How do you know when to wash your fly rod sac and replace the backing on your fly fishing reel? A quick, easy and accurate test is to smell them….If they smell like mildew wash the rod sac and replace the backing. I like to allow my fly rod and flyfishing reel to dry for several days at room temperature out of direct sunlight before storing it for longer than a day. You are reading this too late and you let your fly rod/ sac/ backing mildew? Depending on the degree of mildew, this could be the end of your fly rod. Clean your fly rod with a dish detergent and allow it to sit out to air dry for several days then check to see how badly it is damaged. Cork grips and rod wraps will be the hardest to salvage if they are soft after this drying period. Fly reel backing – replace it. Rod sac – wash it in a mild bleach solution and allow to air dry. This will discolor your rod sac but it will still be functional and protect your fly rod while in the case.
A broken or lost fly rod can ruin a trip. I once had a guide on the Yellowstone River knock my favorite bamboo rod with a Hardy Reel overboard and lose it. I had a friend cast the whole tip section off his fly rod and lose it on the Madison River. Another friend broke my fly rod when he caught his fly in a tree and tried to pull the tree down. Alaska, with the ever present split shot, has claimed more of our fly rods than I care to count. We’ve had our Brittany Spaniels break rods in our drift boat and I’ve had students in our schools break fly rods in ways too numerous to keep an accurate tally.
In order to save the day or the trip I always carry extra rods. On distant trips I always take two back-up fly rods in each line size I will be using. On local trips I always carry one back up fly rod. In our On-The-Stream Schools I fill the back of my Jeep with extra fly rods.
Ferrules on graphite and glass fly rods can slip and break and you can even cast the tip section off your rod if you do not keep ferrule dressing on the fly rod ferrules. Fly rods with internal spigot ferrules should be lined up 1/4 turn from straight then turned into alignment. I clean and dress my ferrules every tenth trip and I’ve never broke a ferrule on these rods. Do not do this on metal ferrules. Keep the ferrules clean; this can be achieved by simply wiping them with a clean cloth. I will use warm soapy water if they are particularly dirty. For more information on Fly Rod Care check out our online videos.
Throughout the fishing season each of us should periodically give our fly rod, reel, fly line and other gear a thorough inspection to check for damage or indications of premature wear. Â At the end of the season I like to cast, clean, thoroughly dry and visually inspect my fly rods before I store them for the Winter. Â I clean the fly rod including the guides, ferrules, blank, grip and reel seat. Â Check for loose guides and ferrules. Â Check the grip for damage. This simple inspection/ maintenance can save countless hours of down time next season.
While doing this, I found that our Scott ARC957 Fly Rod’s ferrules are a bit too worn for another season. According Scott Fly Rods chief rod designer Jim Bartschi, the internal spigot ferrules should have a gap between 1/8″ to 1/2″ when the two pieces are put together like you are ready to fish.
The fly rod in these pictures has been used well over 100 days per year for the last 10 years and the last time I sent it back to the Scott Fly Rod Company for ferrule work was three years ago. Â It is at Scott right now for another ferrule rehab.
Something that many anglers overlook is the fact that ferrules do wear and if you forget to apply ferrule dressingÂ periodically they can wear rather quickly (watch Harry’s Ferrule Dressing video). Â This wear occurs with sleeve (overlapping) ferrules but is not as obvious since there is no constant reference point. The rate of wear depends on a variety of factors such as; frequency of use, Â are the ferrules clean, Â do you apply ferrule dressing, etc.
What happens when the ferrules get too close/ wear out? Worse case scenario is that you break your fly rod on the fish of a lifetime. Â The reason it breaks is that a worn out ferrule will slip, allowing the thinner part of the ferrule to absorb all of the stress of casting or fighting a fish or pulling your fly out of the bushes.
What should I do if Â my ferrules are worn out? Send your fly rod back to the manufacturer and ask them to repair your ferrules. Â If you rod has a lifetime warranty this is covered by that warranty. Â If you have no warranty, most manufacturers have their own in-house repair shop which can handle the repair for a nominal fee.
If you have any questions about your fly rod and fly rod care, please email us or give us a call (540-984-4212)
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I know we posted this some time ago but I have recently seen a rash of fly rods broken at the ferrules and after much discussion with several of the manufacturers’ rod builders, our conclusion is that the ferrules are slipping vs. a design flaw. A question I am going to pose to anglers in the future: Have you ever taken your rod apart at the end of the day and found that one of the ferrules was not snug? If you answer yes to this question then you need to apply ferrule dressing… Keep your rod out of the repair shop and on the water!