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Offline Ziggy

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Caring for your fly lines
« on: February 27, 2012, 01:36:12 pm »
I have had my fly lines for years! In fact some of them are  15 years old – and still in reasonable condition – OK some have not been  extensively used – but some have. I noticed that on of a couple my most used  lines (which are now about 10 years old – which is when I last bought lines) there  are some cracks in them and need replacing. The reason my lines have lasted so  long is that I make sure that I store and maintain them as best as I can.


LINE CARE POINTERS


Clean and dress your lines at least once or twice during the  peak season - and before you put them away for a long period
Never store your lines too tightly on the spool – that way  the line does not develop a memory. Cheaper lines tend to store memory more  than expensive one. When you strip line out after a storage period, it’s a good  idea to do it an arm’s length at a time – and stretching it to straighten it.


Keep your lines in a cool place – never in on your dashboard  or anywhere where it will get hot – this will do some serious damage


Avoid stepping on the line, dragging it across rough  surfaces like rocks, or trailing it along the banks when moving spot to spot. Be  careful when fishing off a boat because it’s very easy to step on the line


Check you rod guides to see that there is no damage that  could cause abrasion to the line. Make sure that you check your reel to see if  there is no area where the line can be abraded – especially when you are  stripping line off. We often strip line sideways which means that the line is  being pulled across the rim of the spool – or the line guide. Check the rim of your  reel spool - this is where scrapes and rough edges appear when you drop your  rod or when you scrape it on rocks.


Avoid getting any solvents, aerosols, insect repellent,  suntan lotion, diesel, petrol etc. on your line – this significantly affects  the plastic. Sometimes two plastics react with each other – so be careful when  you store the line – better to keep the reel in a cloth bag rather than some  synthetic material. Best to wash your hands after applying sun cream or  repellents.
 
CLEAN YOUR LINES


I have always tried to take good care of the lines by always  cleaning and dressing them about twice a fishing season. I do this simply by  pulling the line through a cloth wet with a light detergent and water mix – and  then dressing them with a line dressing. I wondered if I was doing it right so  did a quick internet search and came up with the following information which  others may find useful. 


Following a few basic rules for cleaning keeps fly lines  casting smoothly. Caring for fly lines requires maintaining a clean, slick  surface. Slickness is one of the most important features of a fly line. To cast  smoothly, friction of line against guides should be minimal. Fly line  manufacturers strive to reduce friction by incorporating slickeners into the  material surrounding the line core and by applying slick finishes to the line.  Airflo and Scientific Anglers have also introduced lines with texture, on the  theory that less line in contact with the guides means less friction. No matter  which line the fisherman chooses, dirt will eventually build up on it, creating  more friction and weighing down the line. Periodic cleaning and dressing will  keep the line casting smoothly and extend its life.


Generally it would seem that most cleaning methods involve  soaking and washing the line (once or twice) in luke warm water with a little  bit of gentle detergent – and drawing it through a soft wet cloth to remove  residues and dirt on the line. Then dry the line by gently pulling it through a  soft dry cloth and leaving it to air until completely dry. Always be careful  not to pull the line through the cloth using excessive pressure (when washing,  drying or dressing) as the friction will cause heat that can damage your line.  You can also use specialised cleaning pads made by some line manufacturers to  clean the line.


USING DRESSINGS


After washing, apply a line dressing (there are many types available)  – but make sure that it is suitable for your line and does not contain any  ingredients that will cause harm. There are many types available in the shops –  it is not recommended to use stuff that is not specifically designed for fly  lines because some stuff will rapidly deteriorate your line. Remember your line  is plastic and is susceptible to various chemicals that may be lurking in some  things like silicon wax polish etc.


As with detergent, dressings should be used sparingly. Too  much dressing of any type will cause more dirt to adhere to the line. The  dilemma of fly lines is that lubricants provide slickness but also result in  greater dirt adhesion, while hard, impervious surfaces don’t pick up dirt as  easily but have a greater tendency to crack. If the line’s finish feels slick  and clean after washing, dressing may not be needed.


Bear in mind that if you dress a sinking line (or  intermediate) with floating line dressing or a dressing that contains silicon,  it will struggle to sink. (Snowbee says the following:  “We have all suffered from those Intermediate  or Sinking Fly Lines that ‘hang’ in the surface film. This is generally due to  silicones used in fly line production, leaching through to the surface. Our  degreaser is the only known silicone solvent, which effectively removes all  traces of silicone or grease from the fly line, allowing it to cut quickly  through the surface film and fish as it was designed to do”).


It would appear that one can also use Fullers Earth to make  a Sinkant for your line. A mix of Fullers Earth, a few drops of glycerine and dishwashing  liquid mixed into putty – slide this over your line and it sinks. The glycerine  stops the putty from drying out – and it’s the dishwashing liquid is what does  the work of making it sink – the Fullers Earth gathers up any grease on your  line  - it’s the grease  that is keeping your line afloat. This Fullers  earth is used mainly to make your leader sink – but I don’t see why it would  not work just as well on your line. Another solution is to take some river mud  and slide your line through it – but I am sure that this will just dirty the  line 9but if you have nothing else when at the waters edge, go ahead!). An  innovative solution is to rub fish slime on your line – but that means you have  to have caught a fish first! No need to kill the fish to do this, by handling  the fish you will get enough slime on your hands.


For YouTube videos from Rio on how to wash your lines see  these two (parts one and two)
Cleaning a Fly Line Part 1.mov
  and
Cleaning a Fly Line Part 2



MANUFACTURERS CLEANING AND CARE TIPS


Then I found this – which is a list of tips for fly line  cleaning and maintenance by the line manufacturers themselves - for their  products specifically. Some are pretty basic and common sense and some have  additional products to help with cleaning as well as increase performance.


AIRFLOW: To clean your Airflo line, mix a small amount of  household detergent with warm (not boiling) water in a bowl or sink. Strip the  line from your reel into the water and allow to the line to soak for 2-3  minutes - this will loosen any dirt and clean any algae build-up from the  surface. Then dry off the line by winding the line back onto the reel through a  clean dry cloth. Do not put too much pressure on the line, as the heat  generated in the cloth can distort a fly line, also, if you put the line onto  the reel under too much tension then this will cause reel set or memory.


CORTLAND: At Cortland, we build our fly lines to provide you  with many hours of trouble free use, but it is your responsibility to extend  the life of the fly line, and maintain proper performance through routine care.  Avoid excessive heat exposure to the lines by keeping your reels out of direct  sunlight. Avoid car dashboards or rear window ledges when transporting. Clean  and dry fly line and backing before storing. Also, use Cortland XL Cleaner  before and after each outing to ensure maximum performance and longer lasting  lines.


ORVIS: Clean your lines frequently. The process typically  takes less than five minutes. Orvis recommends Orvis Zip Juice Wonderline  Cleaner, made specifically for the super slick coating on Wonderline Advantage  lines. If Zip Juice is not available, use mild soap and water. Clean more  frequently if you fish ‘dirty’ water - stillwater or moving water with lots of  organic material.


SCIENTIFIC ANGLERS: Cleaning with soap and water on a cloth  removes most of the dirt, but our new cleaning pads work even better. Properly  cleaned your lines will float better, cast better and last longer, certainly a  good trade-off for a couple minutes of line maintenance. Dressing with our new  line dressing will further improve flotation, casting and durability also. Clean  and dress your lines every 2-3 outings, or anytime you think dirt is hindering  their performance. The cleaning pads are easy to carry in your vest or tackle  bag and can be used anytime, wet or dry.


RIO: Most RIO fly lines are self-lubricating. However,  cleaning is an important aspect of fly line longevity, and we recommend  cleaning every day. In freshwater, microscopic particles of algae will collect  dirt and debris. These adhere to the surface of a floating fly line, adding  weight which eventually overcomes the line’s natural buoyancy. This microscopic  dirt will also help grind ridges into line guides and destroy fly line  coatings. In saltwater fly fishing, salt will dry on the line. When you notice  your line not shooting as well, or the tip of a floating line beginning to  sink, it is overdue for a good cleaning. A few drops of a mild soap without  detergent or even a small bar of soap and a rag is sufficient for cleaning a  fly line. Once it’s cleaned, apply a super thin coating of RIO Poo Goo™ or  another brand of 100% silicon on a cloth and pull the line through the cloth.  This coating needs to be a thin film to prevent pickup of dirt. The silicone  grease will help float the line and aid in shooting.


ADVICE FROM LEON CHANDLER, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT, CORTLAND  LINE COMPANY
 
The modern fly line is a remarkable product that has evolved  over a period of several decades by utilizing a blend of space age materials,  efficient taper designs and manufacturing know-how. The fly line you buy today  can be expected to provide you with many hours of pleasant fishing - but a fly  line is not indestructible. By following a few reasonable precautions, you can  insure that your line will last longer.


The appearance of small radial cracks in the finish coating  will offer the first visual clue that a fly line is reaching the end of its useful  life. Cracks occur because the plasticizers within the finish formulation have  migrated or moved. The role of plasticizers can be compared to the milk in  bread dough - in simplest form, they are the liquids that hold solids together  and provide the suppleness that is so important in fly line performance. Once  cracks appear and water is admitted, further deterioration is fairly rapid.  Plasticizer migration will occur naturally over a period of time. The chemical  process can be accelerated if the surface of the line is exposed to solvent  base chemical substances (such as are found in most brands of insect repellent,  suntan lotion and petrol/diesel), to excessive heat, or prolonged exposure to  the ultraviolet rays of direct sunlight.


It is a well-known fact that most insect repellents are  murder on fly lines, they are equally destructive to rod finishes. If it is  necessary to use liquid repellents, be especially careful about handling your  line with repellent residue on the palms of your hands.


Keep your floating fly line clean! In normal use, even on  clean water, microscopic particles of dirt and debris will adhere to the  surface of a floating line, adding weight that may eventually overcome the  natural buoyancy built into the line itself. Because it contains a thinner  coating of the buoyant finishing material than does the larger diameter body,  the tip section of a tapered line will begin sinking first - an indication that  it should be cleaned.


What is the best method to follow in cleaning a floating  line? Opinions vary. Some manufacturers include cleaner saturated felt pads in  the line package, with the recommendation that the working part of the line be  wiped with the cleaner pad each time before starting to fish. In addition to  removing surface residue, the pad will leave a film of lubricant on the surface  to assist the line in moving efficiently through the rod guides. Another  manufacturer recommends washing the line with a mild soap and water solution  and wiping dry with a soft, clean cloth. Regardless of the method used, clean  your floating line frequently and you will be rewarded by a line that will give  you better performance and considerably longer life.


Heat. Never ever leave a line-filled fly reel on the  dashboard or rear ledge of a car parked in the hot sun. The level of heat build-up  from the sun coming through the windshield or rear window can literally cook  the line and start internal plasticizer migration. Visible cracks may not occur  immediately, but the damage will have been done.


Most anglers are acutely aware of the importance of  frequently checking rod guides for wear induced sharp areas that will scuff or  cut the surface of a fly line. Most however, overlook the fact that the line  guard area of the reel actually gets more wear from stripping off line than do  the guides. A sharp projection on the reel line guard can slice and ruin a line  in short order.
Some fishermen use methods of retrieving and controlling  line that do little to prolong the life. For example, the procedure commonly  referred to as the "hand twist" retrieve can place an unusual amount  of stress on that portion of the line that is handled. Gradually, the portion  continually squeezed and stretched will break down.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2012, 01:40:38 pm by Ziggy »

Offline Dewald Posthumus

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Re: Caring for your fly lines
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2012, 02:28:35 pm »
Great article Ziggy!


To add onto this:


1. Store unused fly lines on hand line holders - those cheap ones about 15-20cm in diameter that you can get from any tackle shop. This will prevent memory and coiling.
2. Never, I repeat, NEVER! go and practice casting in an open veld, fly lines are made for water, nothing else. Go to your local dam and practice casting in the water.


Cheers

Offline Ziggy

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Re: Caring for your fly lines
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2012, 02:37:14 pm »
Good idea Dewald  - however, I have never stored my lines on anything other than their reels (old lines that I have changed with new ones are stored on their original plastic holders that they came with) - but I think that those lines (some 20 years old!) may not be usable anymore - the plastic must have changed and gone brittle - i just cant bring my self to throw them away


And yes, I agree that one should never cast your line on the lawn or anywhere else other than on water - they are not made for that! Picks up all sorts of dirt and dust - not to mention the abrasion if retrieved over sand

Offline Lichia amia

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Re: Caring for your fly lines
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2012, 02:47:40 pm »
Nice one Ziggy . Thanks for taking the time to post it , have some  :+ cred:

Offline WalkersKiller

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Re: Caring for your fly lines
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2012, 08:08:41 am »
Awesome post Ziggy  :+ cred:

Offline Rory

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Re: Caring for your fly lines
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2012, 08:15:45 am »
 (clap)   Excellent post Ziggy! Its amazing how dirty flylines actually get!  :+ cred:
« Last Edit: February 28, 2012, 08:16:02 am by Rory »

Offline Herman Jooste

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Re: Caring for your fly lines
« Reply #6 on: February 29, 2012, 09:19:25 pm »
Brilliant post Ziggy. :shre: :+ cred:
 
It's posts like these that make Ultimate, the Ultimate website. :FST: :uarocks
If we caught fish on every trip, it would be called " Catching". We don't, and that's why it's called "Fishing".

Offline Seventenths

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Re: Caring for your fly lines
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2012, 10:52:17 am »
Hey Ziggy, great tut, thank you and  :+ cred:

I have bought a 12weight shimano stealth and a SL7 (shilton) reel, I AM NOT a flyfishermen but want to have a bit of fun when the tuna and yellowtail go nuts about the boat this dec. I have done a lot of reading and hope you can help me with a few questions....

1
flies? what do you sugget for the sea - I have no idea, Chad from shilton sent me a LONG lit but it mean errr not much to me!

2
Some guys have hinted that I should use an intemediate (sinking line)... what you think and if so how long should this be before the backing? Also I have 50 and 80 lbs braid, can I use this for backing?

3
What is the best brands of fly line? what shoud I look out for?

4
What knot do you use to join fly line to backing..?

5 should I have a leader (terminal) ie floro etc etc ..and if so what weight?how long?

Any other tips would be appreciated.

thanks
7/10

Offline Ziggy

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Re: Caring for your fly lines
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2012, 12:51:14 pm »
Hey Ziggy, great tut, thank you and  :+ cred:

I have bought a 12weight shimano stealth and a SL7 (shilton) reel, I AM NOT a flyfishermen but want to have a bit of fun when the tuna and yellowtail go nuts about the boat this dec. I have done a lot of reading and hope you can help me with a few questions....

1
flies? what do you sugget for the sea - I have no idea, Chad from shilton sent me a LONG lit but it mean errr not much to me!

2
Some guys have hinted that I should use an intemediate (sinking line)... what you think and if so how long should this be before the backing? Also I have 50 and 80 lbs braid, can I use this for backing?

3
What is the best brands of fly line? what shoud I look out for?

4
What knot do you use to join fly line to backing..?

5 should I have a leader (terminal) ie floro etc etc ..and if so what weight?how long?

Any other tips would be appreciated.

thanks
7/10


7/10 - I have never flyfished for tuna - nor any big game fish! I have limited salt water flyfishing experience (shad in SA and bone fish in mexico) - and I have never used anything more than an 8wt. So I am afraid that I cannot answer all your questions


1. Flies - I have no idea what flies to use
2 and 3. Line - I have Scientific Anglers, Rio and  Airflo lines - intermediate, floating and sinking - but only fish for trout...all WF lines. I do have a density compensated sinking tip that I used for big trout in Alaska. Tuna is a BIG and STRONG fish and I am sure that there are specialised lines for that application. My gut feel is that intermediate is best....in fact, that is my most used line for general trout fishing. Trout lines are generally about 30 odd ft long - I dont know what length of line is used for tuna - as for backing, I would say the longer and stronger the better.
4. I use either an allbright knot or a nail knot. Again, I dont know about deep sea fly fishing.  Maybe there is a stronger knot? For trout, I seldom go into the backing, and they are not strong enough to make an allbright or nail knot fail
5. I have no idea what leader you would use for Tuna


Sorry that I cant be more helpful!


 

Offline Seventenths

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Re: Caring for your fly lines
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2012, 01:03:01 pm »
 :tkx:

Offline UrbanFF

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Re: Caring for your fly lines
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2012, 10:01:06 am »
A new RSA made product that adds years to the life of your fly lines and assists with cleaning and storing : http://urban-fly-fisher.com/products/#!/~/category/id=4050531&offset=0&sort=normal

Offline Wynand13

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Re: Caring for your fly lines
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2012, 12:59:03 pm »
HI UrbanFF


Assume this is the link: http://goo.gl/C4075


The OmniSpool is great, will spool and clean and put protector on my lines this weekend.


 :tkx:
« Last Edit: December 28, 2012, 01:00:22 pm by Wynand13 »
There’s more to life than fishing – a significant small bit that I haven’t figured out yet….

Offline UrbanFF

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Re: Caring for your fly lines
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2012, 01:32:26 pm »
Hi Wynand , thanks for that - one day I'll learn how to do those short URLs too. :)

Offline briansflyfishing

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Re: Caring for your fly lines
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2013, 07:18:40 pm »
At a local tackle shop we had a discussion this morning on caring for your fly lines. A very informative post. Thank you.
Especially the more expensive lines need that extra care to last as long as they dare.


Brian
Not tonight baby, I gotta fly!!!