Fly Fishing 101, Part 21
Recommendations for the Beginning Fly-Fisher
Seasons are opening — it's Spring! If you have been following
this series of articles you should be chomping at the bit and ready
to go fly fishing.
But wait! My email tells me I have missed some very important
parts; there are areas that are not clear. Let's fix that right now.
Here are my personal recommendations for gear, equipment, and
stuff to get you on (in) the water. Do keep in mind that where you
live may require some changes. If you live in Alaska and only fish
for salmon, a five weight rod will not do. Go back and read the
article on rods.
ROD: A Five Weight, 8 1/2 foot or 9 foot, three or four-piece
travel rod with an aluminum or pcv rod tube and cloth rod sack.
There are good rods like this available from about $135.00. And up
— of course.
REEL: A single action reel that will hold 100 yards of backing
(we like Cortland Micron Backing) and floating fly line.
LINE: The best quality line you can afford is a must! If you
have to skimp somewhere, buy a less expensive reel. The line is
the most important part of your fly-fishing gear. Start with a
Weight Forward, Five Weight Floating line (that matches your 5 wt rod.)
LEADER: Start with a few 4X, 5X, and 6X leaders. These should
be at least 7 foot, but you may catch more fish with 9 foot leaders.
Tapered bass leaders work great for trout.
TIPPET: A roll of each 5X and 6X will get you started.
Fluorocarbon is more expensive, but it is also invisible.
FLIES: A few of each of these will get you started: Dry — sizes
14, 16, and 18 Adams, and Elk Hair Caddis in the same sizes. As
summer nears a couple of ants and Joe's Hoppers. Nymphs in sizes
14, 16, and 18: Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear and Bead-Head Prince, and
a couple of size 10 or 12 black Woolly Buggers. Check back here
next time for more on flies.
STUFF: A fly-fishing vest with big pockets, a fly box, a pair of
nippers, some floatant, sunscreen, bug repellant (or a cigar) — do
not get the bug stuff on your flyline, it eats it. Add a small first aid
kit, a pair of forceps to remove the barbless hook easily, a pair of
polarized sun glasses (which may help you spot fish, but may also
keep you from walking into an underwater hole) and finally a hat.
The hat does keep your face in the shade. I like a hat that has dark
green under the bill; gives you better visibility. But the best reason
for wearing a hat is to keep the flyline and hook from hitting your
face — if a cast ever gets out of control. Some of us get a bit
strange about our fishing hats. Yours can be a distinctive or
personal as you make it.
WADERS: Different strokes for everyone on waders: some
like the lightweights, the newer goretex-types, neoprenes, or even
the old Hodgemans. It's personal preference, budget, and region
you fish that would affect your choice. We have been wearing Bare
waders, 3.5 mil neoprene, for three years. They don't leak, fit well,
and are comfortable. But I have worn all kinds, including hip boots.
Unless you really pay attention to your "hippers" you will probably
wade out over the top of them — usually when playing a nice fish.
If it is warm where you fish, try good tennis shoes and wade wet.
You may not like it, but at least you will have tried it. You might
find it less tiring than waders too.
Here is your "homework" assignment! Gather up your gear,
gas up the vehicle, grab the maps, lunch, and a thermos and Go
Fish! I do expect a report, but the only quiz you will get is from the
fish. Email me! ~ DB