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8 Pieces Of Fly Gear You Should Have For Under $75

Recently I went fishing for the first time with an old friend who has just recently gotten into fly fishing. After his first time with a fly rod in his hand he was hooked on the sport. He was so enamored that he dove into the deep end of the pool without dipping his toes into the water first i.e. he bought a full kit of top of the line gear-sorta.

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I watched in amazement as he pulled his gear out of an old army duffel bag. He started big by pulling his wading gear out first, a pair Simms G4s with some G4 Boa boots. “I could use a new pair of those;” I said with as he slid them on. The outdoor gear show continued when he pulled out his fly rod, a Scott Radian and then the Galvan Torque that rode in the rod’s reel seat. Fittingly, he put the reel on backwards and missed a guide when he threaded his rod. Eventually he got it all together and we made it to the water.

The first thing I always do, particularly in the fall, is take the water temperature. My buddy had never seen this before and asked what I was doing as I dipped my thermometer into the water. After my explanation as to why, he told me he needed to get one of those. I nodded in agreement, beginning to think to myself that there might be a blog post here. After a day of listening to; “What is that? or “I need one of those;” from my friend I came up with this list of gear that will make his and most everyone’s days on the water more successful and fun.

Fly Fishing Joy For $75 Or Less!

Wader and Boot Bag –

Throwing wet boots and waders into the backseat or cargo area of your vehicle does two things. First, it makes a slimy, muddy mess in your vehicle. Two is has you trooping to the carwash to vacuum it out after your significant other sees the mess. The solution is the Simms Headwaters Taco Bag. The main reason I like this bag is that waders and boots can actually dry in the bag because of its breathable design. The bonus is that it can hold two pairs of each.

Thermometer –

One of the most underutilized tools ever! Steelheading and trout fishing without a thermometer is like trying to make a sandwich with no bread.

Fishpond Swift Current Thermometer

Fishpond Swift Current Thermometer

Don’t overlook how water temperatures impact where you find fish and determine their feeding patterns. It messes with my head not to have a thermometer when I am out so I have them stashed all over the place. My OCD with this little accessory shows how instrumental I feel it it to my fishing. Over the years I have broken some expensive, fragile German-made thermometers. They didn’t do any better job than the Fishpond Swift Current thermometer that I am using now and they were definitely not as tough.

Leader Wallet –

The reason I like this little gem and it makes my life easier is that I can stock it up with a variety of leaders that can be found easily in my gear bag. I just recently got one. After 35 years of hunting for the right little plastic leader pouch in my bag or chest pack only to find that it is empty more times than not forced me to get a Rio Leader Wallet. I am dumb for waiting so long, don’t be me!

Dry Bag –

“Dry” is important for a sport where half your body is submerged 90% of the time and the other half above the water is being battered by the wind, rain and snow (Grateful Dead reference). Waders leak sometimes or you just need another layer, a dry layer preferably. A good waterproof bag that is big enough for a

Fishpond Westwater Roll Top Dry Bag

Fishpond Westwater Roll Top Dry Bag

layer or two, some gloves or whatever else you want to stuff into it is a must. I like a roomy bag that is puncture resistant and is affordable. Fishpond’s Westwater Roll Top Bag is a great dry bag that is tough and won’t break the bank.

Multi-Reel Case –

Don’t lose a fly reel or ding one up because you didn’t have a reel case. Every time I don’t use mine I am sorry. Reels take up space in a gear bag and are always in the way when I am looking for something else(usually my thermometer). But my biggest and best reason for having a good reel case is I always know where my reels are and that they are in good condition. My favorite is the Simms Headwaters Reel Briefcase, which is a sign I have too many fly reels because of its size.

Boot Laces

– Silly sounding huh? Not really. I lost a wading boot as I stood waist deep in the Clearwater River in November because of a bad knot that I spliced my lace back together with. The subsequent swim I took in the 38° water trying to get back to shore made me a believer in the wading bootlaces thing. A pair of Simms Replacement Laces lives year-round in my glove compartment now.

Rod Case –

Get one that holds two rods and can hold a ten footer even if you don’t currently own a ten foot long rod. I prefer one that is soft on the outside so it doesn’t bang around in the back of a vehicle or boat. But the best thing about a double rod case that you can leave your reels attached to the rods so you never forget a reel. Sage’s Double Ballistic Case is about the only 10’ double rod tube out there, so guess what, that’s what I use.

Flask –

Flasks always turn up on every gear list that I have ever published for some reason. Fly fishing is supposed to be a relaxing and social endeavor,

A Simms Flask

Simms Flask

that is probably why I always include them. There is no simpler pleasure than sitting on the tailgate of your truck at the end of the day in your waders and having a little sip of something with a friend. ‘Nuff said.

4 comments… add one
  • Ron McNeal September 23, 2016, 11:43 am

    looking for buff advise/commentary here……………………….

  • Ryan McCullough September 23, 2016, 5:45 pm

    Loved the article. It’s the little things. I would add a pocket stove and tea. Ha ha. Maybe that’s not gear, but then again SIMMS does make flasks. Just counting the minutes to see if Sean takes Ron’s bait with the “BUFF” comment. I was dying when I read that..

    • Ron McNeal September 23, 2016, 10:53 pm

      My “comment” doesn’t deserve a reply; I was just poke’n ribs…… I, too, benefited from and appreciated Sean’s recommendations. Good stuff!

      • Sean Johnson September 30, 2016, 7:13 pm

        you guys are funnnnnnny

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