Gear Tip — Keep the rust away, and keep beads shiny with silica gel

by | Nov 29, 2017 | 2 comments

Editor’s Note: This is one of the first tips I wrote for Troutbitten, back in 2014. I’ve rewritten it here, with new info, because all things change, and in this case, improve.

For the fisherman, keeping gear dry is an unremitting chore. Hang the waders, wash the clothes and dry the pack — the bottom of which dipped in the water again during a deep water crossing. It’s fishing. And it’s a river. So getting things wet is part of it all. Rain complicates the matter, of course, and at the end of a good soaking, I come home and dry every piece of gear in my vest, laying out the boxes, spools and various containers in front of a heat run or dehumidifier before hanging up my wet rain gear.

(Never store your flies wet)
READ: Troutbitten | The C&F Chest Patch/Box, the gift any trout-chasing fly fisher will love

Importantly, I open my fly boxes to dry by the heat run as well. I’ve rarely had enough unattended moisture to rust the hooks, but it has happened from time to time. More troublesome though, are the beadheads in my nymph box. When they tarnish and forfeit their characteristic shine, I lose confidence in those patterns. Sure, sometimes a dull bead fools more fish, but most often, I want the beads looking as fresh as the day I tied the fly. So protecting that shine (and keeping away rust) isn’t just something for rainy days. Trapped moisture destroys flies on all days, in all seasons.

There’s an easy, cheap, DIY solution to all this. Silica gel.

The Stuff

Silica gel is the pellet-form desiccant found in the packaging of electronics, medicine bottles, luggage, camera bags, etc., where they absorb moisture and limit corrosion. It’s a perfect fit for a fly box.

I usually round up silica gel packs from vitamin bottles and various packaged electronics, but they are cheaply purchased online as well. I store the extra silica gel packs in an airtight container until needed.

(Most of the go-to flies in my nymph box have a bead)
READ: Troutbitten | Beads are the Best

The Box

Airtight and watertight. That’s the best way to store any and all flies with beadheads. I use waterproof boxes to lock out extra moisture, eliminating most issues with rain, river fall-ins or excess humidity.

But remember, while waterproof fly boxes keep moisture out, they also keep it in. Whatever humidity conditions are present when the box is closed will stay that way until opened. It’s a sealed environment in there. And even on a dry, sunny day, while standing mid-river to change a fly, some unnoticed water splashes or drops of sweat may drip into the box. If that’s sealed away for just a day or two, you may later open the box to find beads that have lost their luster, or worse yet, rusty hooks.

Tape and Silica

I used to toss a small silica gel pack in my fly box and just let it bounce around. That was okay. I was careful how I opened the box, and I rarely lost it. Then I started using a fly to pin the silica gel pack to the foam. That worked too. But the cleanest method is to simply tape the silica gel pack to the inside of your fly box. I use athletic tape because it’s breathable and the adhesive is waterproof.

Some silica gel changes color as it absorbs moisture, but the packs I use rarely do. So I swap out the silica gel pack for a new one every couple times that I restock my fly box at the tying desk.

It’s possible to rejuvenate silica gel packs by drying them in the oven or microwave. Google it. I rarely go that route because I seem to find enough fresh packs to have an unlimited supply.

The important thing is that I have no trouble with rusted hooks or tarnishing beads. The flies I tie look good and stay that way until mangled by a fish or sacrificed to a tree limb.

Oh, and don’t eat the stuff, right?

Fish hard, friends.

Enjoy the day
Domenick Swentosky
T R O U T B I T T E N
domenick@troutbitten.com

Share This Article . . .

Since 2014 and 600 articles deep
Troutbitten is a free resource for all anglers
Your support is greatly appreciated

– Explore These Post Tags –

Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

More from this Category

How To Be A More Accurate Fly Caster

How To Be A More Accurate Fly Caster

Only a small percentage of anglers have the necessary accuracy to tackle the tough situations. And big trout seem to know where to hide from average anglers.

In fact, accuracy is the most important skill an angler can learn. The simple ability to throw a fly in exactly the same place, over and over, with subtle, nuanced differences in the tippet each time, is the most valuable skill for any fisherman . . .

Trout Like To Line Up In Productive Seams

Trout Like To Line Up In Productive Seams

Trust the lanes. Trout choose them for a reason. And while it might not make sense to us why they pick one lane over the next, don’t argue with the fish. Wherever you fool a trout, expect to catch his friends in the very same lane. Follow that seam all the way to its beginnings, even if the character of that seam changes from deep to shallow or from slow to fast. Stay in the lane, and trust that more hungry trout are there, waiting to be fooled . . .

Reading Water — Every Rock Creates Five Seams

Reading Water — Every Rock Creates Five Seams

Downstream of every rock are three obvious seams: the left seam, right seam and the slower seam in the middle. That part is easy. But the most productive seams are more hidden, and many anglers seem to miss them altogether. These are the two merger seams, where each fast seam meets the slower part in the middle. And if I had to pick just one target area, day after day and season after season, I would surely choose the merger seams . . .

The Tight Line Advantage Across Fly Fishing Styles

The Tight Line Advantage Across Fly Fishing Styles

I first picked up fly fishing as a teenager, and I vividly remember the confusion. With time, I learned to cast the weight of the line rather than the weight of the lure, but I didn’t know what to do with the line after the cast. Sure, I learned about mending, but that never seemed to solve the problems at hand. Enter, tight lining concepts . . .

Levels, Resets and New Beginnings

Levels, Resets and New Beginnings

The frequent chance for a purely new beginning is one of the joys of small to medium sized rivers. It keeps us hopeful. Forgiveness comes at the next level — across the next lip. This is the time for a deep breath and renewed determination. Because in the next level, over fresh trout that are unwise to our presence, all of our plans will come together. This we believe . . .

Leaders in the Troutbitten Shop

Leaders in the Troutbitten Shop

Troutbitten leaders are now available in the Troutbitten Shop. These are hand tied leaders in four varieties: Harvey Dry Leader, Standard Mono Rig, Thin Mono Rig, and Micro-Thin Mono Rig. Standard Sighters are also available, and they include a Backing Barrel. The Full Mono Rig Kit contains each of the three Mono Rig leaders.

All Troutbitten leaders come on a three-inch spool, making long leader changes a breeze.

What do you think?

Be part of the Troutbitten community of ideas.
Be helpful. And be nice.

2 Comments

  1. That is one great tip. Thanks.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Articles

Recent Posts

Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

Pin It on Pinterest