All fly anglers inevitably contend with fly-line management issues. Chances are, even the best of fly rodders will miss a shot at a fish, if the line lays tangled on the deck or is looped around an unsuspecting snag when he or she begins false casting. Novice and expert anglers alike must contend with fly-line management until — immediately following the hook-set — the line has been cleared and is coming directly off the reel.
Doing it poorly is bound to result in missed opportunities, and while it greatly helps to make your boat fly-fishing friendly, here are a few tips and a tools to easily execute the often frustrating chore of managing fly line properly.
First Things First
Winning the battle against tangles and snags begins with a few simple but often overlooked steps. First, always keep your fly lines clean, and remember to stretch them before use. A dirty line with memory from being stored on the reel is conducive to knotting and tangling, a recipe for disaster both during the cast and when attempting to clear the line during a hooked fish’s initial run.
There are dozens of fly line dressings and cleaning devices on the market, but you must get in the habit of using them regularly. While many fly fishers take the time to clean and stretch their lines at the beginning of each fishing day, there are those who take it one step further and do both after every shot, especially when pursuing permit, big bonefish, or tarpon, all wary and particularly unforgiving species.
No matter how calm the wind is and how unhindered you think you’ve laid your line onto the boat’s casting deck, fly lines somehow always manage to wrap around the trolling motor or cooler seat, or catch on tie-down straps, turnbuckles, rod holders, and even…