Choosing Fly Fishing Equipment

As the popularity of fly fishing has grown, so has the availability, and choice, of  gear to use for this very enjoyable sport. This means though, that unless you really know what you are looking for, the choice of equipment can be rather overwhelming. The best advice is, just focus on the basics and you’ll find the gear you need to truly enjoy your fly fishing. Having said that, as with most things, you get what you pay for. So don’t go for the cheapest you can find. If a piece of equipment is relatively inexpensive, find out why before purchasing, or you may find that you’ve wasted your money.

Basic Gear for Fly Fishing

The Rod

First and foremost, you need the right fishing rod. Without the right rod, the rest of the gear is meaningless. In the beginning, flexible fly fishing rods were made from sturdy wood. Next came treated and reinforced bamboo rods. Bamboo was a step up from the original wooden rods and increased the quality of the fishing experience. Many anglers still use these and wouldn’t swop them for anything else. A good bamboo rod though can be extremely expensive, as many hours work has to go into it’s construction. The most recent advance in materials is carbon fiber, or fiberglass.  

Rods made for fly fishing are heavier than the normal fishing rods. Fiberglass gives weight to the rod, while still maintaining flexibility. The additional weight also gives the rod a smooth and clean cast. When selecting your rod, be aware that the smoothness of the cast can vary from rod to rod. You can choose from fast action rods, which are only flexible at the tip, to medium action, which are flexible for around half their length, right to the other end of the scale, slow action rods, which are flexible throughout their length. 

The Fishing Reel

As with the rods, fly fishing reels are larger and heavier than a normal fishing reel. They are also more durable. These reels possess a distinctive design which allows it to work in unison with the rod. This means that the rod and the reel must be compatible with other. This factor is much more important in fly fishing than in normal fishing. So when you decide to purchase your gear, it would be wise to buy the rod and the reel at the same time. It is possible to buy a combination set, where everything is matched for you. If you already have a rod, then take it with you when you buy the reel. That way you can ensure they will work together as one unit.  

The Fly

The most important piece of fly fishing equipment is also the tiniest, the replicated fly. Selecting a fly can be difficult. There is a huge selection of flies from which to choose, and different flies are designed to catch different types of fish. Before you purchase your flies, decide what type of fish you want to catch. Otherwise, instead of the perfect break from stress described above, you’ll just get frustrated when you catch nothing.

The Clothes 

Okay, clothes aren’t really important in fly fishing, anything comfortable will do although bright colors are not a good idea, as with any kind of hunting, try and blend in with your surroundings. Remember also, that you may be wading out into cold water, so buy yourself a good set of rubber waders. You’ll enjoy your fly fishing experience more if you’re warm and dry.

William Carter is an experienced fly fisherman who has taught many students the art of fly fishing.