Get the most performance out of the rod you already own – and it’s easier than you think! Knowing that every one is stretching those fly fishing dollars, how’ bout a few tips to make that rod cast farther than ever.
Clean your fly line-A clean fly line glides through the guides better than a sticky and dirty one. Into a clean bucket, strip most of your fly line. Add warm water and a drop or two of dishwashing soap. Run the line through a soapy cloth or towel back and forth until it leaves no residual marks. It can be that you need to strip the line through ten times to get it completely clean, particularly if you fish in tannic stained lakes. Rinse, but not over a disposal (like one of my favorite customers.) Fly line can get surprisingly caught in the bottom of the disposal! Then strip through a clean cloth a final time to make sure the line is clean and dry. (add 5 feet to your best cast)
Lube your line-If needed, lube the line with one of the fly line specific lubes available. There is the old trick of using Armor All or other tire and car products. They are designed to shine, not lubricate, and they eventually become sticky. Use lube that is made for your fly line and follow the directions. Some are supposed to dry before use. Others are good to go when wet. (add 5 feet to your best cast)
Stretch your line-This is almost as important as lubing your line. A line that has a tendency to lay flat, will shoot through the guides easier that a line that tends to coil. There are a variety of ways to stretch you fly line. Perhaps the most common is to wrap you leader around a fence post, strip out your fly line, then stretch. You’ll be able to stretch 5 to 8 feet with most fly lines. Ease off gently and see if the line lies straight. If not, do it again. Repeat until it’s straight. Usual three or four stretches is all you need. Some braided monocore lines (tropical lines) won’t straighten. I have used a bucket of hot water from the faucet to warm the line. Stretch the same way. This is not needed on typical fly lines, just the tropical style salt water lines. Another way to stretch line is 5 feet at a time. I will sit in a chair and pull almost an arms length off the reel and stretch it to arms length. I repeat this 15 times which is adequate for about 75 feet of line. This technique is easily done in a flats boat or drift boat as needed. (add 5 feet to your best cast)
Clean your rod - When was the last time you cleaned every eyelet, and rod shaft with soap and water. Surprisingly, gunk builds up on the eyelets, and only in the spots that the line rubs! Clean the cork handle while you are at it! (add 2 feet to your best cast)
This is fundamental maintenance, and can add 17 feet to your best cast!