How to Clean Your Fly Line
- By George Revel
Pictured below is our "Leland Demo Reel/Line Bag," home to some of the world's nastiest fly lines. If you ever tried out a rod in the infamous alley behind our SF Store (currently being relocated
), you know it's grimier than any fishing environment and part of why I'm fanatical about clean lines.
Back to the topic at hand, how to clean your fly line....
Let's first start with the question, "When is it time to clean my fly line?"
Well, I clean mine any time my floating line starts sinking. If you want to be proactive, every 4-5 uses is a good rule of thumb. This will dramatically extend the life of your line if done properly.
Other signs your fly line needs cleaning:
- The line holds memory
- Small cracks begin to appear
For this Project you will need:
- Two buckets or a double basin sink
- Rio Line Cleaning Kit
Step One: Soak the Fly Line
I use a double basin sink (2 buckets or tubs also work). Fill one with 2-3 inches of warm soapy water (use a mild dish detergent) and the other with 2-3 inches of warm water. Strip the fly line off your reel into the soapy water using long pulls and deliberate placement of the line. Let soak for 25-30 minutes. You only need to clean the portion of line that you use...but I figure, why not the whole thing?
Step Two: Scrub and Rinse the Line
The next step is to run the fly line through a wash cloth, beginning with the line that is nearest your reel. Pinch the fly line with the wash cloth firmly in between your thumb and index finger. Apply good pressure and pull the line into the bucket of warm water. Empty the soapy water and dry that basin. Beginning with the front of your fly line (nearest the leader), dry the line with the washcloth while pulling it into the freshly dried basin.
Step Three: Remove the Tough Grit
Empty the freshwater basin and dry it out. Begin with the line closest to your reel and pull it through the doubled over Rio Wondercloth, applying pressure with your thumb and index finger. Repeat pulling the line in between the basins until no more dirt rubs off onto the Wondercloth.
Step Four: Condition Your Fly Line
Apply a dime-size dab of Rio Agent X to the Wondercloth. Double over the Wondercloth again and pull the line through, applying less pressure than before. Your goal is to coat the fly line in the conditioner. Let the fly line dry for 30-40 minutes (Rio recommends at least five minutes and up to 24 hours).
Step Five: The Buff
After letting the fly line dry for at least five minutes, use a clean Wondercloth to pull the line back through for a polished finish. Before you reel the fly line back on the reel make sure the leader end is at the bottom of the pile to avoid tangles.
Step Six: Get out fishing with your grime-free, like-new fly line...
Rio illustrates this process well in these videos: