Stretch Thy Fly Line

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

Are you looking for a little more distance in your fly 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
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22 thoughts on “Stretch Thy Fly Line

  1. when I was in my teens, I remember seeing a fly angler at the boat launch who had his line wrapped around a short little fence post and he was backing up to ‘get the kinks out’ of his line. I will always recall that eye-opening moment and I need to put this into my pre-river regimen more frequently.
    Tight Lines,

  2. Kent. I know I have asked you this before on another photo from months ago…and maybe its because I love that water but I swear this shot looks to me like one of the pullovers in Macon Co., NC upper N?
    Thanks for all your and Louis’s good work. G and G is part of my daily ritual.

  3. Pingback: Stretch Thy Fly Line | Fly Fishing | Gink and Gasoline | How to Fly Fish | Trout Fishing | Fly Tying | Fly Fishing Blog | The Leet Angler

  4. I never realized that would help. Thanks. I have a 5 wt Pflueger I keep in the cap of my truck, on the side; just because. I havent used it for several years and the last time I tried the line looked like a slinky. I’ll Try it but I think it’s time for a new line.

  5. Kent,
    How are you securing your line to whatever you’re using as an anchor I’m guessing a few wraps over itself, but doesn’t that leave a curly que in the end of your line ?

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