Care and cleaning of fly rods is often a very heated conversation on message boards.
We're coming upon the end of the season for many saltwater fly rodders, and many freshwater anglers as well.
So- what do you do with your rod now that the season is over. I've listed a few tips that we stress to all our clients at Great Bay Rod Company when they purchase their rods.
Thought this might be insightful for you guys. As the owner of a small fly rod manufacturing company we ask our clients to go through this checklist at the end of the year and halfway through their season.
-Prior to putting the rods away for the winter, give them a good cleaning with warm soap and water
-Dry thoroughly and inspect all guide wraps for cracks, etc.
-Inspect all guides for rough spots, corrosion, etc. by drawing a piece of cotton through them and see if the cotton catches on anything
-If there are any rough areas or cracks in the guide wrap coatings you should have a competent repair person redo the wraps, and polish out any rough spots if possible, or replace the guide itself. You don't want to lose that trophy fish of a lifetime next spring because you forgot about that rough spot on the stripping guide.
-If you're satisfied that the rod is in good shape, we recommend that our clients go find the Pledge furniture wax (try to find it when your significant other is out of the house or you may end up dusting!) and give the rod a good waxing. This helps protect the finish and maintain some modicum of protection.
-Check the fit of your ferrules. DO NOT put any sort of wax or oil on the ferrule. We cringe when we hear clients doing this. We recommend the use of U-40 ferrule lube. Ferrule Lube is designed to eliminate the frustration of sticking ferules, or worn and wobbly ferrules that have become loose because of excessive wear. Some rod manufacturers have been known to recommend paraffin for lubricating ferrules; nothing could be worse. Paraffin collects dirt and grit, which damages the ferrule. It also has a considerable surface buildup which destroys the intended tolerance of close fitting parts resulting in loose ferrules.
-Inspect the cork grip. The cork grip is an area that has the most tendency to collect fish slime, dirt, etc. This can be cleaned by using soapy warm water to get the major stuff off, and then through the use of a fine steel wool or Scotch Brite pad. The steel wool or Scotch Brite pad will help remove the grime that has a tendency to accumulate in the little pits of cork. Once you've cleaned the cork we recommend you seal it. At Great Bay Rod Company all of our rods are sealed with Tru-Oil gun oil. It leaves a great patina on the cork and helps to seal the cork from damage. Many manufacturers use U-40 Cork Seal.
-Finally, find an area where the rod can be stored safely. If you've done your job correctly the rod tube is a great place to put the rod. Unfortunately many clients think the back of the closet is a good place to store the rod, and we've had a few returned for repair because the kids decided to play hide and seek and the parent's rod was stepped on in the back of the closet (Thank goodness for warranties)
Now that the rod is in a safe place, the final piece of advice is as follows: Halfway through fishing season- do this all over again.