Fly Lines- Cleaning and Maintenance

by Tim Flagler via Rio

” Hmm, feels nice, is it a new line ? “
” sort of, its about three years old… “

a direct quote from a course i gave last week and one that seems to repeat itself very regularly.

constantly amazed at how few fly anglers actually clean and treat they’re lines, hopefully a little encouragement followed by two detailed and well explained how-to videos will help reverse this habit and here’s why you should.

let’s start with the bad:
– casting with dirty lines just simply sucks. they make scratchy sounds as they go through rod guides. those scratchy sounds we hear are friction.
friction hinders sliding through the guides and increases friction when the line slides against the blank in-between the guides. this friction makes for jerky over-powered casting instead of the silky smooth casting which should always be our goal.
all this friction gets compounded when hauling and if the lines are sticky enough, it makes the return on a haul next to impossible and this means we introduced slack in the system when we where trying to get rid of it.
as you’ll have also guessed, all this friction greatly hinders line shooting and all this grit and gunk wears down rod guides and of course the lines themselves at remarkable rates.
see ? i told you it sucks. big time.

- dirty floating lines don’t float well, sit lower on the water surface or can actually sink, specially towards the thinner tip. this really sucks too.
the gunk that accumulated on the line prevents the surface tension thing from happening and it slowly goes under.
in the case of nymphing where we watch the line tip we don’t see it anymore and when fishing a floating fly, when we get a strike the extra ‘stick’ caused by the line tip and leader butt being underwater really helps in missed hookups because of instead of the line being instantly pulled up in a straight line from fly to rod tip, the rod end of the fly line goes upwards towards the rod and there’s a level, more or less horizontal portion (the stick) and then another downward angle between line stick and the turning fish.

multiple suck ! not only we had a harder time presenting the fly properly but also put the odds against us when its time to hook up, all ending in the inevitable dork/angst expression typically seen on anglers when this situation occurs !

ok, now for the good:
clean and treated fly lines cast wonderfully. in fact they cast better than straight-out-of-the-box lines because they aren’t treated at the factory…
take all of the negatives written above and reverse them. it’s as simple as that.
a line that’s in good shape, clean and treated flatters your casting and allows the angler to focus on the main goal: fly presentation and hook up.

Tim’s video is as always great. note all the detailed explanations and you can’t go wrong.
tip- if you have a double kitchen sink, then its even better and easier than buckets !
there’ll be a few more tips at the bottom of the post but for now here’s the vids. enjoy !

- house-hold use micro-fibre cloths work better than those little pads regardless who makes them. i always have this one on my chest pack and among a bunch of it’s other possible uses, when i’m finished fishing i retrieve all the line that’s been used through the cloth and this removes any gunk before it has time to dry on the line. it takes like five extra seconds to do this and delays trips to the sink/buckets maybe tenfold.
line rag- the hardest part is finding the right recipient but when you do, a little pad soaked in line dressing stuffed away in the chest-pack gets a gunky or slowly-sinking line tip and leader butt back in shape in a minute when on the water. just pull the line in and run it through the pads. done.
line treatment swab- and lastly, Scientific Angler’s line treatment gel is the best i’ve found and used so far regardless of fly line brand its applied to. it stays on longer and doesn’t need to be dried or wiped down again before using the line again. i’m sure Rio will forgive me…

Invisible Stripping

or, the ‘basketless stripping basket’  by Joe Mahler

some nice and simple line-management tips from Joe are on the menu today and these just might reduce a lot of swelling.
the kind of mind-bloating-swelling exasperation we sometimes get when the line gets bunched up and catches the rod guides on the final delivery shoot or simply gets caught on the ground, grass, boat, bushes, shoe laces, rocks, vest (add your favourite anything because if it simply exists, it exists to catch our lines while we’re casting… )
another more-than-nifty use of Joe’s method is on rivers where retrieved line gets sucked downstream by the current which isn’t as bad as the list above but its still a pain.
anyhow, its all good but be sure to give this a little practice at home before the big trip so’s to avoid dextrous confusion whilst fishing. enjoy !

How fly lines are made

of course there’s a lot missing but then we wouldn’t expect a line company to openly share proprietary secrets. however, this short film from Rio gives us a good and simple insight on the making of what’s the most important element in the fly casting system: the fly line.
every manufacturer will have their own variants, profiles and special ingredients that make them unique but the basic construction is the same. enjoy !

Fly Lines- Understanding Skagit and Scandinavian Shooting Heads

Demystifying Skagit and Scandinavian Shooting Heads
by Peter Charles via hooked4lifeca

once we get over the infomercial aspect and the ever-false “The Anchor loads the Rod” notion we’re left with a very good and comprehensive, straight, simple and easily understandable description for those wanting to understand modern two-handed rod shooting-head systems and incorporate them to their bag of tricks. enjoy !

Line Dancing

with Pavel Kupstov

a lot could be said about Pavel’s excellent technique but for today let’s just sit back and enjoy a little fly line ballet.

Sinking Fly Line Techniques 101

constantly surprised to hear so many anglers consider sinking lines as ‘specialty’ items or even lines they’ve never used, this new video should be able to set things straight for the neophyte who wants to expand their fishing possibilities but, the well-seasoned sinker just might pick up a thing or two as well.

once passed the rather awkward intro… the always-pleasant-to-hear Simon Gawesworth and his Rio cohorts kick in with a whole bunch of  very good info and tips and trick that can make or brake your day at the lake when fishing below the surface. enjoy !

note: not that i mean any disrespect or anything but contrary to some of the explanations, there’s absolutely nothing new or revolutionary about density compensated sinking lines nor non-stretch cores or even the hang marker. as far as i know, it seems like its the first time these markers are factory made and good on them for doing this but its an old trick of the trade stillwater anglers have been making on their own for decades. however, what may be ‘revolutionary’ is producing a combination of these three elements at the factory. good job, i can’t wait to try one out.

Sinking Fly Lines and Tips Sink Rates- Fact and Fiction

via Fly Fishing Research

if you too have ever had the strong feeling that sinking lines and tips don’t get down as advertised this article’s for you.
of course, given the myriad variables encountered in real-life fishing situations as opposed to lab environments like:
– current or it’s equivalent on stillwaters: wind
– and water temperature
– and tippet diameter and length
– and fly size and it’s buoyancy
– in the case of sink-tips if it’s attached to a floating line or sinking main line
– how hard or delicately the lines/tips land on the water
and other goodies like whether different parts of the line or tip’s diameters sink at different rates (something i didn’t see in their findings but i suspect is highly relevant)
yes, some manufacturers make density compensated lines, meaning the front of the fly line will sink faster than the back with the goal of keeping the complete line straight during the retrieve, but most sinking lines are single density.

anyhow, to spice things up even more, add to all of this a quasi-consistently ever-changing environment and probably a few other bazillion other things i’m not thinking about at the moment and it would basically be impossible for manufacturers to give us exact sink rates, but then, they could at least do those tests with the exact same things we’re buying in the package instead of shortened lengths and other non-realistic methods.

so, in the end we’re left with nothing very concrete sink-rate wise but is this really a problem ?
no, but since most of the variables mentioned above are about slowing down the sink process we’ll have to take them all into account and react accordingly instead of blindly relying on what’s written on the package, most often selecting lines or tips of a higher sink rate to eventually get the fly to what we hope is the right depth. hopefully…

if the article below tickles your funny bone be sure to click the links for descriptions of their studies, fluid dynamics studies, realistic charts, the science of sink rates and equations and other goodies. enjoy !

Sink Rate
Fly fishermen and manufacturers have long used sink rate (also called “type”) as a standard by which to compare sinking lines. Simply, sink rate is the speed at which a straight, horizontal section of line sinks in still water. For example, a type 3 sink tip sinks at 3 inches per second; a type 6 sink tip sinks at 6 inches per second.The manufacturers with whom we have spoken (Airflo, Rio, and Scientific Anglers) all measure sink rates the same way. They drop a short (1″-2″) piece of line in a tank (or tube) of water in a laboratory setting, and use sophisticated laser technology to determine the exact amount of time required for the line to sink a given distance. The advantages of this method are that it’s simple, transparent, and reproducible (doing the same test multiple times for the same line segment yields nearly identical results). However, we have found that the sink rates determined by this method overstate the true sink rate of a longer section of line — as would be used for fishing. We are grateful to Bruce Richards of Scientific Anglers (SA), who helped us test this in a sensible way. In his labs, Bruce measured the sink rates of 1″ – 2″ lengths of three of SA’s sink tips. He then shipped these same three sink tips to us. We meticulously measured the sink rates of long (10 ft) segments of these lines in a still-water swimming pool. We found that the long segments sink more slowly than the short ones by 8% to 17%.That short line segments sink faster than long ones is also predicted by fluid dynamics theory. The principle is the same in the design of aircraft wings, where theory and experiment have shown that very long, thin wings provide more lift than shorter ones. For short line segments, water flows rapidly around the ends of the line, reducing the vacuum on the high side of the line that contributes to its drag (…more on why short segments sink faster).For long (e.g. 10 ft) line segments, this “flowing around the ends” effect is negligible. In actual fishing situations, it is totally negligible because both ends of the line are connected to another line. So, while the manufacturers’ test is simple and reproducible, their measurement method itself leads to overestimation of sink rates. Jim Havstad independently reached this same conclusion — that short line segments sink faster than long ones — in his seminal study of fly line sink rates.In addition, we have noticed that in some (but not all) cases, manufacturers “type” designation deviates further from actual (long segment) sink rates than the difference in measurement methods would suggest. For example, a 109 grain, 15′  tip we tested sinks at 5.6 inches per second, even though its label says “Type 8.”To support more accurate determination of sink rates, we explain the science of sink rate. Multiple independent experiments have validated the accuracy of it’s predictions within a few percent — over many years, over many line types, and across several different experimenters. The results are simple sink rate lookup tables and also a sink rate and rule number calculator, which we publish here for the first time. For any given line diameter and grain weight, you can simply look up its sink rate in a table or calculate it with an on-line calculator. Such calculations are exact, in the sense that they are determined entirely by known laws of fluid dynamics and known physical constants. (Working through the sink rate equations is not for the faint of heart, but we provide them for those who wish to understand the theory or to program their own sink-rate calculator.)