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.
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).
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.
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.
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.