Fly Fishing Lanyard Set Up: My Preferred Choices

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Fly Fishing Lanyard Set Up

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A fly fishing lanyard is a great option for carrying key fly fishing tools and accessories.

Here is how I set up my fly fishing lanyard: the key gear I put on it, why I use the lanyard for these items and what other accessories I might add to my lanyard set up.

Why Use a Fly Fishing Lanyard?

For me the main point of a fly fishing lanyard is to store all that you really need for a quick trip so if you want to go for a quick fish without carrying a vest or bag you have everything you need close to hand.

Of course not every trip is like that – sometimes you need to carry spare fly fishing reels, lots of fly boxes and other essentials.

But a fly fishing lanyard still comes in handy because if you can carry the real essentials on the lanyard you can switch between using a traditional fly fishing vest, a sling pack, a waist or chest pack without having to do extensive repacking.

What Fly Fishing Tools Go on My Lanyard?

  • Nippers – you always need these hand to change flies and trim tags from knots
  • Forceps – similarly, you need these close to hand to remove flies from a fish’s mouth ASAP. I like these on a zinger mounted to the lanyard (our favorite forceps reviewed here)
  • Tippet Spools – I change tippet a lot to make sure I don’t have bust offs. It is essential to have it close to hand. I have 1x through to 6x spools of tippet so I can cater for pretty much any fly fishing situation.
  • Floatant and Dry Shake – another item that you use all the time when you are dry fly fishing. I like to have both gel based floatant and powdered dry shake in the same caddy
  • Loon Snake River Mud – I use this to dull the sheen on leaders for fussy fish. Possibly not something that needs to go on your lanyard because it is used infrequently
  • Fly Patch – I like to have a little fly patch on the lanyard so that you can store a few flies for a quick trip up a little mountain stream where I might not take a fly box or fly fishing vest
  • Hook hone – I like to have a little diamond hook hone to make sure that my hooks stay sharp. It is particularly useful to sharpen hooks when fishing in the salt water for fish with a bony mouth.

What to Look For In A Fly Fishing Neck Lanyard?

The main thing a lanyard has to have if enough anchor points. I have seven things I like to attach to my lanyard and some fly fishers have even more than that. I think having ten anchor points with two of them being on zinger retractors is the standard a lanyard needs to meet.

A lanyard needs to be comfortable. You are wearing it for long hours when you are fly fishing and there is nothing worse than an uncomfortable one. A good fly fishing lanyard should have some soft fabric or foam on the section that sits on your neck so it doesn’t irritate you.

And it needs to be strong. There’s nothing worse than your lanyard breaking and you losing these essential accessories.

I’d also like my next lanyard to be able to hold a small fly box. My current one doesn’t have the capacity to do that, but I think if it did I would fish more often with just a lanyard.

Can You Make Your Own Fly Fishing Lanyard?

Yes it is easy enough to make your own lanyard. You can make a DIY fly fishing lanyard out of paracord with some stainless steel clips and rings for the anchor points.

You can use some rubber fuel line or similar soft tubing to put around the paracord to make a neck protector for your DIY lanyard.

As an alternative to a paracord fly fishing lanyard you can use old fly fishing line to make you lanyard if you prefer. Again, you’ll need a section of rubber tube to protect your neck.

A fly line lanyard can be a nice addition to your core fly fishing set up.

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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.
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