I will 100% admit to anyone that I am a gear head, gear nut, gear fanatic. I have a feeling that is why I have so many hobbies. When you have all the gear for one you find another and thus start the vicious cycle of more gear!
Here are the top 6 things I could not live without on the water.
This might be an obvious one. I am currently rocking a pair of woman’s Patagonia waders. They keep you dry, they keep you warm, they protect you from bugs and last but not least are extremely fashionable (said no one ever).Sizing varies between brands and will fit a little different so go to your local shop or stop in at Avidmax and try some on. Buy what fits you the best.
Yes, this is technically 2 items, but they are similar. Having easy access to tippet and being able to cut it without nippers is nice. Being able to find new leaders and hold other accessories really helps with bag organization.
At 5’2.5” I am not the tallest person you’ll ever meet! I had originally started off with a hip pack and depending on your body type it may work for you. For me, I switched to the Fishpond Thunderhead sling and then added the backpack. I can carry; car keys, fly boxes, a camera, an emergency kit, snacks, water filter, leaders, floatant, indicators, split shot and my phone. Since they are both fully submersible I don’t have to worry about what happens if I take a swim and know I won’t have soggy flies or food. I can wade up to my waist and if needed can use it at a flotation device (do not use it as a flotation device). The backpack made it so I could hold a rain jacket, dog treats, leash, beer and even more of the gear I love. The backpack has flown with me all over the country and I am still able to fit a laptop and tablet along with 2 other camera lenses.
If you can’t tell I really, really like everything fishpond makes. While they are on the higher side of price I think the quality is fantastic! It was inevitable that eventually I would get a fishpond net. When they came out with their River Armor nets I couldn’t turn it down. It’s just long enough for my short arms, yet big enough for big fish…… and the rubber is small enough for the little dinks you catch.A big plus for me is that it is lightweight and it even floats. That being said my first net was a Rising net. Its durable and can be used as a wading staff which I really liked. I have found that the Lunker is just a little bit too big and bulky for walk and wade. If I would have started with the Brookie Net I may have stuck with it. Rising allows you customize colors which can really make the fish pop. You can also add engrave it to really make it yours. The Lunker is now the boat net.
Everyone says it because its true. Get yourself some polarized sunglasses and a hat, or multiple hats, or multiple hats and polarized sunglasses. Having a pair of sunglasses will allow you to see fish! Having an amber tint is typically better for freshwater while blue/green are better for saltwater. I’ve been wearing a pair of the Costa Bayside with glass lenses. They are scratch resistant and I have better clarity. If you are doing a lot of saltwater fishing you might want to consider wrap around sunglasses. They will help your eyes become less strained due to the fact there is no light coming in from the side.
Get some fly boxes you like and then focus on filling them. Generally, you are going to use the same ones over and over again. Check out the great selection Avidmax offers from Tacky to Umpqua and everything inbetween. My favorite boxes are from Tacky, they were recently acquired by Fishpond… I swear this was not planned. Their Daypack size is a favourite amongst my friends who go ultralight. I however carry everything I could potentially need to use and prefer their double sided Collab box with Orvis, The Original, The Dry Fly Box and the Big Bug Box. For streamers I really like Cliffs Jr. Bugger box that fits into my backpack or the Umpqua Streamer Boat Box for the raft as it has foam on the outside as well, allowing them to dry. Don’t be like my guide in Idaho who keeps his flies like ths.
Some people are fine carrying their flies in a cup like my guide in Idaho did (pictured above)