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Ard 09-29-2013 01:59 PM

The Importance of a Dressed Line;
After so many years of fly fishing (circa 2008) it seemed hard to believe that I had missed anything but 2008 - 2009 is when I began to consider that I had. It was then that I bought a 13' rod for fishing my streamers and salmon flies. That rod sat for almost a year before I had the courage built up to give it a try. Now that may sound strange but I'm the type that is well set in my ways and something new just takes time to be accepted.

When I finally began using it the transition took only a short while; as in under half an hour and I couldn't believe how effective this was. I quickly discovered that I had been Spey casting for about 25 years using my single hand rods and that the length and the leverage provided by the 2 hand grip were what had been missing all those years. I've been fishing with feather wing streamers and other assorted wet / salmon flies since the late 1970's and the long rods have been what I needed to step up my game. The step up was 2 fold, effectiveness and enjoyment.

One thing I have learned and don't see addressed often is the need to keep those Spey lines floating high. I'm not suggesting that you use the same dressing that I use but you should be using something for sure. I find that when my line has been fished for around 12 hours it has lost some of its floating characteristics, it floats but is just under the surface film on the water. This makes for difficulty when you sweep up the line for a cast and especially if & when you are off just a split second with the timing between the anchor and the power stroke of the forward cast.

I fished yesterday and had not dressed the Carron Jetstream on my reel for way over 12 hours of use and it showed. I was pretty bummed because I had hiked quite a ways through terrain that I didn't want to backtrack through. The line dressing was in my tackle bag locked inside the truck so I had to do the best I could. Through 5 hours of casting I figure I had at least half a dozen really bad casts. The anchor stuck and the forward cast crumbled into a pile. With all 65' of the belly out the tip plus 13' of leader and etc. each occurrence meant a long wait while I fished out a very bad cast and allowed the line to go to the dangle strait down current from my position. I don't gather in bad casts, I fish them no matter how ugly they are because I've caught some dandy fish on some of the worst casts I've made. The only time I gather in my line (other than when leaving) is if I spot something hinky in the leader while the cast is going forward. In these cases you are way ahead to nip a square knot in the bud before it is drawn tight and will mean making a leader repair. I associate an unwanted knot in a leader with a weak spot and remove the bad section as soon as I might find one. However, if you watch each cast carefully you'll know by experience when something has went amok.

To make those lines work at their peak floatability I use old fashioned Mucillin in the red tin or plastic container to dress the lines. I know it was originally formulated for silks but it has been serving my vinyl coated lines ever since I started fishing. When the line is greased properly it floats high. This makes mending a snap and when you sweep up the line it comes off the surface with ease. The anchor is way less likely to stick or sink if you hesitate a second before directing the cast and I have almost '0' blown casts.

I just came in from dressing my lines on 2 reels for the upcoming week and I know that they will work just right when I start chasing that dream fish on Tuesday morning.

So......... whatever you use for line float, use it and use it often.

I thought this worth mentioning for those who either are having an unknown problem or those who just don't dress lines often. I always did this to my dry fly lines every trip. It helps them to lift up with very little disturbance and no slurp. All of that is very handy when fishing calm water for wary trout.


jaybo41 09-29-2013 03:01 PM

Re: The Importance of a Dressed Line;
Good post Ard. Well dressed and maintained lines for that matter certainly can make fishing much easier no matter a single or two hand rod. I know that when I'm fishing spring creeks my line gets cleaned and then dressed every other day or so as the organic matter really can coat the line and impact casting, thus presentation. Of course I dress the line as needed too. Mucillin goes with me on the stream, it keeps the line floating like a cork.

When I wipe down between uses, it's simply warm water and a paper towel, if really dirty I'll use a little dish soap. Now here's where things get a little complicated.

For my single hand lines, I have found that with my Airflo lines, they respond very well to Wiz Lube, which is Airflo's lube, go figure. Noticeably better in fact than the Rio Agent X which I use for PVC lines from Rio and SA. I'd imagine it to work equally as well on the Airflo two handed lines as well. I recently purchased some "El Slicko" from Poppy, which I understand is STP's Son of a Gun. It was noted that it too is very good for Airflo lines so I suspect it, like the Wiz Lube, responds better to the PU that Airflo uses. OCD about my gear? Absolutely! :p

Back to your point though, no matter what you fish and where, well dressed and maintained line can make a significant difference when you're on the river. My lines are cleaned, lubed and ready to rock. They will be wet from the 4th-12th and well I can't wait!

flyfishusa 09-30-2013 09:43 AM

Re: The Importance of a Dressed Line;
Great read Ard,

I agree, if you don't properly and regularly maintain your lines it just makes it a harder time fishing. I personally use AgentX Line Dressing it just makes my line do what I want it to do period.


Ard 09-30-2013 11:42 AM

Re: The Importance of a Dressed Line;
Hi Derek,

Someday I'll enter the 21'st century and try some of the new products that are available today. As it is I have enough of the old Mucillin paste in a tin that I just tapped last year. I ran out in 2011 and managed to find some vintage unused tins for sale and snapped them up like a hungry trout. I'm part of the 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' generation so I'll be good to go for some time now. However some of the newer casters may benefit from the product you suggest and I would urge them to be using something.

I read a lot of posts where members are worried about how often to replace lines or when to clean them. Sometimes it sounds like overthinking matters to me. What I don't hear are people talking about routinely dressing lines before fishing. I caught on to this a long time back and although I sometimes forget to do it, when I do dress them properly I have better casting for sure.


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