Ajari: Rejuvenate your fishing flies with steam treatment
Recently, I was inspecting some of my flies that I had used at Pyramid Lake. I noticed that the hackles on the bottom side of my wet flies that represent legs were no longer sticking out, as they should. I was surprised to find out that some of my friends did not know you could actually rejuvenate them to almost like new.
It is a really simple process and can be done with a single fly or a number of them at once. All you need is a steaming kettle or pan of water. The steam is the key to the process.
If you are doing a single fly, you can grasp it with a set of pliers and put the fly directly into the steam produced by the boiling kettle. As if by magic, the hackles will begin to stand out once again, making the fly appear almost like new.
Should you want to do a number of flies, you can use a boiling pan of water and a colander. Just dump the flies into the colander over the boiling pan of water and, voila; you have a bunch of refreshed flies!
In the late 1980s some enterprising angler came out with a device called the Hackle Perk. It was basically a water kettle that was marketed. I recall sitting with Hal Janssen and talking about the state of gadgets coming out on the market for fly fishing in Tahoe City one evening.
The Hackle Perk was one of those unnecessary products that elicited a pretty strong response from him. During this period of time purists were seeing so many gadgets coming out for fly fishing that it was a real source of frustration. Everyone was trying to cash in on the surge in fly fishing.
I recently came across some of these online being marketed for half price. The original price was $60. It appears that not too many were sold and these were some of the remnants.
If you want to get the most out of those flies that are in your box, but theyand#8217;re a little worse for wear, give them a good dose of steam. You will then have a box of flies that look like they did before you beat them up on the water or crushed them in your boxes.
Taking the time to do this during the winter will have you ready for the coming season with a box of flies that look like new.
But be careful. Steam can really cause some serious injuries, so extreme caution should be used when you are trying this process. You will find that flies are pretty resilient.
While this process will work on most flies, I have found that you will occasionally find one that you cannot revive. I go ahead and put these in my retirement pile.
and#8212; Bruce Ajari is a Truckee resident and regular fishing columnist for the Sierra Sun and other area newspapers.