Advice needed after 15-year hiatus


New Member
Hello all, first time poster but I've lurked for a while.

Long story short, I'm interested in tying flies and fishing again after a 15-year break. I started tying and fishing as a junior in high school with a class called "Applied Freshwater Ecology" (only in Alaska).

Needless to say I still have all of my old tying materials and gear. I'm using the common sense approach to getting rid of obviously bad materials (rotting rabbit fur, feathers that disintegrate on touch). I've been wanting to get back into flyfishing because I remember how relaxing it was.

Is there anything I should be wary about keeping (or that I definitely should keep despite how it looks)? I also have a lot of old tippet materials (I used to tie my own).

Also I am hoping my lines are still good after all of this time. I've strung them around the living room and doused them with line dressing in hopes they aren't lost. Any advice would be welcome.
As far as material is concerned, if it smells, I'd toss it. Just use your judgement. The lines should be fine assuming they were stored in direct sunlight or a car trunk. However, I never use old tippet material as it degrades rather quickly over time and will become very "brittle". Good luck.

Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
I took a nearly 25-year hiatus before returning to both flyfishing and flytying in the late 1990s. The combination of rotted or degraded materials and waaaay out of date gear eventually forced me to replace all my tying materials, convert my old brown Fenwick rods into wall hangers, toss floating lines that no longer floated and buy new gear.

It's obviously an expensive undertaking, and because of that, one that can't be accomplished in one fell swoop. But in the end you'll be happier tying flies with new thread that doesn't break, hackle that doesn't shed fibers, and fishing with lines that float as they're supposed to.

Welcome back!



Active Member
If you had fatty bird skins (grouse, duck, or pheasant) they can get rancid, but you could always wash them (look it up online). I've tied with stinky stuff, and it didn't really bother me. I just make sure never to go to my mouth. Always keep some water on the table.

The big concern is pests. You don't want pests from old materials infesting new materials. But since your stuff hasn't been eaten (at least you didn't mention it), I would assume it's "clean".

tie with it. Brittle feathers may break, but you'll figure that out pretty fast.


New Member
Thanks all for your responses! Fortunately I had some of my better stuff sealed in a tupperware container; that material is OK (as long as I like to tie salmon/steelhead flies hehe). Some had been infested/eaten by some sort of bug (pheasant and two rooster hackles). I'd say about 80 percent of the stock is OK though, with an equal percentage of usable flies.

Deep in the box I found a never-used Orvis weight-forward 5 wt float line. I might go to a park tomorrow and try some practice casts on a soft lawn (not with the unused line of course).

Bob Jones

Still truckless now farther away
Welcome back and good luck.It's atreat sport even if you don't fish much. Tying and practicing are good too. I enjoy the planning and shopping just reading the catalogs and magazines it all helps the unwinding and relaxing. You've seen how much help you get here on the forum and there will be good things to go to and meet others that are great times. Happy Fishin!!