What’s Your Essential Fly Fishing Gear?

I’m trying to build a list of items that we fly fishers/guides can’t live without. One of those items, I believe, is the Stanley thermos. Mine is a mess after 20 years of hard service, but it still keeps coffee hot, which is all I’m asking for. What else? Gink? Leatherman? Roll up table? Think camping, fishing, drinking, backpacking and send me some ideas. I might put them to use in a future issue of Fly Rod & Reel. See the attached image of my Stanley.

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12 Responses to What’s Your Essential Fly Fishing Gear?

  1. Stephen Sandquist says:

    The Jetboil is key. Starbucks via or french press to ramen noodles on the river. If your on foot it weighs a lot less than the old thermos.

  2. Malachi says:

    Forceps. Taking a hook out when the water is 34 degrees and the air is even colder just isn’t fun without forceps.

  3. sculpinator says:

    little hotties for cold hands

  4. todd tanner says:

    Hey Greg, I’d go with socks. Really good heavyweight merino wool socks. There are more brands than there used to be, and some of them are really good, but from what I’ve seen, Filson still makes the best. I have several pairs that are 10 years old, or more, and they’re still incredible. Soft, warm and comfortable, but they wear like iron. The trick is in treating them right – no harsh detergents, no throwing them in the dryer – and they’ll keep your feet warm in 33 degree water and allow you to fish longer & harder, and have more fun, than the guys you’re out with.

    Plus, cold feet truly suck. So that’s my vote. Filson heavyweight merino wool socks.

    • Greg Thomas says:

      Oh come on. Warm feet are overrated. Yea right. I remember sitting in a duck blind with my feet in the muck for hours of pain at at a time, all with my dad saying, “oh, we can’t go now, the 10 o’clock flight is about to get here.” Would have loved to have some Farm to Feet or Smart Wools. Filson makes those warm ones, too.

  5. todd tanner says:

    Actually, there’s one more thing that’s indispensable. (It doesn’t trump good socks, but it’s almost as important.) Do you remember 4 or 5 years ago when Patagonia came out with their NanoPuff pullover? They sent me one to write about when they first released them, and of all the fly fishing gear I’ve reviewed over the years, it’s the single most useful piece I’ve ever run across. It’s warm & comfortable, it breaks the wind, it stuffs into it’s own pocket, and it’s one of the most versatile and useful pieces of gear ever. I can wear it on a cool morning and, if it warms up, literally stuff it into its little pouch and throw it in my sling pack. Great quality, great value, great utility. And I can wear it to the grocery store, or out to dinner, or under my wool jacket while I’m sitting in a tree stand waiting on a big whitetail. Can’t beat it. I even used it in a video last year.

    • Greg Thomas says:

      Love that jacket. Also love Ex Officio’s and now I’m wearing some LL Bean jackets that are amazing and priced nicely, too. Where were all these clothes when we were young? These guys these days got it easy! Definitely a good lightweight jacket is a must.

  6. No doubt the essential gear list must include a quality pair of polarized sunglasses. Based on the tan-lines from the guides at my shop we all have a serious sunglass tan from their continuous use. As a safety factor they are indispensable, we are slinging hooks through the air. Often as guides we are working with novice fly anglers & even experienced anglers who display very little control of their casting. For example, on an audit trip with a new guide at our shop a few years ago I had the pleasure of the rookie guide hooking me! He securely imbedded the hook into the sunglass chums I was wearing. He apologetically left the fly in by clipping the line, deciding he had done enough damage already. Needless to say he works at another fly shop now. Wear your eye protection.
    Fly Fishing Outfitters
    Avon, Colorado

    • Greg Thomas says:

      yea, you got that right. Can’t really do the shallow water thing without them. And sight fishing is the coolest. Got to have the quality shades. Smith Chromapop and their Low Light Ignitors are the best . . . in my opinion.

      • Very impressed with Smith Chromapop but Maui Jim’s are riding on my face right now. They have performed well on ocean water from Hawaii to the Bahamas and on crystal clear waters here in Colorado too.

  7. RK says:

    Not necessarily in order but some essentials include:

    1. Superglue, many brands will suffice
    2. Flyagra, homebrewed recipe of course
    3. Comfortable rain gear
    4. Comfortable polarized sunglasses
    5. Flies that catch fish, not necessarily flies that catch people’s attention
    6. Two-Handed Rods

  8. Sam says:

    Hello! My essentials for fishing are polarized sunglasses, needle nose pliers, food/water, bobbers, sinkers, good rain gear, couple of rods, net and lures. Oh, I almost forgot, a first aid kit.

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