Tips for maintaining your fly fishing gear
You’ve just got back from a week of hard fishing in a destination spot, waders still wet, flies all over your favorite hat and vest, rods and reels lying about the truck. What a mess! Here’s some quick tips for how to clean up and store your gear properly so you’re ready for the next adventure.
Proper storage of your flies is mostly overlooked and can cause detrimental effects if not put away correctly. When you switch flies on the water, most anglers just simply put them right back in the box. This isn’t good because the moisture can cause other hooks to rust. Imagine the next time you open your fly box to find a handful of your favorite flies on rusty hooks! Not good. So when you switch your flies make sure to dry them completely. Best way to do this is to purchase an Amadou patch, or let them dry on a Fly Patch before putting them back in your flybox. If you are fishing in Saltwater, make sure you soak the flies you have used in Freshwater before drying them. We like to keep a cloth patch handy that has been sprayed with WD-40 to rub over the exposed hook before putting the flies away.
Still sopping wet from day one of your trip, we know the score! When you get home take them out of your vehicle and find a place for them to hang so the booties are off the ground. Make sure to completely dry out your gravel guards. Most wader leaks start at the seam where the gravel guard meets the neoprene bootie. Doing this ensures your high dollar investment to stay dry while chasing fish keeps you dry.
If you’re concerned with the spread of invasive aquatic species like us, and you’re unsure about the water you’ve been fishing in, make a soapy solution of dish detergent and warm water to scrub your boots with. Make sure you dry them out completely before using them on your home waters.
One of the most important steps in keeping your terminal tackle preforming well is making sure your reels and line are clean and free of any debris. Line cleaning couldn’t be any simpler. In a small bucket or dish washing tub (don’t use your wife’s sink, you know she’ll find out) make a solution of warm water and a mild dish soap. Get it nice and sudsy and strip your line off your reel into the water. Soak for about 20 minutes and gently dry by stripping through and clean old wash cloth or od t-shirt (again, not your wife’s good hand towels).
Reel maintenance is a bit more time consuming but, do you really want to risk losing your next big fish because of grit and grime gunking up your drag system? In the same solution you used to clean your lines, get and old tooth brush and disassemble your spool from the reel frame. Submerse and lightly scrub to remove all dirt you may have picked up from when you dunked your reel netting your last fish. Dry and relube any moving parts and you’ll be as good as new.
Rods should be wiped down, disassembled and put away in their proper socks and tubes. Doing so ensures proper function of your investment. Broken rods equal frustrating fishing trips and costly repairs.
A little effort goes a long way!