Flyline maintenance is forgotten by many anglers. For others, it is a frequent ritual to strip the line from the reel and clean the line. I won’t say I fall into the frequent category, any more than I remember to change my oil as recommended. But, at $40-60 per line, a little effort will extend the life of the lines.
Draw the line between your finger tips and you can sometimes feel grit and abrasion along it’s length. With all the algae, shoreside dirt, stirred up muck etc. the line picks up a coating. Add to it line floatants, suntan lotions, skin oils, and chew juice and no wonder that floating line sinks.
There are convoluted efforts that take days and guarantee a revamped line. Also, there are post- cleaning additives or line treatments that put the slick back into-onto the line. But, starting from a practical approach, a little dish washing detergent and warm water is a good start every half dozen outtings (unless you routinely stand on you line in the muck).
Fill a basin, tub, sink with warm water and add a few drops of a mild detergent (don’t overdo it). Strip out loose coils of the line, laying one coil of line atop another in the water. Strip all the line off the spool into the basin. Let it the line soak about a half hour or so.
Then the next portion can get complicated (necessary or unnecessary, you decide)…the line has to get from the soaking tub/basin/sink back onto the spool….some advocate a winding device that stores your line similar to what fly shops have around. Some advocate pulling the line from the basin through a damp towel/rag and allowing someone to assist by returning the line back onto the reel. I would not advocate drying the line and allowing it to pile onto the floor prior to moving from the drying phase to the retrieving phase, unless you are putting the line on a clean sheet, rug, something. No gritty floors or carpet…wasted effort then.
Oh, you can do what I have done for decades and strip off the line onto the living room floor spacing it out in large coils…then I take a damp, absorbent cloth and retrieve the line up through the cloth periodically adjusting the line to a new, clean portion of the cloth. I remove lots of dirt. I don’t want to take the time for multi-day soaking efforts or the other machinations. I recently heard of one fly fisher that advised a newbie to clean their line after every outting….to me that is akin to vacuuming or cleaning the toilet everyday…a little obsessive (unless fishing the salt or brown waters). But, do exercise some maintenance regimen on your lines, rod, reel (most important), waders (just cleaned mine), boots, raincoat, gloves (eek! can they stink), packs, vests or stocking cap.