Fly Fishing Gear: Our Guide to The Best Brands

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Fly fishing successfully depends on good gear. It doesn’t have to always be expensive gear, but you can’t cast effectively with a rod that’s as stiff as a broomstick or as soft as a noodle.

In this article we take you through our thoughts, as dedicated fly fishers with decades of experience, on the best fly fishing gear.

We’ve even got articles on what to wear fly fishing as well as a complete gear list for getting started in fly fishing.

Best fly rods

A rod is the most important piece of gear in your fly fishing arsenal. We have compiled a separate page on the best fly rods that looks at all the factors that go into choosing the right fly fishing rod and what rods are most suitable for various conditions and species including trout, steelhead and salmon and saltwater fish and size of rod (ie the best four weight rod).

Our top fly rod for trout: The Scott Centric

Scott Centric Fly Rod

Fly Fishing Waders

Waders are vital for most fly fishing situations, where it is walking up a trout stream or swinging flies for steelhead and salmon.

We think Simms are the best waders and personally use the G4Z model shown here. But that’s a high end pair of waders and isn’t for everyone.

But the beauty of the Simms range is the Tributary model starts at just $180 and it and the Freestone are highly affordable models.

Our top pick: Simms G4Z

Buy direct from Simms and save

Best wading boots

Wading boots are the other necessity for every fly fisher. You need a comfortable, functional and reliable boot for those days clambering over slippery rocks and hiking into mountain rivers.

There are a big variety of fly fishing wading boots on the market. Again, in our experience, Simms make the best wading boots on the market and can’t be beaten for comfort and durability.

The boots we recommend here are the FlyWeights – comfortable and light for everyday fishing. For longer overnight missions you may want the extra ankle protection of the Simms G3 Guide boots.

I have a pair of each and recommend both with Vibram rubber soles and Simms HardBite Studs or Simms Hardbite Cleats (not suitable for the FlyWeights) to aid grip.

Our top pick: Simms Flyweight

Buy direct from Simms and save

Fly Fishing Packs, Bags and Vests

The other essential category of fly fishing gear is storage – how to carry your rods, reels, fly boxes, floatant and other essential pieces of fly fishing kit.

The first choice to make is whether you want a vest or a pack as your key means of storage on the water. It really depends on how much gear you need ready – if you are fishing a challenging spring creek when you are swapping flies, chaning tippet sizes and adjusting leader length then a vest is probably most appropriate (see here for our favourite vests).

Sling packs (see our top picks including Simms models) come into their own when you are doing, say, a short trip up a freestone stream where you don’t need multiple fly boxes and different reels and lines.

Backpacks have their uses for longer trips when you need to carry water, food and wet weather gear.

Fly Fishing Accessories

Fly fishing is a sport like no other – except perhaps golf – when it comes to the sheer number of accessories that go into doing it successful.

From forceps to nippers and lanyards to nets, we’ve got a range of content examining and reviewing the various accessories on offer. Click the button below for more.

Fly Lines and Leaders

Your fly line and leader are part of your all important casting set up, and of course your connection to the fish once you’ve set the hook.

Use the button below to access all out content on fly lines and leaders

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Rick Wallace is a passionate angler and fly fisher whose work has appeared in fishing publications including FlyLife. He's appeared in fishing movies, founded a successful fishing site and spends every spare moment on the water. He's into kayak fishing, ultralight lure fishing and pretty much any other kind of fishing out there.