Three Tackle Tips in one this month - actually, come to think of it, it's four.
The first is something you should do at least once a season, - clean your fly lines. You know yourself how often a line gets tramped into mud, or dragged through algae, so lines get dirty, and this affects their performance. So, get all the spare spools out of your bag. Taking one at a time, run the line out on the ground. It's best to put the spool onto the reel for this, and to do this on grass if possible. Run the line off straight for as long as you can, then double back along the same course until all the line is laid out as far as the backing. Now, run a cloth dampened with warm water and washing up liquid up and down the line a few times - have a look at the cloth, see? Worth doing eh? For Sinking and Intermediate lines, that's it, for floating lines, you can also give them a wipe with a dressing. Products like ArmorAll, intended for car dashboards, are good for this. ArmorAll also contains silicone and a plasticiser, so your lines will retain it's buoyancy and suppleness'.
If a line is badly frayed or nicked, you may have to consider replacing it. Lines do last longer these days, but are not indestructible, and once you get water into the core of a floating line, it will never perform correctly again.
OK, that's tip number one, clean lines, tip two is similar, clean reels. Reels can also suffer during the season, scuffs mar the appearance, but more crucially, grit or sand can seriously damage a reel. Even if you only do it now, at the end of the season, clean your reels. Some types of reel will also benefit from a little Vaseline on the centre-post. Pictures is my BFR Superfly which I used to use for pike and saltwater fishing - another good reason to keep the reel clean and well greased.
Also in the picture is an old hairband, used for keeping line on the spare spool. This is tip three - your freebie this month as I had not noticed the hairband when I took the photo! You can buy these in packs of 5 for about £1 from chemists.
Which brings me to our final tip, for the bait fishers out there. Your line also takes a beating through the season. It gets cast a thousand times, dragged through all sorts, trodden on, then twisted back onto the spool, so you might like to think about replacing your line too. At the very least, strip off the first two or three layers from the spool and discard them.
Tight, clean and well-maintained lines.