I had a few projects I had pulled together that pertain to fly tying and preparation between fishing trips, that I think turned out pretty well.
First, my selection of hooks.
Not the easiest mass of boxes and bags to find the right hook in, so I picked up a plastic box/tray with individual pockets, today, while my wife and daughters were shopping for some craft items. Under $9, but it has 32 bins and a lid with slotted protrusions on the underside that line up with the bin walls to prevent small items from jumping ship and hiding with their not-quite-the-same neighbors. Labels printed for the bins (for me, it makes sense to have the labels on the outside, so I can see the choices before opening the lid… may not for others), packing taped to the box, and all hooks neatly in place.
I have kinda thick fingers and having to pull out hooks from the bottom of a small bag (or possibly lose one or more in the carpet!) gets annoying. With this setup, I can fetch out exactly the ones I want. My only fear, now, is the possibility of bumping or dropping the box, when open. I guess a little bit of user discipline has to come with this!
Second item is the cleaning of my fly line. I usually fish in areas with pretty clean waters, but the line still needs the occasional cleaning to shoot through the guides well, float properly, and stay effective longer. I tried a few different ideas, and finally came up with this:
The handle on the left is form a very cheap, old rod that was purchased at Goodwill, and repurposed into a mounting point for my fly reels, as needed. The line then gets stretched to the right, and the tippet passed just through the side of the inexpensive reel I have permanently mounted to the blocks. Once in place, as much or as little of the fly line as you want can be wrapped onto the mounted reel, passing through the open space in the middle. I usually do multiple passes, back and forth, as follows:
- Pass 1 – Cleaning of the line. A wash cloth with mild dish soap solution on it is somewhat gently pinched on the line, and passing it through wipes off dirt and debris. Reposition every now and then, so a fresh part of the l cloth is pressing on the line.
- Pass 2 – Rinsing the line. Either a fresh cloth, or a part of the same one that has not been in the soap solution, is moistened with clean (I use filtered) water, and is again pinched around the line, as it is brought back to its home reel.
- (Pass 1 and Pass 2 can be re-done, if the rinsing cloth comes away particularly dirty!)
- Pass 3 – Line cleaner – I use a product that is designed for treating fly lines, a white lotion, and a fibrous patch that comes with it as a kit. Just like the cleaning phase, I put some on the fibrous patch, and pinch it on the fly line as I crank it from home reel to the one mounted on the blocks. I often let it sit for a few minutes, once the entire length of the fly line is transferred to the hard-mounted reel, up to the start of the backing.
- Pass 4 – Wipe down the line as it moves back towards its home reel. In this phase, I also pay close attention to the way that the line is wrapping, so it is neat, orderly, and less likely to get hung up when I go to add line on future casts.
I have seen a nice improvement in the way the line floats and ease of casting, since I started using this. The mounted reel was around $10, if I recall correctly, at a local large-box retailer. If you’re lucky, something might be found for less at a garage sale or resale shop.
Last one… my drying line! When I tie flies, I like to hang them up to dry more thoroughly, after the initial dry and me making sure the eye is not clogged. I also wanted someplace to keep flies I just used, to really dry them out, before putting them back into a fly box. The answer…
Took all of maybe 7 minutes, in the garage, but I went with brass wire as I sometimes dry flies I have dipped in permanent flotant, and I did not want to risk that chemical reacting with (read as: melting) a strand of mono that I also could have strung across. It sites on my desk, after a day of fishing, as a reminder of the recent outing, and a reminder to put them away after a day or two of thoroughly drying.
Fun, little projects. Nothing earth-shattering, but they each make some aspect of tying and fishing a bit more efficient. Probably a bit more personal for me, too.