Unlike other types of fishing there is no benefit in having loads of fly fishing gear, as there is no benefit to it at all. Fly fishing is a minimalist form of fishing or ‘back to basics’ type of fishing, and this is its charm.
Fly fishing gear – rods
Compared to other types of fishing, such as carp fishing, you only fish with one rod at a time when fly fishing. This means that you only need a single rod, which not only saves on the amount of fishing gear you have to carry around with you but also space and money.
Fly fishing gear – reels
A reel is essential for fly fishing, and the only type suitable is a centre pin. Centre pin reels have few moving parts, are basic, are easy to work on if they go wrong and they are also cheap to buy. A top end centre pin reel costs around the same as a budget fixed spool or multiplier reel, so you won’t have to spend loads of money for decent fly fishing gear. The other thing to remember is that as you only use one rod you will also only need one reel as well.
Fly fishing gear – dry trout flies
All fly anglers should carry around a selection of dry (or floating) trout flies. Floating trout files are fished on the surface of the water in a bid to try and entice the trout to rise up and take the fly. Floating flies are only useful when the trout are already rising up and taking natural flies, and if they are not doing this a dry trout fly is highly unlikely to catch a fish.
There are hundreds of patterns of dry trout flies, and all fisherman have their favourites. The thing is not to get too hung up on fly patterns because at the end of the day it really doesn’t matter. The trout can’t tell the difference and if they are going to rise for a fly they will rise, regardless of the pattern. Some anglers carry boxes full of different dry trout flies, which is totally unnecessary. Sure, you need more than one trout fly, just in case you lose a few, but there is no need to carry hundreds of the things, and dozen or so should be sufficient to see you through.
Fly fishing gear – wet flies
Wet (or sinking) trout flies are another type of fishing fly you should always have in your fly fishing gear. Wet flies are fished below the water’s surface and the idea is to pull the fly past the trout’s nose to entice the fish to have a go.
As with dry flies there are loads of patterns of wet trout files, and once again, there is no need to carry around hundreds of the things, and a dozen or so should be more than enough. The important thing is to use a wet fly when the time is right, i.e. when the trout are not rising up and taking flies of the water’s surface. If a trout is mid-water and going to take a wet fly it is not going to worry about the pattern, and it won’t care about the pattern either.
Fly fishing gear – landing net
A landing net is an essential bit of fly fishing gear you need to have with you at all times. When you’re wading up and down rivers and streams trying to hook a trout or two it is possible to land trout without a landing net, but hand landing there is always the chance the fish could slip the hook and escape. Are you prepared to take this risk? When I hook a trout I want to make sure I get it in therefore I always use a landing net.
There are times when wading through the river or stream isn’t possible, and the only way to fish it is from the bank. In these situations you won’t be able to get away without a landing net.
Fly fishing gear – other equipment
The other fly fishing gear I make sure I carry with me is a priest (to dispense of trout large enough to eat – they are a very tasty fish and cooked in foil on the BBQ is my favourite way of cooking them), a pair of forceps to make hook removal easier, a pair of chest waders for wading through the rivers and streams and polarised sunglasses to make finding the trout easier.
Fly fishing is a mobile way of fishing, and to make it easier you need to take as little fly fishing gear as you can get away with.