Don't get caught unprepared! Spring is rapidly approaching and we want you to be ready to get out on the water. There are a few things you should do every year to make sure you and your gear are ready to catch fish.
Get back into fishing shape - You've spent all winter waiting for warmer days and dreaming of rising trout. Be ready for that day and make the most of it. Get back into fishing shape! No, you don't need to hit the gym or run 10 miles on the treadmill (although it wouldn't hurt). All you need to do, is get that fly rod out and hit the backyard. Here are a couple things to work on:
Just practice casting - Get used to having that fly rod back in your hand. Work on your timing and remember your 10-2 (11-1, if you ask me).
Accuracy - Find some landmarks or put objects in your yard at varying distances. Try to put your casts as close as you can to those objects. When you have 1 shot at putting your dry fly in front of that big brown, be ready for it!
Distance - You will hear that most of the fish you catch, when fly fishing for trout, are within 30 feet. That's because most people can't cast further than 30'! Don't be that guy/girl. It is true that most fish you catch will be closer in than 30', but sometimes you want the ones past that 30' mark. Be ready. If you do not know how to single haul or double haul, learn it. If there is one cast you need to learn, the double haul is it. Once you learn it, you will incorporate it into every cast, whether you are casting 10' or 70'. Here is a link to a video I did a couple years ago. www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RpkAL0uVmU&t=265s
Other - Another cast worth knowing for dry fly fishing, is the reach cast. Fishing for rising fish downstream of you, this cast is money! With this cast while you are casting downstream you will bring your rod tip upstream as your line is laying out on your forward cast. This will get all of your line upstream of your fly so your fly will get to the fish before your line. This will keep you from lining the fish and spooking the fish, while also eliminating a mend (which could move your fly, spook the fish, or both) Here is a video example.
Gear - If your fly fishing gear has been laying in the garage all winter, there are a few things you should do to get that gear good to go so you avoid any failures when you are in the middle of a river.
Rods - Your rod is pretty maintenance free. Pretty much the only thing you need to do to maintain your rod is keep it clean and make sure your ferrules are waxed. You can wipe your rod down with a wet or dry rag, make sure there is no buildup or anything
obstructing your guides, and check your reel seat for anything clogging the threads. If the cork on your handle is dirty, scrub it with a soapy sponge or sand it with some fine sand paper and have it looking like new. Put some ferrule wax on your ferrules (where your rod sections separate). This will hopefully keep those sections from getting stuck together.
Line - Your fly line is one of the most important parts of your fly fishing setup. Dirty, sinking or coiling line can make for a frustrating day but it's an easy fix. If your line has been spooled on your reel all winter, there are a couple easy things you can do to get it ready for action. You will want to clean, stretch and treat your line and you can do all of this at the same time. When you clean your line, have a bucket of soapy water and a rag or sponge. Pull your line off of the reel and put it into the soapy bucket. I grab the line where its attached to the backing and pull it through the soapy rag. This serves 2 purposes. You are cleaning the line and stretching the memory out of the line. Do this a couple times and the line should be clean and memory free. Inspect the line for cracks. if you have small cracks in your line, you can get away with using that line for a little longer, but its a sign that you might need new line soon (especially if they are in the head of the line). Large cracks will allow water to get inside the pic core and will cause your line to sink. It will also affect the casting of the line. I will then treat the head of my line with Mucilin. You can find it at any fly shop and it will help prevent the line from absorbing water and sinking. I always have Mucilin in the boat and if a line starts to sink, I dry it off, apply, and the line is riding high on the water again. All of the line manufacturers sell line cleaner and line treatments. They all work well and are quick and easy. They can be pricey and soapy water, works just as well. Don't be stuck on the water with coiled, sinking line. A little maintenance now, will save you from frustration later!
Reels - Your reel should be easy to maintain. Most of the modern reels do not require oil or grease. In fact, it is a no no to oil most reels. It will increase the gunk buildup. Simply rinse your reel in water and make sure there is no dirt or grime in or around any moving parts. If it spins smoothly and the drag works properly, you are most likely good to go.
Waders/Boots - Check for leaks. If they leak, patch them. Any large tears or leaks in the booty, may not be repairable at home. You might have to have them repaired by the manufacturer or get a new pair. Warranties on waders, typically, aren't more than 1 year, so if you've passed the warranty period, you're S.O.L! Waders are one of those items where, 'you get what you pay for.' You don't need to spend $1000 on waders, but the more layers the waders have, the pricier they will be. The 'higher' end waders will have more layers and will be more durable.
Flies - If you don't 'air' out your flies or fly boxes after you fish, you might want to check your hooks for rust. If wet flies have been laying around without being dried out, they will rust. If I find a rusted fly, it goes in the trash. A rusted hook, will break. You don't want to lose that big fish because the hook broke.
Rain Jacket - A good rain jacket can be the difference between a great day vs a miserable day. The spring months are the wettest months of the year and in Western NC and East TN, we get a lot of rain during the spring. March-June, you can almost guarantee getting wet. If you have a good rain jacket, take care of it. Wash your rain jacket! Most think washing a rain jacket, removes the waterproofing. That is not the case. Most manufacturers recommend washing their rain jackets. Cleaning them, helps refresh the treatment. If rain does start to penetrate through your jacket, re treat them with a DWR treatment.
Other - We've all got lots of other gear, so just keep everything in good working order and take care of it. Keeping everything dry after you are done, helps keep everything in tip top shape.
A lot of these things can be done after each fishing trip and don't take hardly any time. Now that you are ready to roll, get out there and go fishing! As always, we are available to get you out there and help you get on some fish. Spring is our favorite time of year to fish. There are some epic hatches and some awesome dry fly fishing. Give us a call and lets get out there!