Here at Fishtec we have seen many times over that an improperly cared for fly rod can let you down. Caring for your fly fishing rod in the correct way will make it perform better, be 100% reliable and help make it last you a lifetime. Read on to find out how fly rods should be treated.
Follow our 11 top tips for taking care of your precious fly rod:
1. Take the cellophane off the handle: We see cellophane left on rod handles far too often in social media pics, when talking to anglers on the bank and in returns. You should always remove the cellophane from a cork rod handle before using it. It’s only there to keep dirt off in the warehouse/showroom. If you don’t, moisture will get underneath and will rot the cork and crumble the filler out. Naked cork also offers a far better grip and feel!
2. Never pack away a soaking wet rod: We have had several customer returns where this has clearly been done, with the rod stowed in a soaking wet bag and then zipped up in a tube. The strong musty smell of mildew is very apparent, as is mold and lifted white discoloured varnish. This is a sure-fire way to ruin your rod – cork will go spongy, glue will go soft, whippings will soak up water and it can spoil the varnished finish.
3. Give your rod a wash: Occasionally your rod deserves a clean up! Not every session, but once in a while. Most anglers never do this, but it will help enhance performance, particularly if the eyes are dirty. Use a sponge, luke-warm water and fairy liquid. An old toothbrush will help you get in the eyes and crevasses in the reel seat and spacer. If you use your rod exclusively in saltwater, then this is essential after every use. At the same time take the opportunity to check rings for wear and damage.
4. Clean your cork: Your cork handle can get dirty, discoloured and even muoldy. The best way to deep clean is to use isopropyl alchohol and a rag (same stuff used to repair Simms waders). This stuff is also available as the Airflo Bloc-IT leak detector. Lighter fluid can also be used to give your cork a good cleanse.
5. Clean the ferrules: Take care to ensure your ferrules are clean. Grit, dirt etc. can and will get trapped in them. If dirty when you push together you risk them getting stuck, or causing damage to varnish and ferrules. This in turn then contributes to sections slipping, or getting stuck.
6.Check your ferrules during fishing: Even the best designed fly rods will experience some twisting at the section joints. One angler will get slippage but a friend picking up and casting same rod may not! It all depends on the individual caster’s ability, casting style, fly line used, even wind direction – the way you cast and fish has a huge impact on this. Every angler should check the connections and push back together (if necessary) as an automatic reflex at least several times each session. Loose sections are a major cause of broken rods.
7. Use candle wax on a loose section: Over time due to improper care of ferrules (see tips 5. & 6) sections can be more prone to twist if they have worked loose or have had grit in them. Use of candle wax rubbed on male part of ferrule will help slippage greatly.
8. Pack your rod way carefully: A major cause of breakage is a rod just carelessly thrown in the car boot, garage corner etc. The wife, kids or dog knock them over yet the rod makers get the blame when an inch missing off the tip or crack is discovered on the water side. Once your rod is dry use the rod sleeve and hard case it was originally supplied with. If you have lost yours, these Airflo multi rod cases are perfect for keeping several fly rods out of harms way.
9. Rod sections stuck together: Stuck sections are most often caused by lack of cleaning ( see tip 5.) If this happens try using two people each side and pull straight. If that fails cool down, or freeze the stuck section then pour warm water over the female section only, then pull hard. Getting hold of non slip rubber patches (used in drawers) or using a tea towel for a better grip can be a great help.
10. Store the sections in the correct way: Stow with the cork handle up with the tip end also facing upwards next to it. This minimises any chance of the tip getting damaged when being pushed down, and the handle acts to protect the tip and give something to grip when pulling out of the case.
11. Clean your reel seat and thread: Prevent your locking rings from jamming and cross threading by cleaning regulatory with an old toothbrush. If you fail to do this you could ruin your reel seat – many rod makers charge extra to replace butt sections!