This is part 6 of a new series, written by a beginning fly angler about his
experiences and adventures in the world of fly fishing.
It is a documentary - intended to encourage other
beginners. It may also revive a few memories from old fly anglers.
I am constantly amazed at the amount of gadgets and
gizmos that some fishermen carry with them.You see
forceps, tweezers, grabbers, lights, magnifying glasses,
pliers, and who knows what else.
Do you ever wonder if you're missing out because you
don't have all the latest gizmos? I imagine that each of those
gadgets has a use and probably makes some aspect of
fly-fishing a little easier but I seem to get along with just a
few. I carry a pair of forceps, a pair of nail clippers, and
a pair of needle nose pliers. I use the forceps to get hooks
out of mouths, the clippers to clip tag ends of leaders and
tippets, and I use the pliers to bend down the barbs on hooks.
I haven't yet had a situation arise when I wished I had another
gadget. But then, I am a beginner.
That brings me to another piece of fishing equipment, the
fishing vest. Now there is a myriad of vests available to
the angler. There are vests with just a few pockets, those
with lots of pockets. There are even vests with floatation
devices in them.
I use a short vest that allows me to wade without getting
my vest wet. I think it has only 6 pockets on total, a couple
big ones, a couple medium ones, and two small ones. I carry
a fly box in each of the big pockets, strike indicators in one
of the medium pockets, and tippet material and my license one
of the small pockets.
I guess I'm a student of the "less is more" school of thought.
I think as my experience grows so will the number of items
that are in my vest. I like the idea of just taking the essentials
with me. I have seen anglers with more equipment in and on
their vests than a soldier about to enter combat! There are
anglers who carry extra spools of line, maybe one carrying a
sink tip line. Others carry so many boxes of flies they have
an imitation of every insect known to man, and probably
several never seen before.
Now I am certainly not chastising others for their choice of
accessories and essentials. One of the joys of fly-fishing is
that each angler can use whatever equipment he or she likes.
Often times I think that the cause of over stuffed vests is the
fact that many anglers don't clean their vests out periodically.
I am amazed at how much stuff can accumulate in a vest after
just a few trips. I've cleaned my vest out and have found
missing flies, candy wrappers, bugs, rocks, weeds, and lots
of other things that were just taking up space.
Another item of basic equipment I have mentioned is the fly
box. Deciding what flies to carry and how many may very
well be like searching for the missing link. I carry two boxes.
One is a two-sided gizmo, one side has about 12 compartments.
In these I carry my bigger flies like streamers and larger wet
flies. The other side is one large compartment with a foam
to hook flies to. There I carry my dry flies.
The only reason I carry a second box is because I found it
floating in some brush one day and could not find it's rightful
owner. This box has a lot of nymphs and other flies that I've
never seen before.
I wonder what other anglers carry in their fly boxes and how
many boxes they carry? I would imagine that a lot depends
on where you are fishing and what type of fish you're after.
For me, deciding what to carry will certainly become easier
as I gain experience. I guess the best way to unravel the
mystery of the fly box is to turn to the folks that have fished
I turn to friends and folks that hang around fly shops. If
you look in the displays of flies sold at fly shops, you can
get a pretty good idea of what folks use in that area. Deciding
what flies to carry and when to use them is probably one of
the most important, and toughest, decisions you will have to
make as a beginning angler. I am still attempting to unravel
I carry flies that I've caught fish with. I carry various sizes
of Pale Morning Duns, different sizes and colors of spinners,
a few midge imitations, and a few terrestrials like ants and
hopper patterns. I also have a few nymphs that I carry. My
knowledge of nymphs is severely deficient, so I carry some
gold ribbed Hare's ear nymphs, some Brassies, a few Prince
Nymphs and some Bead head Pheasant tail. I'm sure as I fish
the area more and learn more, my selection of flies will increase.
I imagine that the type and number of flies that you carry will
depend on where you fish and what you fish for.
This week we've dabbled in the mystery of gizmos, gadgets,
vests and fly-boxes. Oh the wondrous world of fly-fishing!
Did you ever imagine there could be so much to a sport that
seems to pride itself on simplicity?
I hope I've helped you understand this sport just a little more.
If nothing else, you can find a little comfort in knowing that
you're not the only one out there struggling to learn this sport.
Until next time, tight lines!
~ Don McPherson
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