We all know what it is like you have returned from an amazing trip and it’s all too easy to just store your reels away until the next time you travel. However, with just a little love you can keep your fly line performing like new, not to mention increasing the life span of a line you paid close to £100 for. Remember a well-kept fly line will shoot further, float better, and tangle less for seasons to come. Below are a few of our tips on how to store fly line to increase both the performance and lifespan of your fly line.
How to Store Fly Line
Cleaning and Conditioning Your Line
A fly line can pick up a surprising amount of dirt and grime and should be cleaned regularly. Modern fly lines are often slightly porous and are impregnated with a form of lubricant. It is through these pores that the lubricant is able to be released, allowing the line to remain ‘slick.’ However, dirt and grime can get stuck in these pores, greatly impeding the line’s ‘shoot-ability’ as well as its flotation. Therefore, it is important to clean your fly line periodically with warm water and mild soap (most fly line companies recommend hand soap) and condition it with a proper fly line dressing.
Don’t Strip Line Out Across the Post of Your Reel
Most of us tend to strip line straight down towards the ground when pulling line off our reel. This causes the fly line to scrape against the post of the reel on each pull. Instead, pull your line off of your reel in the direction of your fly rods. You will be amazed to learn that this simple change can nearly double the life of your fly line!
Avoid Prolonged Sun-Exposure
U.V. Rays can readily break down the polymers used in most modern-day fly lines. Therefore, it is important to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun. We’re obviously not talking about during the fishing day here, but take care not to store your rod and reel on the dash or rigged up on a rod rack for extended amounts of time.
This is not an excuse to forget the sunscreen. Sunscreen is important when out on the water, so put it on! However, take care after applying sunscreen not to get any on your fly line. Over time, sunscreen can cause your fly line to break down, greatly reducing its lifespan.
Most of us are well aware of the corrosive properties of insect repellent, including Deet. Just as it will take the paint off of a car and will melt plastic, Deet can potentially strip your fly line down to the core. Make sure your hands are clean of Deet before handling your fly line.
Stretch Your Line
Before a day of fishing, stretching your fly line can greatly increase its performance. All lines have some degree of memory when stored on a reel for extended amounts of time. Stretching the line is the quickest way to remove this memory, leaving you with a much more manageable fly line. However, some fly line manufacturers recommend advising against stretching a fly line before storing it. This is based on the idea that once wound tightly on a spool for storage, the line will contract over time, causing the line to become even tighter, potentially damaging the fly line.
Store In Wide Loops
If packing up for the close season or in-between fishing adventures overseas it is important to make sure the fly line is stored in reasonably large loose coils to minimize line memory. It is not always necessary to remove it from the reel, however, as on some large arbor reels, the spool of the reel is plenty large enough. Although if using a small fly reel, or a reel with a small to medium arbor, consider storing it in wider loops in between fishing adventures to reduce memory
How to Clean Your Fly Line
Remove your leader and just discard it unless I know it is almost brand new. Fill the sink with some warm water and a small amount of very mild soap. Strip the line off the reel directly into the sink and allow it to soak for a little bit. If it is really dirty it is best to let it soak for a couple of hours. You should end up with your line piled in the sink, leader end down, and backing ends up.
The next step is to grab a clean cloth, dunk it in the sink, wrap this wet cloth around the backing end of your fly line, and start stripping it through the washcloth towards the tip. You should end up with your line now piled on the floor backing end down, and leader tip up. Grab your favourite fly line lube, and put a little of this on a dry cloth.
Now wrap that cloth around the leader section of the line and start stripping towards the backing section. You should end up with your pile moving, and also flipping over with the backing end now on the top.Attach to your reel and wind on your clean, lubed, line or a storage device, whatever your preference is.
How to Store Fly Lines
There are various methods and contraptions that have been invented by people to try and make storing fly lines simple. However, these gimmicks and gadgets all come at an additional cost for £10 to £20 per line. Save your hard earned money and invest that spare cash in more tackle, all you need a simple medium size clear resealable wallets that can purchase of eBay for less than £1 each. This way all you need to do is coil up your spare fly line once cleaned in nice lose coils that will fit inside the bag.
Tie the coils with some pipe cleaners, then on a piece of paper right what the fly line is, its weight, description, whatever you like to make it easy for you to identify when you are looking through your fly fishing gear. Place all your spare lines in a splashproof men’s wash bag and there you have it, all your fly lines all cleaned and to hand ready for when you are either at home or on the water.
Do you have any tips for how to store fly line? Let us know below!
Why not take some time to look at our ever-growing list of Salt and Freshwater fishing destinations which can all be seen our dedicated Fly fishing page. You can also find a great range of videos on fly fishing over on our Youtube channel.