I'm also re-posting some info about how to care for your bamboo fly rod. If this is your first season with one, please take time to read it. Care for any fly rod takes only a little effort, but saves you a lot of money & disappointment in the long run. You can find this info, along with a bunch of other how-to's about repairing fly fishing tackle, over on the Tackle Tips page.
Now, without further ado........
How To Clean Your Fly Rod:
No matter if you have a graphite, fiberglass, or a bamboo fly rod after use they get dirty. Along with the dirt & grime that rods acquire from use, they sometimes get watermarks on the shaft from being in contact with a wet fly line. For these problems that arise from normal use (we're not talking about damage here), it's a good idea to gently clean the shafts of the rod with some liquid window cleaner (like windex, etc) & a soft, clean towel. Spray the window cleaner onto the towel & wipe down the rod shafts gently. Then follow that by wiping the shafts dry with another soft, clean, & dry towel. Make sure to get the area beneath the line guides & the guides themselves.
Next, if you have a bamboo rod with varnish, or a fiberglass or graphite rod with a gloss, shiny finish, go over the rod with a good furniture polish - the same kind you use around the house (Old English, Pledge, etc). Again, spray the wax on a clean, soft towel, & wipe off the wax with another dry towel. Make sure that you get the line guides as well but make sure you get all the excess wax off the line guides. If you don't, it will build up on the guides & slow your fly line down.
DO NOT WAX THE FERRULES!!! This is especially true for the metal ferrules of a bamboo rod. Never ever wax the ferrules. If you need to clean the metal ferrules of a bamboo or older fiberglass rod, put some rubbing alcohol onto a clean, soft towel & wipe the ferrules with the alcohol. Then wipe them again with a clean, dry towel. Make sure the towels are clean & do not have anything on them that will scratch the ferrules. To clean the inside of a metal female ferrule, dip a cotton swab into some rubbing alcohol & swirl it around inside the ferrule. Keep doing this with a fresh cotton swab each time until they no longer have dirt on them. Then dry the inside of the female ferrule with a dry cotton swab before assembling the rod.
If you have a rod with a matte finish, just clean the rod with the liquid glass cleaner, or warm water only. Don't wax the shafts of the rod, but you can wax the line guides & the guide wraps if you wish.
Finally, after you've cleaned & polished the rod, I like to go over it one more time with a "dry sweeping cloth" (like "swifter") that are available at most retail stores. This really polishes the rod up & gives it a nice appearance. It also removes fingerprints & other smudges.
Regular cleaning helps to protect the finish of the rod & to protect the guide wraps & labels or inscriptions on the rod shafts. If you take the time to clean your fly rod & keep it looking good, you'll be going a long way to getting more years of use from it
Useful suggestions about caring for your split-cane fly rod
1.) Always wipe down the rod (including the ferrules) with a dry, soft cloth after use. Never ever put the rod away wet. It’s a good idea to carry a soft rag in your fishing vest so you can be in the habit of drying your rod after every use. Many experience split-bamboo rod users also carry in their vest two small pieces of rubber (inter tube rubber works well) in the unusual event the ferrules stick together because extreme temperature changes, etc. The rubber can provide extra “grip” when pulling the rod sections apart
2.) Please don’t store the rod next to a heat source or leave it in direct sunlight for extended periods of time (i.e. in a parked car). Doing so may cause the glue to fail.
3.) When removing the rod from the tube slide the entire rod out in the bag while making a ring with you thumb and forefinger over the tube to avoid banging and bending the guides against the tube. Do this when putting the rod into the tube too.
4.) I think it goes without saying, but never lay your rod on the ground or floor where someone might step on it and don’t lean it against a wall, etc, where it might get damaged. Also remember, most rod breaks happen at the car or truck when you’re stringing them up or tearing them down. Watch out for car doors, etc. When returning to the vehicle after an outing have the habit of putting your rod away before you do anything else. If your line gets caught in a tree, bush, etc while fishing don’t yank on the rod. Admit defeat, hold the rod straight at the tangle so the rod isn’t bent at all, & break the line free by pulling it straight back. More than one rod tip has snapped off because a tangled angler lost their cool.
5.) Periodically clean your rod with a soft cloth dampened with water. Follow that by coating the rod with a soft, liquid furniture polish. This should protect the varnish.
6.) Wipe the ferrules with a soft rag after every use. Periodically (when further cleaning is needed) clean the ferrules with rubbing alcohol and a soft rag. Use a cotton swab for the female ferrule. Quickly wipe off any excess alcohol. Never clean ferrules with any kind of abrasive – EVER!! Note: after some use, you may notice a separation of the thread wrap at the ferrules. This is a normal occurrence because of how the rest of the rod flexes in relation to the ferrules. It will not affect the rod’s performance & is a sign of a well used rod.
7.) When you put your rod together always hold the pieces with your hands close to the ferrules and push them straight together until the shoulder of the male is against the rim of the female. Never twist the ferrules. This causes stress on the bamboo that will lead to severe damage and a broken rod. If the line guides don’t line up, pull the sections apart and try again. When taking the rod apart, hold your hands a little farther apart and pull straight – do not bend or twist the rod. You should hear a “pop” sound when the ferrules separate. To remember this keep the old saying in your mind: “Rod together, hands together. Rod apart, hands apart.”
8.) When playing a large fish try to play it off the butt of the rod. Don’t play it only off the tip. After years of heavy fish the rod may take a set, or curve. Unless extreme this won’t effect how the rod casts or plays fish and may, in fact, add character to the rod.
9.) Always store your rod in the bag when it’s in the tube. When in the tube always store your rod with the ferrules pointed down.