Taking care of your fly rod is very important to it’s longevity. You can extend the life of your investment by spending just a few minutes on care and maintenance before putting it away for the season. It’s also a good idea to perform these steps mid-season or after and extended fishing trip. If you’re fishing in saltwater, this should be done fairly often.
- Give the rod a good cleaning with soap and warm water, paying special attention to the cork and reel seat area. Most “fish gunk” builds up here. Fish scales and slime attract a lot of dirt, sand and other substances that have the potential to harm the finishes.
- Dry the rod thoroughly with a soft cloth, especially the metal components.
- Inspect the guide wraps and epoxy coating. If any fraying or cracking is evident, take the rod to a local repair shop for repair. The last thing you need next season is to loose a trophy because of a weak guide.
- Push a cotton ball through each guide. Rough spots will snag little pieces of cotton and expose potential rough edges that will eventually cut or fray you fly line. Sanding or filing the rough spots is generally a bad idea. It can remove the finish on the metal and lead to more problems. Have worn or rough guides replaced.
- If everything looks good, the next step is to polish the rod. Furniture polish is just the thing for this. Spray a liberal amount on a soft cloth and work it over the length of the rod.
- Sealing the Cork grips is the next step. If there are major rough areas, take steel wool or a Scotch Brite pad and work the cork thoroughly. This will remove a thin layer or cork, but also take with it any dirt or grime that collects in the pits in the cork. Seal with U-40 Cork Seal or Tru-Oil Gun Oil.
- Now is also a great time to do some reel maintenance as well. Remove the spool and clean and oil all internal parts. Q-Tips work great for getting the grime out of cracks and crevasses.
- Cleaning and inspecting your fly line is also a great idea, and something that should be done on a regular basis. Fly lines collect a lot of harmful substances that not only reduce the life of the line, but more importantly, can ruin the rod guides. Clean with warm, soapy water, dry thoroughly and treat with sealer / re-conditioner. Floating lines especially benefit from regular cleaning and treatments.
- Finally, store you rod in a bag or solid tube (preferred) and put in a safe place. It will be ready for next season, or the next trip.