Ready your fly line situation today!

Ready your fly line situation today!

Getting your gear ready in the spring is always a fun pursuit. I love getting out the fly rods and pouring over them on the kitchen table checking and looking and preening and loving and dreaming. Digging through the remainder of your gear is important too. The hardest way to remember that you need new waders is finding that leak above your thighs…

But the most important task you do has to be checking out those fly lines. The fly line is the most important part of the equation. The MOST IMPORTANT PIECE! 


The fly line is the vehicle that delivers the fly to the target. If you don’t understand this fact, you may not understand the fly fishing equation.

So how do we take care of this most important part of the puzzle? Well, with line cleaner. Every line manufacturing company makes them. They are readily available. Every fly shop on earth carries them. So it should not be all that difficult to get a few of them in your hands.

My favorite is the RIO Fly Line Cleaning Towelette. At 99 cents it may be the best bargain in the fly fishing universe!

Like I mentioned above you can find them from all kinds of manufacturers. Seek them out and stuff in your pockets.

Some work best when applying the night before, letting the goo cure overnight,a nd polishing/buffing before you dip it in the water again. Some work immediately. But not one of them works if you don’t use it!

Folks ask how often should you employ your fly line cleaner? I say daily. Daily. Why no take care of the most important factor? I find myself cleaning the line a couple times a day when dry fly fishing. Posted up on some finicky PMD freely rising trout. Yes. Clean it.

By cleaning the fly line you make casting more fun. Th ecleaner takes all of that grime that has become affixed to the surface of your line. It pulls it off and replaces the friction causing grit with some super slippery floaty silicone type of magic.

So not only is casting easier, therefore getting the fly closer to the target…but mending is much easier too as the line will float higher. Float on the water. Become far more hydrophobic.

It is way better man.

So you have cleaned all of your fly lines and you have noticed that a couple of them are not in too good a shape? Yep, they do not last forever. 300-400 hrs on the water is about the life of a fly line. 40 days on the water. Or 3-5 years hanging out on your favorite fly reel. They don’t last forever.

Will they work if they are quite old? Sure will. Just like pouring used motor oil in your sports car. Why not put some suspect old bald tires on too. Might as well. You wouldn’t want performance out of that collectable beauty would ya!

Fly lines are easy to replace and fly lines are even easier to clean often.

If you do need a new fly line spring is the time to get one spun up on that 5 weight of yours. Some folks just replace the lines every spring. I know I do. My boat/client rods will get new lines twice during the season. Have even fished seasons where the 5 weights will get a third application in the late fall.

New fly lines feel really good. Slick, fun, floaty. Want to feel like a casting all-star? Put on a new line this year. Do it. You will be a happy camper out there on the water.

Stop in the shop for $0.99 Fly Line Cleaning Towelettes and many other line cleaning options. We also have by far the largest fly line selection in the tri-cpounty area. Maybe in all of Montana. Our fly line wall is impressive with over 1000+ fly lines in stock today. RIO, SA, Airlfo, Wulff, OPST, and more here at Headhunters of Craig Montana. The Fly Line HQ on the Missouri River.

Money Back Guarantee on all fly lines purchased from Headhunters Fly Shop. You don’t like it? Return it. We will swap it, credit you, and even refund the purchase price. No questions asked. We want you to have the right fly line for your rod.

You already know that we are the kings of the Montana Trout Spey world. Demo lines, retail lines, tips, leaders, and all things spey. The knowledge to back up the products. Both two handed trout spey and singled handed casting lessons by appointment at Headhunters Fly Shop. John was out again today helping a guest improve her Trout Spey Cast. $100 for 2-3 hrs expert instruction for all levels novice-advanced. Mark will be out next week teaching single handed casting lesson. So spring is a gray time to tune up that cast!

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  • River Stewart
    March 16, 2017 2:00 pm

    Good read SOL. A few seasons back I practiced line cleaning religiously and espoused much of the same wisdom to fellow fishers. Once even I was met with a response from a local shop’s outfitter manager with an unenthusiastic “daily?” Yes, daily. Especially so if you’re fishing to the type of fish who prefer flawlessly presented dry flies. Multiple times per day? Now you have me thinking that I might be missing out on something. Stripped off my lines with plans to clean just after reading this report. Though it should be noted, one must use caution depending on the line manufacturer. Not all cleaners treat lines equally, i.e., certain fly line manufacturers use technology that will not benefit from another brands cleaner. Thinking specifically about clogging with goo the air-bubble technology employed to increase buoyancy of at least one brands lines. Right? Could be off, as I’ve fallen out of touch with line maintenance. Until now, that is. And we’re back. Looking forward to Spring Break fishing on the Mo next week.

  • Great advice guys. I have a question. Does standing on my fly line in the bottom of the boat with my steel studded waders shorten its life?

    • Sal, great question. As long as you clean your line daily you can do anything you want to it. Check out the new self healing lines from SA, they seem to be your style.