I often see people on the stream who are upset because some small piece of their gear is not working correctly. Here are some things that you should check at the beginning of the year, which will help you be less frustrated and hopefully more productive on the water.
- Check all of the guides on your rod for nicks and burrs. These small nicks will cut fly lines or leaders and tippets and may cost you a fish of a lifetime, or at least you will have to buy a new line or leader. To check for burrs take a small piece of nylon pantyhose and pull it back and forth through your guides. If it tears or hangs you have a burr or nick and that guide needs to be replaced.
- Check your fly line. If it is cracked then replace it. You will also want to take time to redo nail knots or loop knots that are over 1 year old. Then clean your entire line with mild soap and water and then coat with Glide dressing or your favorite dressing. You will be amazed at how much this helps your old line.
- Check your tippet. Most tippet will break down in about 6 months after it has been exposed to UV (sun) light. If you are like me and have dropped it in the water, then it probably is really weak. So check your tippet for strength, your 5# 5x tippet is probably going to test at about 3#.
- Check your waders. Look for any leaks or dry rot that may have occurred over the winter or since the last time you fished. Turn them inside out and fill them with water, and look for leaks. Either patch the leaks you find or take your waders to your local shop and have them patch them.
- Check your flies. Remove flies with rusty hooks that you may have fished or dropped in the water. Usually, that rusty hook is a sure indication that the hook will break with a little pressure from the hook set.