Ready to buy some fly fishing gear?
Once you have your rod and reel, you're going to need some gear. And by gear we mean fishing clothes to keep you warm and dry on the water, something to carry your gear in, and tools to help you catch fish.
If you are new to fishing, fly fishing gear will likely seem foreign, but we are here to help. We'll try to make things simple for you by telling you the most important information you need before choosing your gear.
Okay, here goes...
Overall, the very best brands of fly fishing gear are Simms, Orvis, Cabela's, Cloudveil, Patagonia, and LL Bean. We also like FishPond for vests and luggage.
If you're planning to do any wading, you're going to need waders and wading boots.
For waders, buy breathable, stockingfoot chest waders and be absolutely certain they are long enough in the inseam. This is where most waders fail. When you try them on in the store or test them out at home, lift your legs up, crouch down, move all around to be sure they fit in the crotch.
The rest is just a matter of quality, comfort, and preference.
Wading boots are meant to keep you from falling when you're walking in the water on slippery rocks.
A good pair of boots is key because fishing is more fun when you can focus on fishing and not where you're putting your feet.
For this reason, you should buy your wading boots from the sole up. Find boots that provide solid traction and are comfortable to walk in first and then consider durability and price.
In the past all wading boots were made with felt soles. Felt is an excellent material for traction. But due to environmental concerns, the fly fishing industry is moving towards rubber-soled boots.
Rubber soles don't hold water and dirt the way felt soles do, so there is less chance of an angler carrying fish-killing diseases and invasive species to different watersheds via their boots.
So far, felt soles have been banned in Alaska and New Zealand and several U.S. States have bans in the works.
Whether you agree with bans or not, if you are in the market for wading boots right now you might as well buy rubber soles.
Fly fishing involves flies, fishing line, forceps, nippers, floatant, and variety of other gear that needs to be organized and easily accessible. No self-respecting fly fisher wants to spend their precious time on the water searching for flies when the fish are biting.
You're going to need a way to store all of this gear on your body so you can stay on the move in the water and know where everything is.
The most traditional option for carrying gear is the fly fishing vest. The minimalist's option is to wear a fly fishing lanyard. The chest pack is another option that is gaining in popularity these days.
Sunglasses are extremely important fly fishing gear. Polarized sunglasses protect your eyes, prevent eye strain and give you x-ray water vision. Without them, you can't see what's going on under the water.
Most fishermen will still fish if they forget their waders but not if they forget their sunglasses.
If you are going to be fishing in high-sun environments (Florida, the Bahamas, the Seychelles, perhaps) or just happen to be sun-sensitive, SPF clothing is your friend. It will protect your skin all day long, no greasy hands and no re-application necessary.
The most important tools to buy are forceps, nippers, and a bottle of floatant.
When you buy forceps, be sure they are strong enough to mash down hook barbs. For catch-and-release fishing, it's good to mash the barbs down on your hooks. It makes it easier to get the hooks out and is less damaging to the fish. Not all forceps are strong enough to mash barbs.