, as I retrieve my line, pull the whole line through it,” explained Martha. This method certainly works a treat. Okay, you may get a few odd looks for a couple of minutes but who’s the mug? You get your line cleaned and then you can use the wipe to clean your hands after catching a fish. That’s a result!