Stretch Thy Fly Line

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fly-line-stretching Stretch your fly line before fishing for better performance. Photo: Louis Cahill

Are you looking for a little more distance in your cast?

Is your fly line not shooting through your guides as easy as it should? Is it lacking that fresh from the box buoyancy? Are you spending more time untangling your fly line than fishing? If your answer to any of the above questions is yes, you should think about taking a couple minutes before hitting the water to stretch your fly line.

Fly line reeled up tight on the reel and unused for periods of time will cause it to get “coil memory” for lack of a better term. And although the issue gets worse the longer a fly line sits on a fly reel unused, the process begins quickly, and can even nuisance fly fishers that are lucky enough to find time to fish once a week.

For years without thinking about it, I used to rip off sixty feet of fly line off my reel onto the ground and stretch it by hand at the truck. It worked, but doing so my fly line got dirt and grime all over it in the process. Yeah, I know, I could do it on the water or even better, at the house before I leave, but call me old fashioned, I like to string up my rod before I hit the water.

I fly fished for years before I thought to use my 2″ ball on my truck, and many more years before the light bulb went off in my head to use the roof rack to stretch my fly line. I’ve yet to come up with a better way to stretch my fly line solo. It’s quick, allows me to quickly stretch the majority of my fly line and when I’m done, I can reel it back in without it touching the ground and getting dirty. Try it next time you go fishing and find yourself with a fly line coiled all to hell. It’s a quick fix that will make your fly line cast and float a whole lot better and stay tangle free.

Probably wouldn’t hurt to hit it with some fly line cleaner and conditioner occasionally as well, in between trips. If your fly line is twisted as well, stretching it won’t untwist it. The best thing you can do, is drag it behind the boat and let it untwist or if you don’t have a boat, wade to a fast riffle and let your fly line out. Rod tip in water, let the fly line float downstream until you get tension and hold it there for a solid minute. It works best if you don’t have a fly on the end of your leader. There you go, two tips for getting twist-free and coil-free fly line.

Keep it Reel,

Come fish with us in the Bahamas!

Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline
www.ginkandgasoline.com
hookups@ginkandgasoline.com
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4 thoughts on “Stretch Thy Fly Line

  1. Thanks Louis. Wondering how your attach your line to your roof rack.
    I’ve been using the roof rack for a number of years now. I have a metal tent stake made from round stock which I shove in one of the holes in the rack, then put the loop of my line or leader over the hook part of the stake and then stretch…One thing you didn’t mention is, after putting tension on your line and holding it for a it bit, (and I think this is key to a successful stretch), do a slow, controlled release of the tension. I count to ten as I slooooly release the tension.

  2. And remember, monocord or other non-stretch fly lines will always be a pain. Great for hook set (tarpon) terrible for “balling” up on a cast.

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