I have a pile of old fly lines here at the shop. It's mostly a collection of used lines that get taken off reels for customers who have bought new ones and are having me re-rig their reel. I always ask if they would like to take home the old line. Sometimes they do, most times not.
The usual case of a customer simply leaving it with me is understandable. I mean, once a line is cracked, the coating is gone, no longer floats well enough, or has some nicks/abrasions, these things are hard or impossible to fix. A new fly line will obviously solve all these issues immediately. So, next time you take off an older line to put on a new one, don't throw it away. Here are some ideas to salvage that old trusty line...
1. Flyvines - These guys take your old fly line and make lanyads, sunglass retainers, bracelets, keychains, and more. Flyvines up-cyles fly lines in a way that keeps it from negatively impacting the environment. You can check them out HERE
2. Practice Line - We all need casting practice. Plus, trying to practice on the river is tough because you want to focus less on your cast and more on catching fish. So, refining your cast in the backyard, in a parking lot, or at a neighborhood ball field is very common. But, we don't want risking taking out our new $100 fly line and damaging it. Your old line can be the perfect practice line!
3. Fly Tying - If there is one thing that skilled/veteran fly tyers do well is finding ways of using materials outside of their original intent. I know people who have tied caddis dry flies with birchbark. Fly lines can provide a clever new material for the vise. The thick/floating head section of lines can be great for dry fly bodies - similar to that of using foam strips. Plus with so many different colors used in fly lines these days, the options are endless. A little creativity and scissors can go a long way...but you fly tyers already knew that!
4. Fixing Net Bags - Sometimes we get a little hole in our landing nets, or need to reattach the bag. Sections of fly lines can be a great materiel for lashing nets back together or fixing holes. Fly lines will deal with the constant usage in water a lot better than yarn, cord, etc.