How to Clean a Fly Rod

How to Clean a Fly Rod
Cleaning a fly rod should be a routine part of every angler's life. Fly rods can cost 300 dollars or more and should be looked upon as an investment. During use, fly rods can become dirty from dust and pollen as well as accumulate debris deposits from the water. Line guides are especially prone to accumulations of debris and water scum, which are deposited by the fly line as it travels through the guides. With a little time and some basic items, it is possible to thoroughly clean a fly rod.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Clean clothes Water Small brush Metal polishing compound such as Magic Wadding Low abrasive liquid cleaner such as Soft Scrub Cotton swab White wax
  • Clean clothes
  • Water
  • Small brush
  • Metal polishing compound such as Magic Wadding
  • Low abrasive liquid cleaner such as Soft Scrub
  • Cotton swab
  • White wax
Step 1
Apply no more than a dime-sized amount of Soft Scrub or other low-abrasive cleanser to a clean cloth. Wipe the cleanser on the cork handle of the rod, making sure to go with the grain of the cork. Apply light pressure to remove deposits and buildup of dirt and debris. Wipe clean with a dry cloth. Avoid getting the cleanser on metal reel seat parts or the reel seat itself, which can be scratched.
Step 2
Pull a small amount of the Magic Wadding from the container. Lightly polish the metal of the reel seat, paying attention to any heavy deposits or stains. Thoroughly wipe any excess polish from the metal and buff to a shine. Avoid getting the polish on the cork handle.
Step 3
Wipe down the line guides with a wet cloth. Use a small brush to remove any stubborn stains or deposits from the eyes and guides. Make sure to remove all debris from the guides, as debris may effect the casting of the line.
Step 4
Wipe the entire rod with a damp cloth to remove dust, dirt, and other deposits. Use the small brush to help with any stubborn stains. Dry the rod completely with a clean dry cloth.
Step 5
Separate the sections of the rod and use a cotton swab to clean inside the female portion of the rod section or sections. Dampen the swab if necessary to remove debris and use a dry swab to remove moisture when clean. Wipe down the male portion of the rod with a damp cloth and then dry. Apply a light coating of white wax to the male section to aid in assembling the rod sections and to help in proper seating.

Tips & Warnings

Apply a light coat of quality furniture polish to the rod. This will help repel dirt and debris as well as provide a layer of protection during use. Do not over apply the polish.
Take care when cleaning line eyes and guides. It is possible to move eyes out of alignment or to break eyes and guides free from the rod if excessive pressure is applied.

Article Written By Tara Dooley

Tara Dooley has written for various websites since 2008. She has worked as an accountant, after-school director and retail manager in various locations. Dooley holds a Bachelor of Science in business management and finance.

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