420 Hours

OK, so you know its time to change the fly line when its so knicked you can see the core and your tippet gets caught in the knick on every bad cast–which is like–every other cast for me when I’m fishing sloppy. Its also a bit embarrassing when you get on the water and your line looks like wrinkled shit. I really like Yukon’s review of the Rio WF5F line, particularly his analysis of how long a line should last.

“One can expect 200 to 300 hours of actual use with a modern fly line. If I do some quick, back of the envelope calculations, I fish, at minimum, one time a week (no matter the time of year). That’s at least 52 days on the water a year. During the summer, spring and fall, I will often fish 2 to 4 times a week (two full days and one or two partial days).  Each season is 13 weeks. Assuming that I fish once a week during the winter (13 water days) and between 2 and 3 days a week (78 to 117 days) during the remaining seasons, I probably fish between 91 and 130 days a year… Assuming an average of a 6 hour outing (accounting for partial days and shorter winter days) with about 3 hours of actual use of the fly line, I spend approximately 273 to 390 hours of my year actually using fly line. So, a fly line should last me a little less than a year.”

I did my own math. I too fish at least once a week, so that’s 52 days. This Spring before I started the new gig, it was twice a week, so about an extra 12 outings, and a few full weekend trips, another 6 days (Delaware, Shenandoah, Santa Monica). I almost never fish a half-day, often a full day around 6-8 hours with about 6 hours of fishing. So we’re talking about 70 days x 6 hours is about 420 hours of nirvana fly fishing this year. WOWZA. I’m way overdue.

Incidentally, education experts say it takes about a 10,000 hours of doing something before you can be said to be a “master.” Clearly whoever came up with that theory was not a fly fisherman.

While I’m at it, I could use a new 5wt reel too…Santa?

There are quite a few things you can do to recycle your old fly line that can improve your fishing.


According to FishingwithFlies, you can cut your fly line up into pieces after removing the core and thread it onto your leader for a bright, highly visible, sinking indicator perfect for streamer fishing or nymphing when you don’t want a bobber.


With my old reel, I’m planning on using the line to work on my casting. Its already cracked and dirty, so harm no foul casting on the urban fields of Rock Creek Park in DC.


Cut it in half, tied in a new loop and make it a shortline nymphing rig. The back half of the line is in much better shape than the front end, and as long as I don’t cast too far, it’ll be usable for at least another year.


Even though its a 5wt, that’s more than enough stopping power for the average bass. Cut off the first 15 or 20 ft (the weight forward part), and then add a sinktip to make it a bass line. Just make sure to cut out the cracked material.

2 thoughts on “420 Hours

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