What Do You Really Need ???

Fly Fishing Accessories: The Complete Fly Fisherman. What every angler needs when fly fishing.

So your long awaited week off has arrived. It has been too long since you’ve put on those waders, and your fly rod has been collecting dust for weeks on end. It is time for your favorite pastime, and you are almost jittery in anticipation. It is fish week, and you are ready to rock n’ roll. The question is, do you really have everything you need to make the most of your fly fishing experience?

Do you know the ins and outs of fly fishing , and do you have your tools, supplies, and attire ready to hit the river, lake, flats, stream, or ocean with confidence and efficiency? You know better than most that fly fishing opportunities do not arise every week, and you need to have your best fly fishing gear ready to make the most of it. While you will not become a world class angler by simply reading this article, you will be at least one step closer to hitting the water relaxed and ready.

If someone was to ask you right now what you think are the absolute essential pieces of fly fishing equipment (not the fishing accessories), I mean the absolutely bare-bones do or die fly fishing essentials that you could never do without on a proper angling escapade, what would you list? I am guessing a fly rod, a fly reel , fly line, and a few flies would definitely make the list.

The One That Got Away

You can’t fly fish without the essentials, right? But what about the fly fishing accessories? Do you know what is available? Do you really need some of these fishing accessories to complete your angling experience? The answer is most likely to be a resounding YES.

What about a fly box (or three or ten)? What about a catch and release net ? What about needle nose pliers or a hemostat to save your fingers from certain death? The more you think about it, the more you realize that no sport requires a wider array of purpose oriented equipment than fly fishing. This is exactly why you need to read on to get a decent idea of what fishing accessories you need to check and what fishing accessories you need to buy in order to maximize your fishing experience.

Let’s start with attire. What do you think is necessary for a proper fishing trip? Do a hat, some flannel, and a pair of waders fit the ticket? If you fish in a warm area with a comfortable climate, this may be all it takes to stay comfy on the water. What if it is going to be chilly? What if the area you want to wade through is particularly rocky? What if the current is relatively strong? Suddenly, a pair of non-slip boots (rubber, felt, or carbide cleats, perhaps), and a foldable support wading staff sound highly useful. How is your back? How long do you expect to stand on the water?

Chances are a bit of back support provided by a wading belt could mean a difference of hours of fishing, and days of comfort afterwards. Does your favorite spot have exceptionally cold water? A warm pair of pants or fleece pant liners may go a long way. Once you know you are dressed for success, you need to add some fishing accessories that can increase your time and comfort on the water.

Fly Fishing accessories include things like vests and packs and/or a lanyard that can hold most or all your gear within arms reach on those long hauls out in the water. Not having to wade back and forth between casts can mean a lot, especially when you are running a hot spot and know just what needs to be tweaked to maximize your efficiency.

Now that you are warm, dry, and comfortable, you need the right fly fishing tools of the trade! It is not easy to fish with your fingers (though we attempted it) so a good sturdy rod, reel, and fly line are absolute essentials when making your gear checklist. How do you choose the right rod and reel? Simple, you need something that you can hold and cast, time after time without your arm falling off. At the same time, you want something that can reel ‘em in at a steady pace minimizing your chances of losing a bite or busting a leader or tippet.

Guide Griz with anglers Ken & Kyle

In other words, you need balance. Choose a rod (see fly rod chart) that is comfortable, light, and balanced, but still allows you to fly cast the distance you need to reach. At the same time, a little bit of reconnaissance of your fishing spot will go a long way in terms of choosing a fly line. Trout and Salmon are, albeit from the same family, two different targets which require different approaches. Get a line that can handle the best of your load, but not so thick that it is useless dead weight. Match your line weight to the rod and reel. If you bring your child, try spooling the reel with one weight rating above the manufacturer’s suggestion. This action will load the child's rod more easily, giving them the ability to cast just a bit farther with more accuracy.

Once you have a rod, reel, and line, you know what you need next. That’s right, flies! We love flies because they are the essence of fly fishing. Flies are the one thing that requires the most know how to choose properly. Match the Hatch or see our chart of Fly Patterns for the area you are about to fish. A shrewdly chosen fly can mean gold out on the water, and knowing your target and what they love to eat at this time of year is a must! The great thing about flies is they are almost collector’s items, and since we have the fly box ready, it doesn’t hurt to match the hatch. It's fun to see what's flying around or hiding under a rock. Just keep in mind the end game – catching and releasing (hopefully) your fish.

So you are dressed, and have your tackle (anything that is not absolutely necessary I like to categorize as fly fishing accessories). How are you going to get that hook (preferably a barbless hook) out of that bad boy’s mouth? Do you intend on sticking your fingers in? It might work for those beasts amongst us, but for those who value their fingers, a pair of needle nose pliers or a hemostat is a must. While you are at it, throw in a multi tool, because you never know when you will need to tweak a nick or knack, and a good multi tool has been known to save the day on a number of occasions.

Whether you are wading or fishing out of a boat, or just love nets, catch and release nets are a great investment to add to your gear. Nets can often mean the difference between losing your fish on the lift out of the water or catching him in your awaiting net as he attempts to wiggle off your hook. As to the fishing accessories we missed, they mostly fall under the category of specialty items. But one important item is insect repellant. For some environments, this is an absolute must. For other places it's totally unnecessary. If you do buy the repellent, make sure you are not allergic or sensitive. And make sure it contains DEET.

Remember, if you do all your research, research, research before your trip, you won’t go wrong. Fly fishing accessories are like options on a car. The choice of buying them is totally personal.

This is in no way an all inclusive article, but if you take everything mentioned, and a sharp folding knife-and mind-along, you will be well on your way to making the most out of your next fly fishing adventure. Remember, as with any trade, the right tools, equipment, and fishing accessories are an absolute must. Fly fishing gear is no different. You, my friend are one step closer to becoming the complete fly fisherman.


Click on the accessory picture to read more about it.

Instant Warmers Fly Box

Fishing Gloves

Fishing Magnifiers

Sunblock Fly Rod Cases

Fly Reel Case


Fly Fishing Discounters Hat

Line Clipper by Mustad

Fishing Knife Polarized Sunglasses Ketchum Release & other fish hook removers Fishing Waders

Wading Staff

Wading Belts Wading Boots

Dry-Fly Floatant

Fishing Pliers Fleece Fishing Pant Liners

Fly Fishing Vest pack Fly Vest

Fishing Lanyard


Stripping Basket


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