Usually when we discuss line management in fly fishing terms, we refer to line control on the water and handling line while wading or in a boat. Today, we are going to look at line management in a different way. In short, what do we have to do to preserve the life of our fly line and achieve optimum performance?
During use, fly lines pick up material that is in the water. This happens anywhere we fly fish- in trout streams, bass ponds, saltwater flats, and more. There is a build-up of residue that adheres to the line, creating friction that slows the line as it passes through the rod guides. This same residue can also increase the density of line, making it float lower in the water and become harder to pick up. Bottom line- the performance of the line is compromised.
The fly line is arguably, the most important part of our entire outfit. The line weight determines the type of fishing we can do and the outfit is assembled around that line weight. You can have the finest fly rod made with a proper weight line, but if the line is dirty or sub-standard in some way, casting becomes difficult at best or possibly even impossible.
A good line will make any rod perform to its maximum potential. Having the line balanced to the rod with a proper taper design are keys to this. A modern, premium fly line is a precision tool and just like most tools and equipment, needs periodic maintenance. We are fortunate that this is a quick and simple process.
Scientific Anglers fly lines are made of a proprietary formulation of PVC coating that is adhered to one of several type cores, depending on what the line’s primary purpose is. We feel that PVC is the best all-around coating for fly lines at present. The addition of microscopic glass bubbles make the line float, while tungsten powder makes it sink.
Various additives help to increase the slickness of the line and increase durability. Scientific Anglers AST and AST Plus are impregnated through the entire line, from the core to the outer surface. They are not just a coating which wears off over time causing the line to “drag” through the rod guides and decrease casting efficiency and distance.
AST and AST Plus last the entire life of the fly line and are designed to move to the surface of the line, passing through microscopic pores, to maintain the slickness and UV protection of the line. Over time and depending the type of water where the line is used, these pores can become clogged and the performance of the line is affected. This is most prevalent in places with a lot of vegetation, algae, or suspended matter in the water.
To clean the line and open these pores, the best item to use is Scientific Anglers Fly Line Cleaning Pads. These have a micro-abrasive side to them, very similar to a polishing pad. They can be used on all fly lines from any manufacturer. Wet the pad, pinch it over the line, and run it up and down the line. Do this until a bit of the line color shows on the pad. At this point the line is clean and ready to fish. This will also restore slickness and floatation to any line containing AST or AST Plus. You can rinse of the pad and store it for future use.
In this short video, Scientific Anglers R&D Manager, Josh Jenkins gives us a look at using the Line Cleaning Pads. https://www.scientificanglers.com/product/2-pack-cleaning-pads/