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First published January 22nd 2006 - More than 9 years ago

Reviewed by Bob Petti

GFF Rating: 6
Global Class!


"... the line had that fresh out of the box feel again."

The oldest fly line I own also happens to be the one I used most often - an old Orvis Hy-Flote WF4F. This past winter, I was contemplating buying a new 4wt line because I just could not seem to get this one clean, no matter what I tried. It hadn't cracked yet, and it wasn't sticky like some lines, but it had lost its "zing" awhile ago and the tip wasn't the greatest floater any more. My worry was that a new line wouldn't feel the same as this one in its prime. This line matched my favorite rod, a Sage RPL 486, just perfectly. The combination of the two created that "thoughtless fishing" combination that we all hope for, where all you think about is where the fish are, not what you need to do to cast. I wanted a new line because I fish a 4wt floater more than any other line, but I didn't want to spend a small fortune for a line and be disappointed. (Before anyone says anything - no - I did not plan to go to a shop to test cast their lines. Test casting is not fishing.)

It was around the time I was shopping for a new line that I heard mention of ZipCast. On Tom Kirkman's rod building board, a couple posters praised the stuff in terms that made me wonder if there was something different going on. Fly line cleaners have been around as long as fly lines, and while I've tried many of them, none have really knocked my socks off. The ones where you gotta let it dry then polish are no good. Too much bother. I used one once that made my line sticky like pasta left in the colander to dry. Man - I hated that worse of all. Still others seemed to do absolutely nothing at all to make the line cast of fish better. Why bother?

All it took was a couple more posts that mentioned ZipCast in glowing terms for me to give it a try. I mean - what did I have to lose other than a few bucks for a bottle? So I placed an order. When the bottle came in the mail, I got out an old hankie and wet a small bit and ran the line through the hankie a few times. Out to the yard to see how it cast. Hmm ... it was noticeably slicker and flowed through the guides with ease. Nice.

The next test, of course, was to use the line while fishing. Without any exaggeration, the line had that "fresh out of the box" feel. It shot through the guides like a brand new line, and floated well again.

The final test would be to see how it reacts over time. Some cleaners turn sticky and that never seems to go away. After a couple trips, what happened with ZipCast? The answer is - nothing. I noticed at first the line wasn't shooting as well, but it was still floating ok. It had just lost some of that "fresh out of the box" feel. I shot Tom an email asking about the stuff, how it is different from other cleaners/conditioners, and how he uses it, and this is what he had to say:

It's somewhat unique compared to all the rest. It doesn't use the same old Silicone that all the others use. Silicone is slick at first, but tends to get sticky or gummy in short order. At that point, it begins to pick up debris rather than shed it. [Ed: Yeah - no kidding] The answer is a dry teflon, but it won't stay on your line very long! This is why the ZipCast needs to be applied about every other trip. The upside is that because it is so easy to do, the application is just not a big deal. I actually put it on my lines before EVERY trip. One wipe up, one down, and I'm good to go. ZipCast also has a mild alcohol in it, so it cleans your line as you apply the teflon. It will not hurt the line and many fishermen report that the more they use it the better their lines feel.

One question that remains unanswered is how many seasons I can get from one bottle. While the price is certainly in line with other cleaners, the fact that I have to use it so often obviously means it won't last as long. But since it works better than others, I'm certainly more willing to use it as often as necessary. It only takes a couple minutes wipe-on and wipe-off (there's a bad joke there that I will skip), so it's not like it's a big ordeal to treat your line every trip. And it's not like you have to soak a towel in the stuff each time. Just wet a small portion of a hanky and you're in business.

I'm also curious how long I will be able to maintain my line beyond what I would have been able to with other cleaners or conditioners. Well - maybe that's not so important, since I was *using* the other cleaners and still wanted to get rid of my favorite line. Maybe it's not right to do a comparison in that way. This season was not a great testcase, as I did not fish as often as normal due to a number of reasons, but if I can get another three or four years out of my line, this bottle of ZipCast was certainly a worthy investment.

I also wonder at what point a fly line is "beyond repair" using ZipCast. My line did not have any cracks in it. It was still essentially a sound line, it had just become dirty and, while it wasn't sticky, it no longer shot through my guides with carefree abandon. Other cleaners hadn't done much, and I figured the line was at the end of its useful life. ZipCast certainly cleaned most of the dirt off the line, and it did shoot through the guides when it was finished, but I'm sure there are lines in such a state that the best idea really is to replace them. I wish I had some of my old sticky lines that I've long since replaced. If ZipCast could "un-sticky" them, that would be quite a bragging point.

I'm hoping this upcoming season will be more "normal". If my line feels as good at the end of the season as it does at the beginning, and still shows no signs of cracking, I'll be buying a few backup bottles of ZipCast to keep around the house, just in case Tom gets hit by a bus (knock on wood).

For more on ZipCast, check out the website:

User comments
From: alan · agoodman220·at·  Link
Submitted March 3rd 2011

Does this company still exist. I ordered the product about 3 weeks ago...the purchase has not yet been recorded with my credit card company and have not had a response to the purchase yet.

Thanks for your help.

From: markyuhina · markyuhina·at·  Link
Submitted August 17th 2010

This is the best fly line dressing i ever used! Superb quality! super "slicky", bar none! I highly recommended!

From: John  Link
Submitted June 29th 2010

Well, I've tried zipcast for a couple of months. I hate taking time to clean the line so was looking for something easy, fast and good. It definitely is a great way to clean the line. One pass on a relatively clean line does the trick. A few passes on a dirty line quickly does the trick too. I'm using SA Mastery and SA Supreme. However, honestly, I think other products dress the line better in terms of flotation and lubrication. The upside is that zipcast leaves no residue at all, which some of the other products do.

From: Jerry Brumfield · flyreeldots·at·  Link
Submitted August 30th 2006


I read testimonials about ZipCast on the Fly Fisherman Bulletin Board and ordered a bottle. I was so impressed that I became a dealer of ZipCast and now offer ZipCast to the International market. I usually refrain from self promotion, but since the gentleman from the UK asked how he can get ZipCast I felt compelled to respond. If you wish to know how to place an International order drop me an email and put ZipCast in the subject line.


From: Tom Kirkman · rodmaker·at·  Link
Submitted February 7th 2006

There is a combination of ingredients in ZIPCast. A form of silicone is indeed in the product, but it is not the same type as that used by other line treatments. Suffice to say, ZIPCAST will not make your line sticky. Never. Never. Never. The proof is in the pudding - find someone who's used it and ask. Or, trust what Bob says in this review. The product will make your line slick and then over time it will simply disappear. But it will not leave any sort of sticky residue behind.

From: KS · azarel2·at·  Link
Submitted February 2nd 2006

Bob, I'am willing to try Zipcast because it has to be better than the sticky stuff I am currently using. On Tom's e-mail to you he stated that Zipcast uses Teflon inplace of Silicone. On Zipcast webpage it states it uses Silicone in the make up of its product! So what is the story?
Thanks in advance for your responce, KLS

From: Rob Hale · halecommon·at·  Link
Submitted January 31st 2006

I decided to take you at your word and order a bottle. To make a long story short, Zipcast is easily the best line cleaner/treatment I've used in my 40 or so years fly fishing. It made my brand new 3M Mastery even better and put the "zing" back in two of my 4 year old Rio lines. Good stuff. Thanks for the honest review.

From: Scott Bazinet · bazinetscott·at·  Link
Submitted January 23rd 2006

I am interested in getting some zipcast. I Emailed them and they said they do not ship to the UK. Does anyone know how I can get some of this stuff?

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