Improve your cast by maintaining your fly line!
Often times fly line is an overlooked bit of equipment. Each rod has a different feel or profile if you will, and finding the best line for your cast and your rod is important. Once you find that perfect line, do not forget to maintain, clean, or replace it when necessary!
Here is a good example of dirty or damaged fly line I cleaned/ replaced this past summer on a couple trout rods in Montana:
As you can see the color difference is significant between the new line and the old/ dirty line.
Line picks up dirt from your hands, the ground, and the floor of the boat. It can get dirty in a hurry if you fish a lot and it will make your line not perform and make it more difficult to get a smooth cast.
This is the difference between some dirty line and line that has been cleaned.
Well, How do I clean my line?
These line cleaning wipes from Rio are great, don't take up much space, and are perfect to keep in your bags for when you need them.
The Mucilin is just a silicone paste. If you have a floating line that is starting to sink a little, clean your line, rub some Mucilin between your fingers, and rub it in to the first 30 feet of the line or whatever part is not floating properly.
One pass pulling the fly line through the Rio cleaning wipe removes a significant amount of dirt and grime. This dirt and grime is what makes the fly line almost "stick" when you're casting.
To use the Rio cleaning wipe:
Strip the line off my reel on to a clean surface
Open the Rio wipe
Place the fly line in the crease of the wipe in the palm of your hand
Squeeze the wipe around the line and while keeping tension on the line with the wipe, pull the line through the wipe
Repeat until the wipe is used up/ the line is clean and slick to the touch
This is where the welded loop has cracked on the front of the line. There are ways to repair the welded loop but usually this happens after having use the line for a while, and you should just replace your line with new.
Keeping your line clean will extend the life of the fly line and help you be able to maintain or even improve your casting distance and accuracy.
If you are going on a trip to fish, and bringing your own equipment, clean your line at the least. Sometimes it is best to just replace it. Do not let old or dirty fly line limit you when you have the opportunity to catch the fish of a lifetime!
If you need new line, I have had great luck with Scientific Anglers fly lines for fresh and salt. For the 8wt Scott Sector we throw for Redfish, I really like the SA Infinity Salt Smooth line.
If you are not sure what line you need, take a look at the Scientific Anglers website or speak with your local fly shop!