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.
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.
Bruce Mahony says
My stripping basket is made from a WPB so I wash lines in that while it is in another WPB. The fingers in the basket keep the line separated. BM
Isaac "The Nothing" Miller says
Fill a beer bottle with water, and put that in the sink. As you strip off your line, loop it around the bottle.
Do you have a “how to” on making that large loop knot for backing? That would be a helpful to have.
Great cleaning tips, two additions.
1. Use Simple Green it is mild and still cleans the line well. (even textured)
2. Make sure your line dressing is silicone based some aren’t and can strip the elastomers from the line
A Bimini Twist is the knot to use for the backing loop knot. It’s overkill for trout lines, but by the time you take that saltwater trip you’ll be pretty good at tying one. It’s not as hard to tie as it looks either.
At end of season get a old cycle wheel the the tyre off store your line on this just put the end of line through where the spokes were tap a nail in your hut or garage hang it up out the way gets rid of line memory really works well
Nicely presented tips and product guides.
Joe Sherer says
I live in Florida so I store my lines inside the house in the dark of my closet.
Do you have a suggestion on what to use to lubricate the line for storage?
Bryan Burke says
It’s great to hear from you, thanks for being in touch. You bet, Loon offers a great range of fly line maintenance and line care kits. Check them out here, https://loonoutdoors.com/collections/line-care/Category_Floating.
We hope that helps you but just let us know if you have any other questions. Thanks!