Casting Tip September 2016

by: Bill Armon CCI

Clean Your Lines

Clean lines cast best. This is an update from a February 2011 casting tip.
 A clean line will shoot better. A clean line will float higher. A clean line will have less coil memory and will reduce tangling. A regularly cleaned line will last longer.
How often should a fly line be cleaned?  The way to tell if a line needs cleaning is if you can feel grit when you run the line through your fingers. Also, if while fishing the front few feet start to sink this is a good sign a line needs cleaning. (Assuming it is not a sink tip line.) A fly line should also be cleaned as soon as possible if it is exposed to heat, solvents, insect repellants, or sunscreens. Also, casting practice in a yard will get your line dirty. If a line has cracks in the surface or feels brittle cleaning the line will help but these lines should probably be replaced. One author says if you get in the routine of cleaning your line after every 3 rd. outing it should last 150 outings.
How should a fly line be cleaned? It seems almost everyone agrees that soaking in soapy water is the best way to deep clean a fly line. Use only a small amount of mild dish soap in lukewarm water and let soak for at least 30 minutes. Then draw the line thru a clean soft absorbent cloth to remove the grit and to dry it. It some cases it may be necessary to use a special cleaning pad that acts as an abrasive (while not hurting the plastic) to get the grit off.  When the line is dry a dressing should be applied.
Which dressing?  The important thing is to use a product made for plastic – if it is not safe for use on plastic it is not safe to use on a fly line. I recommend using one that is sold by a line manufacturer. While some line dressings are sold as cleaners most are no better at cleaning then warm soapy water alone however they do improve the lines performance and they should be used. The main value of dressing a line is to lubricate it, (shoots farther, floats higher, and tangles less). Keep in mind that while dressing a dirty line on the stream will improve the lines performance it will trap the dirt under the dressing so be sure and actually clean your line when it gets dirty.
The fly line is in many ways the most important part of your equipment. Try casting a dirty line then clean and apply a dressing and try casting again. You will become a believer in keeping your lines clean and well dressed.


Archive of Past Casting Tips

August 2016, Double Haul
June 2016, Forming a Loop
May 2016, Back to Basics
November/December 2015, From Mel Krieger and Lefty Kreh
October 2015, The Fundamentals
September 2015, The Essentials
August 2015, The Guru’s Basic Casting Principles and / or Essentials
February 2015, The Most Important Concepts
January 2015, Back to Basics
November/December 2014, Winter Practice
October 2014, Casting Split Shot
August 2014, Aerial Mends Continued
July 2014, The Curve Cast
June 2014, The Reach Cast
May 2014, The Pile Cast
April 2014, The Tuck Cast
March 2014, More Casting Terminology
February 2014, Casting Terminology
January 2014, Tailing Loops (pt.2)
October 2013, Tailing Loops
September 2013, Forming Controlled Loops
August 2013, Identify Your Bottleneck (part 2)
July 2013, Identify Your Bottleneck - Correct Power Application
May 2013, What is Smooth
April 2013, Application of Power
March 2013, The reach and aerial mend casts.
February 2013, Mending
November 2012, Timing, Grip, and Hand/Rod Stop Position
October 2012, 5 things that will improve your casting

Return whence you came.