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  • Writer's pictureThe Drift Team

Trout Opener Gear Check-Up. Don't get caught with your waders down!

We've all done it, waited until the week or day before opener to pull out your gear hoping to find it just as we left it...  but how many times have we found musty fly boxes left wet from the season before, crumpled up leaders in our vest or pack pockets, floatant bottles empty after spilling out on their sides, a cracked fly line or two, and... opps... you just realized you forgot about the tip that 'mysteriously' broke off your rod last trip out while walking through the bush.    Lets not mention the times we've gotten to the river and found our waders leak!  That's not a good opening day, for anyone!

A quick look over your gear can solve a lot of these problems before you find them too late!

Here is a quick pre-season check-list:

Rod inspection:  

Leave not a single guide un-swabbed!  Rub a cotton swab over every guide on the rod to identify any potential burrs or cracks on your guides. If you've found anything out of sorts, your rod may be in need for a quick repair.  There are many local builders who can replace a guide quickly, and have you ready for the water as quickly as they can. Check over the ferrules for any cracks or splits, and make sure all sections fit together well.  If you find sections slide too easily in and out, an application of ferrule wax should do the trick.

Reel inspection:  

Sqeeks, bumps, binding or grinding sounds like a fun night out, but not for your reel!  Grit from last season could still be in your reel, and needs to be cleaned out.  The last tumble it made could have the set spool off its axis and will bind while stripping off line, or on the retrieve... or even worse, when fish of a lifetime starts to scream down river and your reel seizes.  You can potentially avoid a heart break moment, pull out those reels and give them some love!

Line inspection:  

Memory can form over the course of a winter by taking on the shape they have had to endure in the off season.  Memory can, most of the time, be solved simply.  Remove all of your fly line off of the reel, and while doing so give it a stretch while running it through your hands.  This should take care of most of the memory.  With each trip out, do the same again and you'll have a very straight fly line on your hands. Cracks, cut or nicked fly lines need attention, badly.  Damaged fly line can be an issue, especially for dry fly enthusiast.  Any cracks can allow water into the core of the line which will reduce its ability to float, drawing your fly underwater with it.  If the core has been compromised you will see a dramatic decrease in the strength in the line, which could lead it to break....  not ideal, as it will most likely break while on the water, with a fish on.  Diagnosis is easy.. look at your line closely, and run your fingers over it.  You should be able to feel and see any major flaws, and will be able to address them.  Not sure how?  Bring them into the shop, and we can guide you to the best fix.Dirty lines can reduce your lines ability to float, and greatly reduce your line's ability to shoot through your guides.  Lucky enough, cleaning is easy... wash your lines in a bucket, or sink, with a small amount of dish soap in the water, and then treat with a slicking agent.  Loon, Rio, and Airflo produce some incredible products to help along with the cleaning and lubricating process!

Leaders and Tippet:  

Unknown to many is that nylon ages and deteriorates.  There are many factors that affect the life of nylon, but heat is the most detrimental. If you've been keeping your pack or vest in your vehicle on hot summer days, you may want to consider a new spool or two for the season coming.  New spools of tippet will have the full strength of the line, and have less memory!  A tip for storing your tippet to prolong its life... throw it in your fridge!Fluorocarbon leaders and tippet have a far extended life in comparison to nylon, but it is always good to check the amounts you have on the spool in case you run out!


Wader maintenance is often ignored, which can dampen your day.. quickly!   Waders do need to be washed on occasion to keep the membranes breathing, and treating the surface with a water repellent coating will help keep the outer materials from becoming saturated.  This applies for your rain shells as well.Leaks can be found in advance and stopped before they fill your boots.  Every wader manufacture has their own suggestions on how to clean and maintain and repair your waders.  

Organize and Conquer:

Empty your packs or vests and organize them from the ground up!  You may be amazed what you'll find in your pockets.... old tippet, that fly your thought you lost 6 years ago, a water bottle cap, or some garbage you picked up off the banks of the river last season.  Ditch everything you don't need and lighten it up.  Organize yourself effectively by placing your most often used item in easily accessible pockets, and the rest, stash it away somewhere, not taking up any prime real estate.Proper weight distribution is essential.  Make sure that whatever you put onto your body is balanced.  Fatigue can be averted by evening out your weight distribution, and have all sides of your body share the load.

Need more advise? Come down to the shop and have a chat!

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