When it comes to the life of your fishing gear, salt water is the enemy. Sure, today’s sealed drags, anodized reel seats, and stainless steel this and that help combat the problem, but without proper care, saltwater will still wreak havoc on just about anything it comes into contact with.
After a day on the flats, make sure to rinse everything thoroughly with fresh water before putting it away. Rod, reel, fly line, flats boots and so on should be rinsed thoroughly, even if the manufacturer has marketed them for saltwater use! We make sure to rinse all our rod setups at Andros South after each day on the water, and if you spend a lot of days in the salt, odds are you do the same.
However, flies seems to be the most neglected pieces of gear when it comes to salt damage. Keep in mind that just because a fly is tied on a stainless steel hook, that does not mean it is entirely impervious to the effects of saltwater. We’ve seen guests lose fish due to a broken hook that appeared to have no rust on it all. Often times, rust forms under the thread wraps of the fly where you cannot see, causing the fly to break mid-shank.
The next time you take to the flats, try to keep track of the individual flies you fish. After your trip is over, unless you plan to fish them soon, either rinse the heck out of them or get rid of them! Don’t risk losing that double digit bonefish to a weak hook that could be been replaced by a little extra time on the vise.