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How long a fly line lasts?


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I have some 20 year old Orvis reels with old floating lines on them. I was wondering if I should change the lines before I use them?

 Last time they saw any use was 5-6 years ago.

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I just replaced mine this summer for the first time in prob 18 years. They were still working and like yours, hadn't seen much action over the last 5 years. Probably still wouldn't have done it, but my youngest suddenly had an interest and began fishing with it daily on our local ponds, so figured it was time.

While it worked with the old, I will say I was amazed how much difference it made once I bit the bullet and replaced it. 

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I have lines that are over 20 years old. As long as there are no cracks in the lines clean them with warm soapy water. Dry and apply fly line cleaner/floatant. Your good to go.

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I fish a lot .  For several years I was getting   maybe 60 days on the "best" Rio WF, as line cracks and seperations seemed to occur regularly with extended use.  Yes the lines were  cleaned, lubed etc.  The soft coatings just were not durable.    !8 months ago I  went to Cortland Trout Boss XL and have been getting  6 months or so; these lines have a harder finish.  

 

 Saltwater lines seem to last much longer for some reason.  Spey lines last  well too.  I have salt and spey lines that are ten years old that are very serviceable today

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If they're smooth, no cracks, still float, and shoot thru the guide keep it. But you'll probably like the new lines better. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 9/15/2020 at 2:56 PM, mister grouse said:

I fish a lot .  For several years I was getting   maybe 60 days on the "best" Rio WF, as line cracks and seperations seemed to occur regularly with extended use.  Yes the lines were  cleaned, lubed etc.  The soft coatings just were not durable.    !8 months ago I  went to Cortland Trout Boss XL and have been getting  6 months or so; these lines have a harder finish.  

 

 Saltwater lines seem to last much longer for some reason.  Spey lines last  well too.  I have salt and spey lines that are ten years old that are very serviceable today

 

Would be interested to hear what weight those short-life lines were. I've had longevity issues with lighter weights, but 8-9-10-11wt lines (and skagit/spey) have lasted "forever". For this reason, I have suspected that it is tougher to get a long-lasting coating on the lighter lines, but when weight is so much less of an issue, it is much easier. 

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On 9/15/2020 at 11:20 AM, Doubleplay said:

I have some 20 year old Orvis reels with old floating lines on them. I was wondering if I should change the lines before I use them?

 Last time they saw any use was 5-6 years ago.

 

 

absolutely. 

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I have lines that are going on 25 years old and they work just fine.  Keep them clean. I doubt they still make them - the grey Spring Creek models.  Great lines.  I used them for a couple years before my last trip to Yellowstone  - in August 2000 - and have continued to use them since.

I don't do the floatant/lube bit any more - it drew and held crud.  I decided it was a scheme by the line manufacturers to make lines wear out faster so you'd buy more.  

 

My next lines might be silk;  I'd either buy one from China or just make my own.

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I agree that old line works well, if not cracked.  I clean mine every year and apply a wax on them.

 

Line that's not usable anymore goes on my weed trimmer...works well.

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In my case how long a line lasts depends on how often I step on it and grind it into the bottom of the boat. 😁

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14 minutes ago, Geoff Roznak said:

In my case how long a line lasts depends on how often I step on it and grind it into the bottom of the boat. 😁


Very true.

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14 minutes ago, Geoff Roznak said:

In my case how long a line lasts depends on how often I step on it and grind it into the bottom of the boat. 😁


Very true.

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apachecadillac

Modern fly lines and modern golf balls last a long time if you don't use them.  Abrasion is what does them in.  Over time (years) golf balls will lose compression, and I've heard that some of the polymers in a fly line will deteriorate with time if exposed to sunlight, but a fly line sitting in the back of the closet for ten years, or a sleeve of golf balls from a few seasons back, are just fine.

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  • 1 month later...
strato-caster

Just remember that you don't have to throw away a lightly worn, barely floating weight forward line. If it is starting to slightly sink and dressing doesn't keep the line floating high, put it on one of your float tubing reels and use it as a intermediate tip or intermediate line for fishing emerging damselflies and chironomids. Fish them on a relatively short line (20-25 feet plus leader) and kick into the prevailing wind to offset drift so your fly or flies don't sink out too quickly and keep the line dressed several feet back from the business end with something like Glide (which seems to do the trick).

 

I've employed this technique often to midge with great success, and it is a great alternative to those of us who despise the very effective technique of dangling a midge under an indicator during a hatch here out west. I prefer this method because it is a lot more proactive than staring at a bobber and can be equally deadly. It is even more deadly when using a dead ringer damsel imitation like a Rickards Stillwater Nymph when you start seeing those large swirly, non splashy takes on or near the surface and realize that no stout trout in its right mind is going to expend that kind of energy to eat something as small as a midge or a mayfly.

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