If your fly line has gone a couple months without seeing time on the water, it can develop memory from sitting stagnant while being wound to the reel. The obvious fix to this problem is fishing frequently to prevent the issue, however, there are times when life gets in the way and fly line is given the opportunity to develop memory.
When a fly line develops memory it becomes curled, which can turn into a nasty tangle in a short period of time. Fly line that is curled does not slide through guides easily, which can severely hinder casting. It will also sit on the water in an inappropriate fashion, which could affect proper drifts and efficient hook sets.
The memory from the line being on the reel has a tendency to come off the reel in curls that could create a knot, or get caught on the end of the rod. Each of these problems could occur during giving and taking line while fighting a fish, which could result in losing the fish of a lifetime.
There is a simple solution to eliminating memory from your fly line. All you have to do is “stretch” the fly line out prior to starting the day. To do this follow these simple steps:
1. Pull the length of line you intend to use fishing off the reel. A good rule of thumb is around 30-40 feet.
2. Starting where the fly line and leader are connected, place an arms length of fly line between your hands in front of you.
3. Slowly pull your hands apart until you feel the line “stretch” slightly.
4. Continue with this process until the amount of line pulled off the reel has all been stretched. You will be able to see the effects of stretching the line immediately as it will appear straighter.
Note: This process may take several attempts if your fly line has developed a lot of memory from lack of use over a prolonged period of time.