For better or worse, fly fishing requires a little more precision with your tackle than traditional bait or spin fishing. You probably won’t notice poorly made gear much while your dragging a worm around on a hook, but you will notice a difference when trying to land a weightless fly 30 feet away from you. This isn’t a bad thing. I think it’s what makes the sport challenging and so rewarding. With that said, digging into the technicalities of the rod, reel, line, and waders can definitely be a deterrent. What we’ve done is simplified these choices to help you get on the water.
Rod/Reel/Line – This is obviously the most critical element in any fly fishing arsenal. The good thing tho, is many major brands are offering combo kits equipped with a rod, reel, line and in some instances a case. You no longer need to do the research of matching the right reel with the right line with the right whatever. Its all done for you. There are a couple caveats that I’ll toss in here. These kits will range any from rod size/weight and quality. I recommend a 5 weight rod/reel setup for all beginners. It will have enough strength to handle large fish and also still deliver a rewarding experience with the stocked trout in your local creeks and streams. I also recommend a setup with a quality reel. In my youth, I had a cheap reel and it showed. The reel was made of a cheap resin and eventually cracked, the drag sucked and it inevitably got dirt inside and would grind uncontrollably every time I used it. Don’t make the same mistake and get a quality combo kit like the Redington Path or Orvis Clearwater kit.
Waders – Great story here. When my father and I first began fly fishing, he gave me his old fireman boots so that I could walk into the shallow water without getting my clothes wet. Fast forward a few years and we graduated to some god awful rubber hip waders. We fumbled through what to do for years until we finally became educated on the value of good quality breathable waders and what a difference it makes to your comfort on the water. If you’re just starting out, you’ll want to learn from our mistakes and invest in a decent pair of waders and wading boots like these ones from Hodgman and Korkers.
Korkers Wading Boots
Accessories – Bad news here is that the options are endless and you can spend hundreds of dollars on crap that you’ll never use. I’ll try and touch on the essentials for you here and let you make the final call.
Vest/Pack – I actually prefer chests and sling packs. I found it easier to stuff food/drink in these along with my fly boxes.
Nets – I avoid the traditional netting material and go for a rubber coated options. This is better for the fish and you won’t get your hooks tangled as much either which is a huge benefit.
Lastly, you’ll need some basic leader, tippet, indicators and a good quality fly box. These are the products I use regularly and think they’ll work great for you as well.
Tacky Fly Box