Essential Fly Fishing Gear

By M. Stefanie Harris , last updated January 19, 2012

Fly fishing is an increasingly popular activity, but you won't be able to successfully try your hand at it without investing in some essential gear. If you have the proper equipment and outerwear, you'll generally have a more pleasant fly fishing experience and be much more likely to make some great catches. Here are just a few of the items you'll need to get the most out of your fly fishing adventure.


Good fly fishermen always keep a wide assortment of flies on hand. If you carry different types of flies with you, you'll be able to attract many kinds of fish and find success in numerous depths of water. Before you go fly fishing, be sure to load your tackle box with dry flies, nymphs, and streamer flies. You should be able to buy a variety pack containing all of these flies at your local sporting goods store.


There's no way you can go fly fishing without the proper rod! The best fly fishing rods are designed to handle fish of any size in any type of water. Fly rods are lightweight, tend to be made of graphite, and usually measure seven to nine feet in length. Although there are a number of companies that make high-quality rods for fly fishing, Sage, Orvis, and G. Loomis remain the top brands.


A fly fishing reel is another obvious essential; this is what you'll need to drag in your fish. Fly reels tend to be made of aluminum and, like fly rods, are conveniently lightweight. Voyager and Expedition make some of the most durable and versatile reels for fly fishing.


The type of line you choose will depend on the size of the flies you're using and the type of fish you're hoping to catch. Since you should aim to use a variety of flies and catch a variety of fish on your fly fishing trip, your best bet is to go with a line of medium weight that can handle just about anything. You can usually fish successfully with a floating line, but you should consider purchasing a sinker line if you plan to do a majority of your fly fishing in deep water.


In order to make your fly fishing experience as hassle-free as possible, you'll need to purchase a durable vest that's designed specifically for your activity. The best fly fishing vests are lightweight and waterproof; most importantly, however, they feature a number of storage pockets and wide armholes to make your casting efforts easier. With a good fly fishing vest, you'll be able to keep your tackle box, snacks, and anything else you might need at your fingertips. Some vests even feature a loop for your fly rod. Patagonia, Orvis, and L.L. Bean are just a few of the top brands for fly fishing vests.


If you plan to stand in the water for extended periods of time without getting wet, you'll need to invest in a good pair of waders. Waders are usually made of neoprene and fit over your regular clothes, keeping your body dry and giving your feet plenty of traction. For high-quality waders, look to the same brands that produce high-quality vests, including Patagonia, Orvis, and L.L. Bean.

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