Fly Fishing Equipment – Pre Season Checkup

I find it is a good idea to check through all your fly fishing equipment in the month or two before the fishing season starts.

There’s nothing worse than turning up for your first day’s fishing to find that something is missing, or the floating line is sinking, or the flies are mixed up or the wrong size, or the reel has jammed up; need I go on.

I am sure these and many more problems have happened to us all at some time or another so let’s see what we can do to make to our fishing go smoothly throughout the coming year.

The list I set out below could be set up on XL spreadsheet so you can tick off the items as you have done them.

Fly Fishing Equipment Pre Season Check List


  • Check the joints for cracks and re-whip if necessary, or if you are not happy with the section, send it back to the manufacturer for a replacement (that’s if you have a lifetime guarantee) as the spigot joints might need a dressing.
  • When dressing, I use a mixture of deer fat and candle grease, particularly on salmon rods. This works well and you don’t have the same problems as when you use candle wax alone.
  • Clean the rings and check for damage. Replace if necessary.

  • Clean the cage and remove any grit or dirt
  • Check the mechanisms and oil only as advised by the manufacturer
  • Check springs and pawls

  • Wind the lines and backing off the reel onto a line winder. The winders are available from Sportfish or Carrilon UK for a small sum and are well worth the investment.
  • Once you have the line and the backing, you can re-wind, checking the backing for rot or damage as you go.
  • Now check the connection to the line. I use an improved Albright Knot – if in doubt re-do the connection.
  • Before you start to wind the line onto the reel clean the line; a soft cloth, soap and water is all you need. Please use ordinary soap! Do not use detergents like washing up liquid as these tend to damage the line. Run the line through the soft, soapy cloth to the end and rinse through the cloth in clean water by winding it back again.
  • Treat your floating line with silicone to improve its performance.
  • Check the braided leader loop for wear and check that the line has not cracked where it joins it. If in doubt, replace the loop.  I prefer to make my own loops at the end of the line either by welding a loop in the line or by needle knotting a short piece of 20lb nylon to the line ending in a perfection loop on the end.
  • Check your shooting head lines for wear where it joins the running line.

  • Replace all the leaders with new ones. I like to use tapered leaders and add tippets to suit the length I want to fish.
  • Check out your leader wallet and re- stock with new leaders.

  • Tidy flies
  • Remove used and rusty flies
  • Tie up flies or buy in replacements

  • Empty out and check tools, priest, temperature gauge, marrow spoon, scales, de-barb pliers and any other bits and pieces you take with you.

  • Empty all pockets and remove dross
  • Check:  zingers, nippers, scissors and knot tying tools if you have them
  • Replace flies in fly boxes
  • Check sunglasses for damage and clean

  • Check for holes and repair or replace
  • Check the net release if you use one

  • Check for waders for leaks and repair or replace as necessary
  • Clean waders
  • Check boot soles and heels are not loose – replace if necessary
  • Clean boots

  • Make sure it is waterproof and check for holes or tears – repair or replace if necessary.
  • Check the lanyard attachment and the rubber shoe at the base.

  • Check fastenings and swivel.


……* Buy online or visit your nearest Post Office in England & Wales.





If there is anything I’ve left out, be my guest and leave a comment below; this is a resource for everyone to use and I’d be more than happy to revise the list with your suggestions. Until next time, happy fishing! 😀



One thought on “Fly Fishing Equipment – Pre Season Checkup”

  1. This is a post on really basic issues in fly fishing and in fishing in general but it has equal importance. I know I learnt this at an early age after making the mistake myself.

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