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How to Maintain your Fly Rod

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Don't let your fly rod get into this state - maintain it using these handy tips Don't let your fly rod get into this state - maintain it using these handy tips

John Anderson is a self-confessed fishing buff from down-under Australia. He was introduced to fishing rods and other fishing tackle when he was four and shares with us his tips on how to take care of and maintain your fly rod.

 

Fly fishing – one of the best outdoor sports known to man.  Once you are out on the bank of a shallow stream flowing through the mountains, you have left all the worries back home. It is just you and nature- just a one-on one session- you versus the trout. Those of us who know how to fly fish are really lucky.  It is such a wonderful feeling to hear the birds chirping, the water flowing over the rocks and pebbles, the crickets, the wind – it all adds up to bring forth a wonderful scenic experience.

You catch a few trout and the joy doubles. You have an ear-to-ear smile as your fishing partner takes a snap or two with the fish to take back home.  You come back home and regale everyone with how you successfully caught the trout. Unless you are a seasoned fly angler (or maybe even then - Ed!), your fishing tackles lies there unattended where you left it! You may well be planning going back for another trip sometime soon, but there are chances that your fishing rod or any other tackle might not work well - the reason being you had left it in its less than ideal condition.

Quick Care Routine

Maintaining a fly fishing rod is not as hard as one might imagine. The rod in is in fact usually the most expensive piece of fishing gear and thus you might want to take good care of it. It is advisable to clean your rod after every use. Use warm water and mild detergent. And before putting it in the sock, make sure it is completely dry. Now put this clean, dry rod and store it in a hard tube. Lightly coating the ferrules with paraffin also helps a lot. If you notice any free and broken parts, replace as soon as possible. This is a quick care routine. Now follows the more elaborate maintenance routine.

Maintenance Routine

Start by cleaning the cork grip. Dampen the cork grip of the rod and place little household bleach on an old toothbrush. Now scrub the grip thoroughly and rinse well until there are no residues of the cleaner. Allow it to dry and return it to the case.

Do not miss cleaning the hardware, reel seat and rod blank. Spray furniture polish into each of the rod sections separately and use a soft flannel cloth to wipe it dry. Clean the guides with the corners of the cloth.  Same care goes for the metal or wooden seat spacers. Lubricate the ferrules with the help of a cotton swab dipped in alcohol and on a flannel cloth. 

The experts recommend you wipe down the rod blank and guides with a clean dry cloth. Take an old t-shirt or similar and wipe down the blanks and guides at least once a month. Add a little shine if desired by spraying furniture wax on a cloth and then wipe them. Run a nylon stocking or a cotton ball through each guide. The stocking or the cotton will be snagged- thus letting you know of any burrs or wears.  A 600 or 1000 grit sandpaper used to lightly sand off any burrs to reduce damage to the line.

Follow these simple measures to enhance the productivity and increase the longevity of your fly fishing tackle so that you can continue enjoying your fishing trips over and over again.







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Comments (19 posted):

mojo on 11/06/2012 10:47:33
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New article posted on theflyfishingforum.com: How to Maintain your Fly Rod Have a read and then let's hear your best or favorite tips for cleaning and maintaining your fishing tackle below! I agree with all but one tip. NEVER clean your cork. It's bad ju-ju!
brookfieldangler on 11/06/2012 12:23:46
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I agree with all but one tip. NEVER clean your cork. It's bad ju-ju! Never heard this before, but it makes sense. The night before I snapped my TFO I had cleaned the cork :eek:
Editor on 13/06/2012 15:20:46
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This has the makings of a whole new thread sometime - "Bad juju - what should you never do before you go fishing?" :D
Hardyreels on 13/06/2012 19:48:38
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Hi Paul, I am in full agreement with Mojo. Whether I have a new rod on the river or one I've been fishing for half my life I make sure to get plenty of mucus / slime, from the first and every fish of the day on the rod grip. As for the rest of the article it seems a little over the top unless you only fish once or twice a year. I've not ever used furniture polish on my rods but do make sure to clean the female ferrules regularly.......... Here's my tips for rod longevity: Do not make a practice of submerging your rod and reel when taking fish pictures. I have only ever dropped a rod / reel in the water once that I can recall and I have never had drag failures or grout in my reel seat hardware that I can recall. Unless you are kneeling beside your rod and are completely alone at a river or creek Never Lay a Rod on The Ground, I know of no better way to have one stepped on than this. The practice of laying a rod and reel in the sand, cobble or other stream side rubble will only contribute to what I alluded to earlier; sand & grout in your drags and hardware. Todays reels are also quite expensive whether you fish vintage tackle or a spanking new Ross the less you lay that reel on the rocks the fewer scratches, dings, and most importantly rim chips on the bottom edges of the reels you'll have. Nothing will detract from the resale value of a reel more than chips and other marring. The tip about using the hard tube is golden rule #1! As for wiping down after every use........... If you are fishing a vintage un-impregnated varnished bamboo this is of the utmost value but I seldom worry over graphite shafts. If they go in the bag & tube with moisture I remember to open the tube cap when they go back to their spot in the corner of my office. The open cap will allow for the moisture to escape and you will avoid any mildew problems by doing this. That's all I have and I'll say it again; don't lay those rods on the ground! Find something to prop them on where they won't be laid down by a breeze and get stepped on. And remember, fish slime is a good thing so don't be so fastidious about rinsing your hand every time you touch one. If I had washed off my hands after every fish I would still be somewhere in Pennsylvania trying to get the slime off of me :D Ard
Liphookedau on 13/06/2012 22:52:36
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How many of us really do clean our Gear? I know I always carry a piece of cloth to wipe Slime off The Cork Handle. Even though I inspect my Rods before using them & sometimes wipe them,I always make sure my Rods & Lines are cleaned,Reels dismantled,cleaned & greased before storage. I also make a thorough check to make sure all Gear is well dried before storage. To add to what Ard has said,if you do happen to lay a Rod down for Heavens Sake don't leave it where someone can walk on it,as I see all the time people leaving expensive Rods on or near Walking Tracks & I've nearly stepped on,I don't know how many Rods from people not thinking. Brian.
comeonavs on 17/06/2012 16:18:02
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I do clean mine every so often in these exact steps as the article. However I do work from home. I usually have somewhere between 8-12 hrs of conferrence calls between monday and friday alone, so I have to have something to kill the time :) I have found Ive bought several used rods that look ok but after doing this to them they look like new.
fredaevans on 17/06/2012 20:15:15
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Never heard this before, but it makes sense. The night before I snapped my TFO I had cleaned the cork :eek: YOU CLEANED THE CORK??????????? Bad person! Bad person.:rolleyes: Ju-Ju .... CARMA is everything on the river. :D I'm down here in southern Oregon and I can spot a Newbie out of Kalifornia in 30 seconds flat ... most look like "Orvis Boys." Actually had one of our 'old timers' walk up to me and point at my new Korker Chomes ..... 'So the old boots finally wore out?' Think 'shabby-sheek' (is that a word?) and no one even gives you a second glance. Well in my case some do as I use 2-handers 95% of the time. With three/four on a rod holder on top of the Jeep I look like a WW2 German Army communications car driving up.:rolleyes:
derekcj on 10/11/2012 10:55:00
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Good advice, thank you. If I may add one more tip. My sticking carbon fibre rod joints caused apoplexy. Twist with your fingers and a line guide breaks and slashes to the bone. Use a gripper of some sort and the rod crushes. Swearing may help, but the best preventer I have found is to coat the male insert piece by scribbling it with an old fashioned soft-lead pencil. Insert it and wiggle it a bit to coat the female. Repeat the process and, bingo, no more sticking,hypertension or spoilt rods.
wannafish on 10/11/2012 13:19:50
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I like the idea of fish slime on the cork but it gets pretty rank when you store your rods in the living room:)
Jackster on 10/11/2012 13:24:33
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I don't generally wax my rods anymore for no known reason but when I did, be it with furniture polish or automotive wax, I always made sure the rod was spotless before doing so. My way of thinking is that the wax would simply coat dirt and grime. To clean the rods I use Scrubbin' Bubbles foam bathroom cleaner spray. The foam really does lift the dirt from the nooks and crannys to be wiped off with a terry cloth towel. A word of caution passed on to me by a rod wrapping, bamboo rod building friend; stay away from silicone based products on your rods. Those silicone impregnated gn polishing cloths do make a rod shine but if the rod ever needs repair or touching, up new paint or glue has a hard time sticking to silicone residue.
thorsten on 10/11/2012 15:05:02
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Hello Fly Fishing Friends, My fishing equipment is a part of my hobby "Fly Fishing" and I like to have the feeling that my rods and reels are in perfect conditions. Because of that I clean up my rod, reel and line after every fishing day. For that I use a silicone oil which has a high viscosity. With that oil I have imbued a smal cloth, which I already use since nearly twenty years. It is right, that on surface which were in contact with silicone sticks no glue or other material, but if this would be necessary, you can sandpaper that area carefully to get a wettable surface. Also at the water I pay attention that my reel and rod never lay in the dirt to keep them clean.
brucerducer on 10/11/2012 19:15:22
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NEVER clean your cork. It's bad ju-ju! I believe in that. And that goes for many things. Stay away from the Bad Ju-Ju.
trouton on 10/11/2012 21:43:41
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I like the idea of fish slime on the cork but it gets pretty rank when you store your rods in the living room:) You must be single :wow: LOL
wannafish on 11/11/2012 02:44:30
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You must be single :wow: LOL Nope; just a real understanding wife :cool:
fredaevans on 11/11/2012 11:55:25
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A few drops of dish soap and running water in the kitchen sink will take care of that. I can see where 'aroma' may add to a guys 'Man Cave' but ladies take a dim view of that ..... or so I'm told.:yawn:
mojo on 11/11/2012 13:07:06
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I don't generally wax my rods anymore for no known reason but when I did, be it with furniture polish or automotive wax, I always made sure the rod was spotless before doing so. My way of thinking is that the wax would simply coat dirt and grime. To clean the rods I use Scrubbin' Bubbles foam bathroom cleaner spray. The foam really does lift the dirt from the nooks and crannys to be wiped off with a terry cloth towel. A word of caution passed on to me by a rod wrapping, bamboo rod building friend; stay away from silicone based products on your rods. Those silicone impregnated gn polishing cloths do make a rod shine but if the rod ever needs repair or touching, up new paint or glue has a hard time sticking to silicone residue. Jack, while I think that's true with bamboo, I don't think it pertains to graphite or fiberglass. Reason being, anyone that rewraps a graphite or glass rod, especially one that does repairs, will clean the area with alcohol or some other type of cleaner- thats if they're any good. Bamboo can absorb the wax/ silicone and can cause it to fisheye at the repaired spot. I've used Pledge on my rods and red musclin for floatant ( another no-no with bamboo rods). Any time I've re-wrapped a guide I've always cleaned the area before the repair, and before the re-wrap after the guide was cut off. Haven't had any problems at all.
sweetandsalt on 12/11/2012 15:23:01
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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.
Guest1 on 12/11/2012 21:40:05
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I do not recommend applying any sort of wax or polish to synthetic rods. 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 That might be fine for a single hand rod, but I wax the ferrules on my two handers every single time I use them. The forces involed in casting a 15' rod are far greater than those of a single hand rod. If you don't it will take less than half an hour and you will cast part of your rod into the water and bust a ferrule as sure as the sun shines. In fact the number one rule of a new two hander should always be wax every time. And it's not a matter of good ar bad menufacture either. It is a matter of physics. If you do it while it's relatively warmer and then fish till the temps drop like I do, you may find it hard to get them apart. I just hold the ferrule in my mouth till it warms up and comes apart.
sweetandsalt on 12/11/2012 22:03:07
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Dan, the wax I was referring to was a protective finish on the blank/guides not ferrules. Sure paraffin has been and is used by many as a ferrule integrity agent. I like some of the newer designs such as Orvis and Hardy use where they sand but do not paint the ferrules leaving some matte texture to them for better frictional grip. I am sure big two handers apply enormous stress on ferrules and I understand some still tape them like in the old days.
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