5 critical things that every fly angler needs when heading to the water (plus a bonus tool).
Fly fishing is popular in Wyoming and across the country. Fact is that fly fishing is becoming a more prominent sport/hobby every day because it gets us in pretty amazing places and with amazing people. This pastime really took off in the 90’s with the movie “A River Runs Through It” and I am sure it was solely because of the allure of casting and the heritage of the sport rather than anything to do with Brad Pitt being in the movie.
I can safely say that pretty much every angler wishes they had more time on the river because let’s face it, today’s pace of life is pretty darn fast. We have children to get to school events, our spouses have activities left and right, work is as demanding as ever and because of these, time is always in short supply. For this reason, the fly angler must take advantage of every minute on the stream and Wind River Outdoor Company have compiled a must-have tool selection when heading to the river. These items will not only improve your angling but also save you time on the stream! So, without further ramblings here is the list:
1. Nippers with lanyard
Everyone, and I mean everyone, needs this tool. If you already have a set then get another because it is only a matter of time until you lose the first one – trust me. Plus, unless you have teeth of a beaver and don’t mind paying a dentist for lots of dental work then get this tool because it makes short work of any fly line, leader or tippet. Even better is many of them, such as Loon, Abel and Hatch, have a bottle opener on them and we all know that could very well mean the difference between a good day and bad.
2. Extra Boot Laces
I know, this is not a sexy, in vogue tool but trust me, when you are lacing up for the day and a boot lace snaps then you will quickly regret not having a second pair. This is a safety issue as well because a loose-fitting boot can put you in serious trouble. How is that you ask? Well, last summer I forgot my wading shoes but had some old boots that had really short laces. I thought, what could go wrong…big mistake. Because of the lack of property length laces to get the boot nice and snug, I ended up falling, breaking my wrist and spent north of $30k for surgery, rehab and am now the proud carrier of 11 pins and a plate in my wrist. A $5 pair of extra laces is a great investment and one in which I wish I heeded my own advice. It does make for some fun at the airport metal detector though.
3. Floating Fly Box
It never fails, the hatch is hot and heavy, the fish are cooperating and you pull your fly box out to change flies and in a nano-second it is gone – a gift to the fly fishing Gods. You stand there shocked and watch it sink into the depths with hundreds of dollars of flies. If this has not happened to you then you are lucky but rest assured it will sooner or later. A particular favorite of mine is the new Flyweight Fly Box by Montana Fly Company. They are inexpensive, extremely lightweight (weighs 2oz), hold hundreds of patterns, FLOATS, and feature a magnetic closure. A great tool and a must-have!
4. Waterproof Pack
Let’s face it. Everything today is expensive. Most fly fisherman could own another house (or two) with all of the gear we have. Personally, I have a sick obsession with camera gear because I seem to always find cool stuff on the water to take pictures of. This expensive gear generally does not react well with water and one would be wise to have a water-proof pack to keep it dry and free from the elements. Simms makes quite a few packs that can store all your gear for the day while keeping is clean and dry. Check out the WROC website at the link below for all the Simms waterproof options.
A fly angler can never have enough tippet when on the river. For those that don’t know what tippet is let me explain. Tippet is either mono or Fluorocarbon line that is tied on the end of your leader so that you can change flies or extend you leader without damaging the leader. Most tippet companies sell spools that contain 30 yards. My personal favorite is TroutHunter because the stuff is that good AND it comes in 50 yard spools. TroutHunter also has more sizes and color coded spools so that I can easily and quickly see the sizing while I am on the stream. This matters a lot when the hat is hot and heavy or I only have a hour or two to fish. Remember, every second spent not fighting equipment is another second for fishing!
6. (Bonus) Polarized Sunglasses
Your eyes are important to life and not having a fly hook stuck in one is a bonus too! I have never had this happen to me purely because I wear polarized sunglasses EVERY TIME I am on the river – even in snow, rain or fog. The main reason for a hook to be lodged in the eye is wind and as most know, in Wyoming the wind is always present. The bonus with polarized glasses is that the polarization allows the angler to see into the water column much better than standard sunglasses. Regular sunglasses only reduce the amount of light coming through the lens. Polarized lenses absorb horizontal light waves but allow the vertical waves to pass through and because of that, the glare from light off of water or from the sun itself is drastically reduced. There are lots of options out there but in my opinion, Smith and Costa have the best lens quality and have stellar warranty policies (don’t ask me how I know….. German Shorthairs are hell on glasses).
In short, the above items will help you spend more time fishing and less time on the streambank, in the hospital or at home wishing you had more time to fish. These tools are time savers and need to be in your fishing bag or EVERY trip because sooner or later you will wish you had them.
Thank you and tight lines!