How To Get New Fly Line For $5, Or Pretty Close

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Photo by Louis Cahill

Photo by Louis Cahill

Think you need a new fly Line? Spend $5 First.

I was out fishing with my buddy Scott the other day. He broke off his rig while I was on the oars so I handed him my five weight to fish. Scott took one cast and asked,

“What fly line is this? I’ve got to get one!”

What Scott didn’t know was that I had fished that same line just two days earlier and it had been miserable. The line stuck to the water and the guides. It felt like you could barely pull it through the guides, let alone shoot it. It was filthy.

“It’s a RIO Gold,” I told him. “But what you like about it is that I dressed it last night.”

It’s such a simple thing to clean and dress a line, but so many anglers don’t do it. At least not regularly enough. I’m guilty too but at least I know how to fix the problem. And now, so do you. Before you spend $90 on a new fly line try this out. I’ll bet it solves a lot of your problems.

How to clean and dress a line

71vcI1R7uQL._SL1246_Start by cleaning the line. Putting line dressing on a dirty line just makes a slurry. It’s best to clean your line often and so I keep it simple. I use finger wipes. The kind you get at BBQ joints. Individually packaged, alcohol towelettes. I bought a case of 1000 of them for $7 wholesale years ago. You can get them HERE. I keep them in my boat bag so I can clean my line any time. It takes seconds.



Once the line is clean I dress it with Mucilin green label. Mucilin is a silicon paste line dressing. It can be used even when the line is wet. Again, easy and immediate. Just rub some into the applicator and pull the line through it. The whole process of cleaning and treating doesn’t take two minutes.



Unless your line is truly shot, it will cast like new. Better actually. Keeping your line clean and dressed will also extend it’s life immensely. Fly lines are not cheap and it pays to take care of them.

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
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10 thoughts on “How To Get New Fly Line For $5, Or Pretty Close

  1. Thanks. Great ideas. Such a simple thing to do to greatly improve the castability of the line! Just FWIW, the towelettes you linked have no alcohol and have a lemon scent. Readers might be interested to know that not all line conditioners are created equal. Rob Ketley wrote an article for California Fly Fisher a couple of years ago in which he reported results from his tests on about 8 line conditioners to determine which ones made the line slicker. As I remember, Glide and Russ Peak’s performed better than the rest, and one from a major line manufacturer was particularly bad, but I don’t think Green Mucilin was included in the study.

  2. Wash it with Bon Ami non-abrasive cleaning powder and apply a coat of Armorall. It will stay slick and wipe clean easier than silicone paste.

    • There are many cases where Armor All damaged a fly line, causing the protective coating to deteriorate or prematurely crack . I like the Gink recommendation much better. Check with the fly line manufacturer before you consider Armor All .

  3. Any chance you can repeat that video from a few years ago that shows how to spin the flyrod in order to remove line twist? It works great but I forgot the proper direction. Thanks

  4. One evening I was down in the basement cleaning my Remington 1100 after a few weeks on the trap field shooting league. At the time I was a big Frog Lube fan boy, and still am for my EDC. I was heading out the next day to do a little fishing and I thought hey lets see if this stuff can restore my line as well as it does the O Ring on the 1100. I had a very abused line on my 4 wt. I gave it a try. The line was clean as a whistle, as supple as over cooked spaghetti, and floated all day in the film. If you have some Frog Lube on your bench or your range bag give that old line a cleaning with it. It is a one step process to rejuvenate that old line.

  5. Ok, try this!! This is straight from the guys who build the fly lines for Scientific Angler. Since the coating of the fly line is all the way to the core you can revive your fly line by taking a Scotch-Brite pad and rub your fly line with it until you just see a very small amount of the fly line coating appear on the pad. Then add your fly line conditioner when completed. This works and makes your fly line new again. Don’t believe me call up Scientific Angler and ask – it works and will not damage your line!

  6. I used Mucilin for years and I don’t believe it damaged my flyline. However, checking various forums reveals that a lot of fishermen think otherwise and even state that some manufacturers (Scientific Anglers in particular) state that Mucilin damages their lines.
    Somehow I feel that the argument for and against Mucilin might be similar to the one about cleaning rimfire rifles, ie. do what suits you.

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