Re: How to Maintain your Fly Rod
I believe in keeping rods clean. If one fishes the salt there is an imperative to doing so and I favor particularly dirty spring creeks and tail waters rich with weed and organic material. On a salty trip I will hose my assembled rods down at the end of each day with the reels' drags set hard to preclude water from getting to the oiled cork (if any). On a sweet water excursion I don't do much cleaning unless unusual circumstances occur. I agree with all who have encouraged us to not lay tackle in a vulnerable location or on rocky surfaces. Leaning a rod up in branches streamsdie is fine and, if one must put a rod down to string it up where no soft surface exists, your hat can be used to protect reel and rod butt hardware. Returning from and extended trip I will wash my tackle. Working in batches and not mixing rods of the same make and color, I'll take up to three at a time into the shower with me. I'll rinse and soap and rinse paying particular attention to the nooks where the guide feet are covered by wraps, towel them down and set them in my office to dry and be admired for a couple of days prior to returning them, with a final inspection, to their respective sleeves and tubes. I do not recommend applying any sort of wax or polish to synthetic rods. They have protective polymer based coatings from the factory or in the case of unsanded rods like old Scotts, the pre-preg excess resin forms a protective shield. Wax can only invite the entrapment of particulates.
Two sticky subjects: 1. Ill mating ferules are bad rod design and should be addressed with the manufacturer. Rods that loosen during fishing are eventually going to break at a joint when you overlook tightening them (all ferrules should be checked periodically during an active day of angling). Equally annoying are ferrules that stick hard when the rod has been left assembled for several days. Yes a bit of paraffin can help but this again is symptomatic of flawed design. Ferrule integrity is something I am critically analytical of when fishing a newly acquired rod. 2. Cork maintenance. We have had fun with this subject in an earlier thread, now like then, I take a middle ground. I would never coat, paint, treat, bleach or perform any other cosmetic aberration to lovely natural cork. However, once a critical mass of accumulated mucus, sunscreen, bug dope and blood sweat and tears have rendered your grip handsomely dark but too slippery to grasp, cleaning is advantageous. I, again during the shower cleaning ritual, squirt some Soft Scrub, or other household mild abrasive cleaner, on the cork and rub it by hand then rinse it off. It does not remove the honorable darkening from use but returns the corks surface to a state allowing correct communication between your hand and rod grip. I assure you, all appropriate superstition aside, a cleaned rod still catches fish and will soil again and again. The main thing is storing rods dry and dark while still risking their well being as frequently as possible by exposing them to the watery elements.