Truly, chemicals can help us live better ... from the chemicals that are life saving to the good-smelling stuff used to help attract the opposite sex.
Chemicals are in everything we touch or ingest.
When used wisely, they can be a great benefit.
Chemicals are our friends. That is until some of the chemicals used every day have a negative effect on your fly-fishing gear.
For instance, fly-fishers use NN-Diethyl-meta-toluamide, related isomers and other inert ingredients, aka bug spray, almost every day.
If the aforementioned compound doesn't completely work and you lose a battle to some type of stinging bug, you might treat it with diphenhydramine hcl, aka Benadryl.
Worried that the sun might dry out and wrinkle that smooth-as-a-baby's-butt complexion of yours?
Try styrene/acrlaties copolymer,silica,diethylhexy-2.6 naphalate, beeswax, ethyhexylglycern, dipotassum glycyrrhizate, bht, dimethicone, glyceryl, stearate, peg-100 stearate, sodum polyacrylate, acrylates/c12-22 alkymethacrylate copolymer, ethyl-hexyl stearate, xanthan gum, thidecth-6, trimethylsiloxysilicate, disodium edta, polyaminopropyl biguanide, methylisothiazolinone and a little fragrance, aka sunscreen. (You should see what those big words have done to spell check on my computer.)
You should also be aware of what some of those big words can do to some of your gear.
I believe the chemical compound that has the potential to do more damage to your equipment than any of the others is bug spray.
Don't get me wrong, bug spray can turn a miserable day into a great day. It can also melt the lenses of your polarized sunglasses and make that $90 floating line sink like the Titanic.
If you're going to use a chemical to ward off bugs, I suggest you use a different formulation than a pressurized spray can.
Some repellents come applied to pads you can wipe on your face, or if it's in a atomizer bottle, squirt some on a handkerchief and then rub it on your face.
Then, wash your hands to prevent repellant from getting on your line or glasses.
Sunscreen is relatively new to the market, and it truly helps prevent skin cancer. However, that long list of ingredients could have something that will adversely affect your gear.
I use a sunscreen that says it's made entirely from natural products. However, I am still very careful about where I put my hands after applying it to my smooth and nonwrinkled face.
The products you use to treat injuries and bug bites are not concerned with your equipment either. They are designed to stop bleeding or severe reactions to bug bites. After using them, be sure to wash your hands.
This leads me to another potential problem area - hand sanitizers. They contain lots of alcohol, not the drinking type, and could have a negative effect on some of your gear.
For hand washing, I suggest you carry a small bar of soap in your vest and use it with the water in the stream.
Of course, soap in a stream might get some of the environmentalists after you.
Sometimes, it's just hard to win.
However, when dealing with your fly-fishing equipment, the best way to win is to use some common sense when trying to fly-fish better chemically.
Reach Don Oliver at firstname.lastname@example.org