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How Long Does A Fly Line Last? – And How To Make Them Last Longer

Fly lines are an extremely important piece of gear, but they don’t last forever. Fly lines are a consumable product, meaning that they need to be replaced sometimes. How often you replace them comes down to 2 factors – the quality of the fly line, and how much you fish. Those who fish a lot, will need to replace their fly lines sooner. Also, if you buy a low end fly line, it will need to be replaced sooner than a premium line.

I have found over time that a fly line lasts me about 1 year. I usually fish about 100 days a year, which is a fair amount. When I put a new fly line on my rod outfit, I expect it to be trashed in about a year.

However, this will vary from angler to angler. This article will cover the factors that make a fly line last longer.

Quality Of The Fly Line Determines How Long It Lasts

Cheap fly lines just don’t last. Lines in the $40-$60 range tend to break down faster. These would be lines such as the Rio Mainstream or the Scientific Anglers Frequency. If you are a beginner, these lines are perfectly fine – but they won’t last long. For the price, they are much more accessible. However, the quality is just not there.

I prefer to buy premium fly lines, which start at $100. Rio’s Premier series works well, and I usually fish the Premier “Gold” or the Premier “Perception”. Scientific Anglers makes a $100 line called the Amplitude Smooth, and these are great as well. I find that premium fly lines are more durable, and they don’t trap as much dirt. It also takes them longer to crack and break down. The coatings on these lines prevent dirt from being trapped. They also shoot through your guides better.

You can also opt for an even nicer line. These would be Rio’s “Elite” Low Stretch series, or SA’s Amplitude Textured lines. These are about $130, but they can last for quite awhile. I do enjoy fishing these lines, but I tend to stick to the $100 lines instead.

How Much Do You Fish? Avid Anglers Go Through Fly Lines Faster

This is a large part of the equation, as mentioned earlier in the article. Fly anglers that fish 10-20 days a year can make a fly line last a long time. If the line isn’t used much, it stays in pretty good shape.

For serious anglers fishing 50+ days a year, expect a fly line to only last a season. Especially if it is on one of your main rods. Sometimes you can get them to last longer, but not usually. If you fish this much like I do, I would recommend considering a premium fly line. It is a good investment.

Are You Hard On Your Gear? Take It Easy On Your Line!

This is a big one that many fly anglers don’t think about. Some folks put a real beating on their fly fishing gear, while others don’t. Personally, I am pretty easy on my gear and I like to take care of it. I would rather be careful with my fly fishing gear so it lasts longer.

There are many ways you can harm a fly line. First, stepping on it is always a bad idea. This can happen when you’re wade fishing or in the drift boat. Stepping on a fly line can really damage it over time, especially if your boots have studs. You can also harm it by dragging it on the ground, or getting it caught on rocks, etc. Over time, these mistakes can break down your fly lines coating.

So while you don’t have to treat it like a baby, try to be nice to your fly line. It will last much longer.

Cleaning Your Fly Line

Line cleaners can work wonders, and will make your line last longer. However, some line cleaners are better than others. I have found that the most effective one is the Tiemco Line Cleaner. It really gets the dirt off, and will make your line float much better. It is not a cheap product, but it can help postpone a new fly line purchase. For $17, you can clean multiple lines to extend their life.

Rio also makes a good product which are the fly line swipes. Coming in at $1 a piece, these single use swipes can clean your line well. They aren’t as thorough as the Tiemco cleaner, but they still work.

Before you head out to buy a new fly line, give a line cleaner a try. They work well, and will ultimately save you money in the long run.

Fishing Dirty Water Will Not Help

Fishing dirty rivers or lakes can be harder on fly lines. They will get your line dirtier, and trap debris in the line texture. If you fish dirty bodies of water, keep this in mind. It usually means that you should clean your fly line more often. This will ensure that the dirt is removed before it’s engrained in your line.

Anglers that fish carp or warm water species will encounter dirtier water. It can also be true for trout anglers fishing runoff conditions, where the river is blown out. After fishing these conditions, definitely give your line a good clean.

Conclusion

So yes, I have found that fly lines last about a year. However, this can vary greatly. If you clean and take care of your line, you could even get 2 seasons out of it.

It would be nice if fly lines lasted forever, but they just don’t. Work them into your budget and plan on replacing them each season.