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Cleaning Fly Lines

Posted on October 19 2013

Cleaning Fly Lines
Keep ’em clean, folks. Photo: Cameron Miller

Jordan Sly is part of the Deneki team that splits time between Alaska and Andros – helping to provide quality and consistency between our operations, and a familiar face to our guests that never hurts!  Here’s a very timely post from Jordan on cleaning fly lines.

Clean Lines

Changing over my fly lines on my reels from coldwater (Alaska West) to warmwater (Andros South) got me thinking about the new advancements in fly lines, and the care needed to make them last. The advancements in fly lines over the last couple years have been dramatic, and many improvements have been made. How well the line shoots (texture and coating), the amount it stretches, the buoyancy it has, etc… all have been improved and all help an angler fish more effectively.

Even with these improvements, some line care is necessary to make that $70+ fly line live up to its potential. One thing that is often neglected, but is super simple, is cleaning one’s fly line periodically. I do this at least a couple times a year, and here is the process I use.

First I remove my leader and normally just discard it unless I know it is almost brand new. I fill the sink with some warm water and a SMALL amount of very mild dish detergent. I then strip the line into the sink and allow it to soak for a little bit. If it is really dirty I will let it soak for a couple hours, maybe more, but normally I do this while I am changing lines, so I will just remove it from the reel, wind the new line on, then go onto the next step. You should end up with your line piled in the sink, leader end down, and backing end up.

The next step is to grab a wash cloth, dunk it in the sink, wrap this wet cloth around the backing end of your fly line, and start stripping it through the wash cloth towards the tip. You should end up with your line now piled on the floor backing end down, and leader tip up.

Next, grab your favorite 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.

Next attach to your reel and wind on your clean, lubed, line.

A Few Tips

While doing this I find it easiest to remove the line from the reel and backing. I make this easier by tying large loop knots in all of my backing so I can slide the line off easier.

Try to coil the line as best you can in the sink and on the floor. The sink is the hard one – your line will want to float, but with a little patience you will get it down. With the floor, just make your loops really big – this will help a lot.

Save the twist ties from old lines, or from bread, to organize and label lines that are being put away for the season.

Always clean and lube them before your put them away.

On that note, always label, and make your coils pretty big, but uniform. Big coils will help with tangles, and line memory, and if you need it to be smaller just grab the coil with both hands at opposite sides and twist 180 degrees so you get a figure eight when the middle crosses… your coil is now half the size if you fold it in half.

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