Fly fishing can easily turn into one of the most expensive hobbies you will ever participate in. It’s a world of $1000 rods, $300 reels, $140 line, etc. For people that are considering just getting into the sport it can be very daunting. The truth is that you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to get on the water and catch fish. As a matter of fact you can land your first fish without spending much money at all. I’ve outlined the 5 most essential pieces of gear for any aspiring fly fisherman. Whenever possible I’ll try to include information on fresh and saltwater gear.
It should come as no surprise that the rod and reel are the most important pieces of gear. If I weren’t focused on budget I’d list them separately, however in this case it is appropriate to discuss them as one. This is where the rod and reel combination pack comes into play. Look at www.bassproshops.com to see current deals. At the time of this writing the White River Fly Shop Hobbs Creek Large Arbor Disc Drag Fly Outfits cost a total of $99. I have personally not used this particular model, however they do have a decent reputation. The combo’s are available from the #4 to #8. With that range you can target anything from brook trout to bluefish.After you have your rod and reel you will need the fly line, backing, and tippet. Here’s where it gets a bit tricky. You will need an entirely different guide to figure out exactly what type of line to spool the reel with, however I can point you to a good brand. I use Cortland, which www.bassproshops.com has available from approximately $19.00 to $52.00. For saltwater fishing I can point you toward some good flies, however for freshwater you will need to check with local experts. There is simply too much variability in the local “hatches” to ensure success with this article, however www.orvis.com does have a decent selection of flies to get you started. You can buy a selection of flies from $15.00 to $140.00. When in doubt, go for these combo packs.
Now you will need to buy something to house all your new flies. I absolutely recommend getting a tackle binder. A tackle binder is a soft-covered 3-ring binder to carry your flies. They are easy to carry, convenient when rapid switches of flies are needed, and they hold a ton of flies. I have multiple binders that I use, and I’ve ordered them all from www.cabelas.com. They can be purchased for $10.00 to $30.00. I suggest you start with a cheap one and then upgrade down the road.
Finally I will recommend a set of polarized sunglasses. Sure, many people will want waders or a nice vest but they simply aren’t necessary. Sunglasses are important for several reasons. First and foremost they will protect your eyes from the fly as it whistles past your head. If you are not an expert at casting you will most likely end up hitting yourself with the fly at some point. At that moment you will be thankful your eyes were protected. I have never met an experienced fly fisherman that would ever consider tossing a fly without eye protection. Of course they also protect your eyes from the sun, and as a bonus the polarized lenses make wading and spotting fish much easier. For the budget wary fisherman go with a pair of Cabela’s Polarized Sunglasses for $30.00. Not only will they protect your eyes, but they look cool too!
Now you are set to get out on the water outfitted for success. You will add many new items to this list of gear as you get comfortable with the sport, but you will never leave home without any of these five. Good luck and tight lines!