The most commonly replaced piece of expensive fly tackle is the fly line. A decent fly line can cost between $20 and $100 and will wear out in a matter of months if you fish often enough (no one fishes too much ;)). Making a fly line last as long as possible can leave some cash in the bank to purchase more flies, leaders, tippet or these days…..gas. Read on to find out how you can get more miles out of your Trout lines.
Fly fishers frequently bring their reel into the shop looking for a new line. Oftentimes the old line on the reel is cracked and heavily worn. When a line is badly cracked many of the anglers comment about how little fishing they’ve done, and how fast the line broke down. Sometimes lines are just plain bad but most of the time cracking is caused from operator error. You can quickly find out if you are prematurely wearing out your lines by checking the condition of the fly line tip compared to the condition of the belly of the line. If you are guilty of what I’ll describe below your fly line tip will be in good shape, but 10 to 35 feet into the line will show heavy wear and cracking. This is opposite of how a line should wear. If you think about it you’ll quickly realize the fly line tip contacts water, moss, algae, dirt and line guides the most, and the belly of the fly line is on the reel or just out of the reel which means it isn’t exposed to the elements as much. The tip should wear out first.
Most lines I see in the shop that have “prematurely worn out” are worn due to operator error. If while fishing you pull line off the reel while casting your line is being pulled directly across the reel support at the bottom of the reel. This action drags the fly line directly across the aluminum support at the bottom of the reel and will eventually groove the aluminum to the point where it ruins the coating of the line. It doesn’t seem like the soft, supple fly line is capable of cutting into the machined or cast aluminum of your fly reel but with a little dirt your fly line can do some serious damage. If you are right handed, take a look at the left edge (while holding the cork of the rod with the reel mounted) of the reel support at the bottom of your fly reel. If the reel support is grooved or starting to remove the anodized finish from the reel you know you need to stop the bad habit! Cracked lines that are nearly new are almost always caused from this common habit.