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Equipment TLC: The Importance of Cleaning Fishing Gear

Equipment TLC: The Importance of Cleaning Fishing Gear

Mike Heck talks cleaning your fishing gear. He goes over the importance of cleaning your gear, and the best methods to use to keep your rods, reels, lines, and waders/boots working like they should!


One of the most overlooked things in fly fishing is proper care of rods, reels, lines and wading apparel. Case in point, as a guide, I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard “I just bought this line and it just does not cast like it used to.” So, I usually ask, “When did you clean it last?” and you can guess the answer. It is essential to clean your equipment so that it can perform at it's best.


Cleaning your fly-fishing equipment throughout the fishing season is paramount. Clean equipment always performs better. Cleaning will also prevent breakdowns, especially when it comes to reels. Also, clean equipment will help prevent the spread of invasive and crippling stream diseases.


Lines: Fly lines cast much better when clean. I can’t even begin to count the number of times that I have cleaned a customers’ fly line to improve its performance. I clean my own fly line after every third use. Then at the end of the season or if I know I’m done using that line, I always give it a good cleaning before putting it away. With my double taper lines, I will completely clean the entire line at the end of the season so when it comes time to flip the double taper line again, I know it is clean and ready.


Shop Fly Line Cleaning Wipes


Reels: If you have some older reels, they may have metal gears. It is best to hit them with a little reel lube. Always make sure those gears are clear of grit or sand. A can of compressed air works really well. Take the spool and blow out all the debris, you may not even be able to see it. If you are fishing and drop your reel in sand or dirt, immediately wash it off in water, then blow it out when you get back to camp or home.


Shop Loon Reel Lube


Rods: Rods do not take as much care but dirty rod guides can hinder casting. Twice a year, I clean the guides and the rod. I spray Windex on a paper towel and wipe the guides out and then the entire rod. When my cork handle starts getting dirty, I will scrub it with a mild detergent and soft scrub and then wash it off thoroughly.


Boots: We all have to do our part to prevent the spread of invasive stream diseases and this is the reason that some states have banned felt wading boots. If you have public water at your house, the water is already chlorinated. Simply wash your boots off well. If you’re not on public water, a 1:1 ratio of bleach and water mixed together will work well. Soak your boots for a few minutes and then rinse them off completely.


Waders: Waders are the most important tool a fisherman has. First of all, waders should be sprayed off after each use to get rid of dirt and help eliminate disease spread. Once a year, I will use a soft brush and scrub my waders with hot water and Dawn dish soap. Rinse them well and hang them to dry. The most destructive issue with waders is mildew on the inside. If you took and unfortunate splash in the stream, you know we all have, or you were sweating, then the inside of your waders will be wet. Turn them inside out and allow them to dry. I will also wipe the inside of my waders with Clorox wipes to help eliminate mildew.


I hope this has been helpful. These few simple steps will help in keeping your equipment performing at its best, just like new.

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