Friday, March 1, 2013

Wishing for Spring... Cleaning Part 2

Winter in the Rockies!
Wishing for Spring...Cleaning Part 2. We have had snow in Northern Colorado, all of which is so needed to ensure we get our snow pack up. This is part two of a two part post intended to get you messing with your gear and counting down the days to get on the water.

Lines: I have to confess, I probably don't change my lines as often as I should; however, I do remove the backing and fly line. I inspect both for wear and damage. I replace them if they need it; otherwise, I re-spool them. I am sure the fishing gods frown on such behavior, I know the line manufacturers do.

Vest: I wear a Solitude vest that was a forest green at one point in its life; however, it is now a "wish I were sage" color. The vest becomes a collection of sunflower seeds, leader material, strike indicator backings, and a collection of energy bars that found the inside of a pocket instead of in my mouth. I take everything out of the vest, and check the condition of the zippers, snaps and Velcro closures. I have a water bladder in my vest. I fill the bladder with a tablespoon of baking soda and warm water. I let this set for an hour and rinse it really good. I check the mouthpiece, hose, and bladder for damage or leaks. Always check the insides of each pocket, otherwise you may find that some of your gear has become a gift for another fly fisher who finds it along the bank or in a pullout. If you use a chest pack, hip bag, or other vest system clean and inspect them. Make sure you have an emergency contact card in your vest, enclosed in a zip-lock bag, in case you pass out due to the size of the fish you caught and the next fly fisher that comes along gets you help. Washing your vest? Go for it! I like the character each trip adds to mine so mine is ala-natural. Water repellent treatment is good to add to the shoulder area if your vest is fabric and not mesh. A number of great water repellent sprays are on the market.

Net: As crazy as it sounds the time we realize the net is broken or has a hole in it is when we need it. Check the basket material and remove the collection of flies that are still tangled in the material, and repair any holes.  Depending on the condition of your basket, you may want to get a replacement. Check the handle and the  attachment system of your net for any damage. I strongly advocate releasing the fish we catch, so when you check your net make sure it is going to land the fish but also safely release the fish without injury.
Rocky Mountain National Park Brown

Stuff: And then there is the stuff... What would fly fishing be without the stuff? The fly boxes. Check your boxes for damage especially, excessive moisture that found its way in the box and has started to rust that collection of go to nymphs. I have my name and number on each of my cases because I believe in the humanity that is fly fishing and have had a fly box returned with all of its contents! De-barb those hooks and sharpen others. Now is the time to stock those boxes - tie'em or buy'em.

The tools. Make sure your inventory of clamps, nippers, thermometers, multi-tools, and other tools of the trade you may carry are functional. If you carry any electronics, check the batteries and the battery wells. I have this knack of batteries leaking in my camera. Check the water seals and make sure they have not been damaged during the excitement of the last big one before you dropped it. Make sure you have not lost any items that you think is still in your gear.

The Leaders and Tippet. Check
your leaders and tippet material. Make sure you have a good selection of lengths and diameters for your upcoming trips. Check the leader wallet or area you keep your extra leaders to make sure that moisture has not reeked havoc on them. Get rid of all the tippet and leader material that gets mysteriously stored in all nooks and crannies of your gear. CHECK YOUR TIPPET SPOOLS...may be I am the only one that has passed on getting new tippet material because I knew I had plenty to only find out I had a plastic disc that once held tippet material.

The Nymph Gear. Replenish you strike indicators, split shot, and clean out all the extras that have found their way everywhere...

Big Thompson Brown
Things to think about: The list that follows are a few items that have served me well on the river more than once. A small first aid kit that will easily fit in zip lock bag. A lighter with a couple of cotton balls soaked with vaseline for quick fire starting.  Dryer sheets - keeps the bugs away. A sunglass lens cloth. Don't forget some wipes for that clean fresh feeling, and a couple of protein bars. Rain Gear is so light weight and packable these days, don't leave home without it.

Hydration is a must. Whether it is a water bottle or an elaborate water bladder system, have water. Sun protection is important and should include quality sunglasses, chapstick, and sunscreen. I prefer a pump or spray sunscreen so I don't get it on my hands.

Arkansas River Brown
I have had Mr. Murphy with me on plenty of fishing trips! I try my best to make sure he does not come along unless I invite him. Taking care of my gear and preparing it prior to my trips helps ensure that he at least gets invited on someone else's trip.


  1. Part 2 is a great refresher on all that we take for granted when we head out fly fishing. Thanks for taking the time to remind us (especially us older geezers)that we need to stay busy getting things right. Hooray for the snow!

    1. I hope you found something you could use buddy! It is always a pleasure to have you stop by and thank you for your continued support!

  2. Great Post! I'm terrible at checking my gear over when I have the time to do it, and often end up on the stream wishing I had done it when I had time. You have reminded me to do that soon...

    1. BDF! I hope you notice the cameo appearance of BDF himself! Unfortunately we have had Murphy visit us on some of our trips! Not even gonna talk about the Orvis rod and my truck but it is worth a mention! HAHAHAHA

  3. Oh man, thanks for posting this Al. While going through my gear I realized that I must have left my wife up on the Poudre when I was there in Sept. Keep an eye out would you? Seriously good stuff here.

    1. I will keep my eye out for her Howard! Hope you got something out of it. If nothing else you know I need to get a life! Thanks for stopping by and your continued support and hope to get on the river with ya sometime!

  4. Hey NoCo, I noticed you didn't say anything about cleaning/inspecting your wading staff in either post........why would that be??? HAhahahaha....good memories. I think you discussed the reason why in an earlier post. Thanks for all the work. Its inspired me to get of the vise and do a little preventive maintenance.


Thanks for stopping by. Hopefully you found something that interested you. Leave a comment and I'll get back to ya. Happy Nymphing!