This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

March 4th, 2002

Line Cleaners

The Holy Bible covers almost everything important, almost. It completely fails to address some subjects which are extremely germane in today's society. For instance, are cane rods better than graphite? Is nymph-fishing a sign of advancing degeneracy? Who really makes the best head-cement? And, the really big question . . . what other/new crud/liquid/paste/goo can I put on my fly lines to make them shoot better, float higher, sink faster, last longer, stay clean and allow me to feel superior to my dumb buddies who have not yet discovered said crud/liquid/paste/goo?

Now, all of the above are indeed very serious, but for here I will address only one, namely stuff for improving the finest inventions of the worlds largest and most advanced fly line manufacturers. After all, who do they think they are to tell me how take care of my fly lines? I bought them, they are now mine to do with what I choose. Here, of course, we start to see how silly all this can become. They are who they are; the smartest, most advanced chemical companies of their type in the world, that's who.

Since the 'Good-Book' doesn't cover this, I need to give a bit of background first. Let's imagine we are going to start a new company to make fly lines. Number one question is an ethical one. How long should they last? Forever? Not a good idea, no one will need to buy any new lines, forever! Ok, but, they should last at least what will be perceived as a normal lifetime by the buyer. That's not too hard.

Next, (and here we will only consider making floating lines) how will we make them float? A few things come to mind. One outfit years ago figured that if they could trap a whole bunch of little tiny glass beads in the plastic coating the line would float. It did. Remember, as the tip of the line gets smaller, not much room for as many beads, hence, the tip does not seem to float as well. Then, an idea to have the plastic coating form it's own tiny air bubbles when it was formed on the core material. This too worked. A third idea was how many types of plastic could be used to make the coating? There seems to be no limit to this one, and the daily advances in the discovery of newer/better stuff continue.

Alright, we decide on how to make the lines, now we need to make them float. Oh sure, the material in them will help, but, they need to sit on top of the water, not in the water. In other words, they need to stay dry and not break the surface tension, which of course, is what keeps them floating. We can do two things, incorporate some stuff into the coating, or add something to the line after it is made. Sounds simple, but hold on a minute. If we add something after the line is made, will it wear off, will it collect dirt, will it be sticky going thru the guides, will it cause the line to dry out and crack with use, will salt water hurt it, will sunlight cause it to break down, how about heat?

Or, we could build something into the lines, but most of the above would still apply. Now, consider, how do we recommend guys maintain the lines? In other words, how do they clean them, figuring that they will need to do so, or at least perceive they need to do so. Let's try for the optimum. Let's make the world's best line, the highest floating, driest riding, slickest shooting, longest wearing, appropriate memory for the temperatures where it will be used and impervious to any type of material that the buyer might accidentally or on purpose get/put on it.

(This IS of course, the unattainable goal of all of the fly line manufacturers. But, they keep trying. And as fast as they come out with a new one, guys are right there to prove they have failed and try to figure out something which will make them even better.)

So, we make the lines the best we can, we recommend and perhaps even supply/sell something which will help clean and restore the line to it's original condition. Our goal is to make the best lines, to make lines that will last and perform better than our competition and we can stay in business year after year. If we find something that will make our lines work even better we surely will take advantage of it. Our profit is in fly lines, our business depends on it, the lives of our employees depend on it. We are proud of our lines, we have to be. And we have to continue to find and attempt to improve them in any way possible. Competition demands that. And so do we.

Who makes the lines I am talking about here? No one yet, but they are not far from it. And I have several little bottles of 'Fly-Line' crud/liquid/paste/goo to try on them too; can't hardly wait. ~ LadyFisher

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