So far we’ve covered the basics in selecting a rod and reel for fly fishing in addition to a line. We then talked about waders and what you need to know in selecting a quality pair that will work for you. Today I’m going to tell you about a few of the other things I bring every time I go fly fishing. Not strictly essential, these items have made my time fly fishing more enjoyable and they also allow me to spend as much time as possible casting my flies instead of messing with gear.
Simms Dry Creek Z Sling Pack – $200
I have tried backpacks and sling packs while fly fishing and I like the sling better. It gives me the ability to quickly swing the pack around my torso get inside and then back onto my back. With a backpack you have to take it off both arms, and bring it around while holding it. The sling frees both of my hands up to tie my next fly. After using a regular sling pack by Patagonia, and one by Orvis I ended up going for this Dry Creek pack from Simms. It is completely waterproof including waterproof zippers. For me, it was worth it to spend double the price of a normal fishing sling pack to get the peace of mind that my cellphone, lunch, and anything else I bring will stay dry. The waterproof lacks some of the pocket options of the non-waterproof packs, but again, I think it’s worth the sacrifice. Simms makes a great pack with a lifetime guarantee against defects.
A pair of pliers is one of the most basic tools in a fisherman’s arsenal. Straightening hooks, removing hooks from fish, and fixing flies are just a few of the many uses for them. What I like about these is the “mitten” function. It allows you to open and close the pliers with the same motion. As you squeeze the handles they open and close. The idea is wearing gloves or mittens in cold weather you aren’t able to get your fingers inside the grips to open the pliers back up. I have found that the fluid motion makes it way quicker to use these forceps. Loon makes good quality fishing gear that comes with a satisfaction guarantee. For $21 this is a great piece of gear you will be happy to have with you.
Simms Guide Nippers – $50
Now, I know what you’re thinking. $50 for a pair of nippers?!? Allow me to explain. I think they cut better. I have had no problem cutting through braid, monofilament, 2x tippet, you name it using these. They cut quickly and feature a needle for cleaning out the eye on your fly. Do you need a $50 pair of what are basically nail clippers? No. But I like that I can attach them to my sling pack strap and they are backed by the Simms warranty.
Fishpond Nomad Hand Net – $125
The Nomad hand net by Fishpond is a great piece of gear. It is carbon fiber and very lightweight, the perfect size for fly fishing, and the rubber net is both replaceable and fish safe. It lives strapped to my sling pack and has helped safely apprehend many trout and bass. I have it connected with a Fishpond magnet (sold separately) and leash. When I’m done using it I just reach back and it snaps into place.
That’s my basic setup. I wear the sling, and have the scissor clamps and nippers attached with retractable cords (called zingers in the fly fishing world) to the strap. My net is tethered via magnet to the back of the sling pack. This allows me to quickly access these tools and not have to worry about dropping them in the river. None of these items make it so I catch more fish, but they streamline my process of moving down the river, changing out flies, and allow me to spend more time fishing.