When life gets stressful and I need to get away from it all, there's only one thing that's guaranteed to lift my spirits: Fly fishing. I've been an avid fly-fisher for the past 20 years, and along the way, I've determined which products are absolute essentials.
If you've recently gotten into this classic pastime, this list is a great place to start. Keep scrolling to learn more about the 15 things you'll need in your fly fishing starter pack.
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When putting together your fly fishing starter pack, the first thing to consider is choosing the right rod. For someone who's just starting out, I always suggest a 5-weight, 9-foot rod. This size is best for average-sized trout and panfish and allows you to choose larger streams and rivers.
This Fly Fishing Rod by Piscifun features a durable IM7 graphite construction and a machined aluminum reel seat for easy and secure reel attachment. It even comes with a clear PVC rod tube carrying case for protection and added portability.
The next item to add to your starter pack is the right fly fishing reel. This Sword Fly Fishing Reel, also by Piscifun, is made from CNC-machined aluminum alloy for supreme dependability and a hollow design that keeps it lightweight.
With a smooth stainless steel drag system, one-way clutch bearing and multi-disc cork, this thing won't let you down when it's time to reel in your catch. Be sure to choose the "5/6 weight" option to correspond with your fly fishing rod.
Now, let's talk fly fishing line. With so many options on the market, it can be tough to figure out which style is right for you. This Exergy Fly Fishing Line by KastKing is the best of the best. Trust me, I've tried just about everything out there at this point.
This line is perfectly weighted for a beautiful cast that floats high in the water for premium visibility. The memory foam core adds flexibility and the patented KastKote finish improves performance. Just like with our reel, it's important to select the "5 weight" option so everything is compatible.
When it comes to fly fishing leaders, you're going to want one that's made from a strong material that's thin enough to remain invisible to the fish. This pack of 6 Fly Fishing Tapered Leaders by SF is exactly what your starter pack needs.
These leaders are made from heavy-duty nylon and have a tapered shape, meaning they start out thicker on the end with the loop and get progressively thinner towards the side that you'll tie your tippet ring onto. I'd recommend choosing a 3X or 4X for this rod and reel setup.
Speaking of tippet rings, here's a set that's both cheap and effective. They act as the perfect connector between your leader and your tippet. They're also conveniently strung on a wire swivel so they're much harder to lose when you're out on the water.
I suggest keeping your starter kit stocked with at least two dozen of these at all times, so you might want to buy a few packs. It's better to have too many than not enough when you really need them.
Tippet is a fly fishing must-have. Leaders can be expensive, and if you're constantly breaking your leaders every time you fish it can add up quickly. That's where tippets come in. You attach one to the end of your leader with your trusty tippet ring and can then snip or break it without having to worry about wasting your gear.
This Fly Fishing Tippet by Rio comes in a convenient 3 pack and is made from high knot strength copolymer nylon, making it 20% stronger than other tippets on the market. This is the only brand I have in my fly fishing kit, and I recommend it to everyone I know.
Let's talk lures. How do you choose the best fly fishing lures when there are so many options available? It can be tough to figure out which ones are quality and which ones are cheap and poorly made, and while it took me years of trial and error, I'll make it easy for you: Buy this kit.
It comes with a variety of lure styles, including dry flies, wet flies, nymphs, emergers, and streamers. Everything is 100% handmade and designed to be as realistic and enticing to the fish as possible. Plus, the waterproof carrying case keeps them safe and secure until you need them.
If there's one piece of advice in this entire article that I hope you take to heart, it's this one: Do not use your teeth to cut your line. Sure, we've all done it, and while it may work in a pinch, it's not a good option long-term. I'm sure your dentist would agree with me on this.
These Fishing Line Nippers by Discountflies make a quick, clean cut on even the toughest of lines and include a handy built-in tool for tying nail knots. No fly fishing starter kit is complete without a pair of these babies.
Every experienced fly fisherman has at least one of these Fly Fishing Zinger Retractors connected to their fishing vest at all times. The carabiner attachment stays secure and won't budge during even the harshest conditions. The retractor design means you can attach it anywhere on your vest and still use your tools with ease.
After losing a handful of nippers and getting frustrated by my own clumsiness, I finally caved and bought this 3 pack. Now my tools are always exactly where I need them and I've stopped throwing money down the drain (or, more specifically, down the Manistee River).
Now, let's switch gears and talk about the essentials that will keep you comfortable while standing in a body of water for hours. These Fly Fishing Waders for Men by Dark Lightning are the perfect combination of durability and breathability.
They're 100% waterproof and 35% lighter than other waders on the market, which makes all the difference when you're rounding your third hour of fishing and still haven't caught a single thing. The adjustable straps have a quick-release feature so you can get in and out of them in a flash.
Your vest is where you'll hold all of your fly fishing essentials, so you want to make sure you're investing in a product that's both high quality and comfortable. This style by Bassdash is a great option that delivers without breaking the bank.
The padded shoulders help to ease back pain by distributing weight and the lightweight material dries quickly. Mesh inserts keep you cool by promoting maximum airflow and the large assortment of pockets give you a spot for everything you'll need for a long day of fishing.
A wading jacket is a crucial addition to any fly fishing starter kit, and this one by FROGG TOGGS is the one I've used for years. Early morning fishing can get chilly even in the dead of summer, and it's important to be prepared for any and all weather conditions.
This fly fishing jacket with adjustable hood somehow manages to be both completely waterproof and surprisingly breathable, meaning I'm not drenched in sweat every time I take it off. The handwarmer pockets also come in handy when the weather turns chilly.
I've gone through countless fishing hats over the years, but this one has been my hands-down favorite. The wide brim keeps the sun out of my eyes no matter what time of day it is and the water-repellent material keeps my head nice and dry.
I love how the mesh inserts let in the breeze and help to regulate my temperature, and the adjustable drawstring keeps it from flying off every time the wind picks up. And for only $12.99, you can't beat that value.
It took me way too long to discover the merits of polarized sunglasses. I had a pair that blocked out the sun and basically did nothing else, and it wasn't until I tried on a pair of my buddy's polarized glasses that I realized what I'd been missing.
These Polarized Sport Sunglasses for Men by KastKing are my new go-to pair. Instead of simply darkening your field of vision, they actually reduce glare and eye strain while providing UV protection. Plus, the frames are made from the same Grilamid material used by the US military.
The Fly Fishing Net That Disappears Underwater
Okay, you've got all the necessary gear to actually catch the fish and keep you comfortable and protected in the water, but what do you do with the fish once you've caught it? Drop it into this fly fishing net, of course!
The rubberized net is gentle on the fish and is tangle-resistant so you're not struggling with messed-up mesh while your fish makes his getaway. The laminated bamboo and hardwood handle is extremely sturdy and has a built-in loop so you can easily strap it to your pack or vest.