Pre-season prep

For many of us the promise of a new season is right at our doorstep.  The weather is warming up and the fish are ready to be caught, well hopefully.

There are many things to get yourself ready before the season starts.  It never fails that the first couple times on the water each year you seem to forget something or realize that you needed to fix something.  Here's a little help to get you better prepared for your season.

Wader repair

All waders leak eventually. That's a fact.  So do yourself a favor and check your waders before you hit the stream.  Whether it was a small pin hole leak in a seam, a jagger bush (yeah I'm from Pittsburgh, look it up) hole or maybe even a mouse made its home in your waders and you have some serious problems, here's a few tips on repair.

First, locate the hole.  In my experience there's 2 main ways to do this.  One is taking a spray bottle of rubbing alcohol and spray the waders.  Then flip them inside out and you should see some spots of where the leaks are.  Another way to locate holes is just to turn them inside out and fill with water.  No matter which way you use I would recommend using a permanent marker to circle where the holes are.  That way you can remember where to repair.

If it's a sizable hole or a few in a small area most waders come with some sort of repair patch.  Be careful if there's any iron on patches because you can cause more damage if you're not paying too close attention.  There's also a few different brands of UV wader repair.  Loon is probably the most popular and I know people who have fixed gashes in their waders on the stream with a tube and UV light.  So it's not such a bad idea to keep in on you or in your vehicle.

Reel maintenance

This is one of those things that many people neglect.  Your reel has the most moving parts of your gear and needs to be maintained.  Taking the spool off and simply cleaning it out with some soap and water is a good first step.  On top of that you should probably grease it back up every year or so.  Some Neats Foot oil or many gun oils is a good option for lubricating the drag system as well.  Especially if you are using cork.  Cork will dry out and degrade over time if not properly taken care of, just like the brake pads on your car.  Put some care into those reels and they will last much longer for you.

Fly Lines

This is probably the most needed repair for many of you out there.  You rarely if ever clean your line (you should every couple times you fish) and you probably keep your gear in your hot car (BIG no no).  So you go to check your line on your first outing and realize its cracked and probably not working to its best ability.  If it still looks OK, either use a fly line cleaner or simply strip the line out into a 5 gallon bucket of dish soap water and give it a good cleaning.  This will help to keep your line casting efficiently.  If your line is cracked then simply replace it and try to keep the new one in better shape.


Ohh geez!  Have you looked at your boxes?  Tons of flies that are torn apart, possibly rusted hooks, wrong flies in the wrong boxes.  Yes it's a disaster!  Do yourself a favor and clean out all the nasty old flies you won't use again.  If you tie, take a razor blade to them and you can reuse things like the hooks and beads if they're still in good shape.  Also here's a tip for those dry flies that don't look so hot.  Put a pot of water on to boil and hang a mesh strainer over it.  Drop those flies in the strainer for a nice steam.  It will freshen up those dry flies for a few more rising fish.


Check your floatants.  Make sure they didn't dry up or spill and are empty.

Check your net.  Make sure there isn't any holes that need repaired.

Check your cast.  A little practice in the yard will do you good to brush off that rusty thing you call a cast.

Clean out your pack.  We all shove flies, split shot, food wrappers, etc all through them.  Clean it out and maybe even throw it in the wash. 


I think that's a pretty good list, but what else am I missing?  Add a few of your own to the comment section.


Ramblings by:

Ryan Gouldsbarry

Owner of Risen Fly


P.S. If you catch it quickly, we kept our rod and reel sale in our DEALS section open for just a little bit longer.

1 comment

  • Jim Rauch

    Ryan, lots of good info, thanks.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published