In order to keep things easy for my usually-forgetful-self, I try to keep my fishing essentials together and in my pack year-round. That way, if I get an opportunity to sneak out for a few hours after work, I can be confident that I have the tackle I need to have a good time on the water. Honestly, there’s nothing worse than having to cut a fishing outing short because you’re missing an essential item, whether it’s your fly box, tippet or floatant to keep your flies on the surface during an all-time evening hatch. So, I’ve compiled a list of the essential items that are always sitting in my fishing pack, so you can get yours in shape for the coming fishing season!
I’ve found myself leaning more and more toward keeping pliers that can cut line in my pack versus a set of nippers. Pliers are an easy way to quickly bend a hook back into fishing shape and make it easy to de-barb any barbed hooks I have to make releasing fish easier.
Nothing is worse than being caught in the middle of an epic hatch, with no way to dry off or keep your dries floating after getting crushed by hungry trout. My floatant method of choice is a two-fold operation. Before I make my first cast with my dry, I coat it in floatant gel, this will keep it floating for the longest before I need to dry it off and re-apply. Then after the dry begins to sink or get too wet, I dry it off in shaken desiccant. This combo keeps my dries floating all day long!
I always have my leader wallet full of back up leaders in varying breaking strengths. I keep some tied for nymphing, others for streamers, and of course, monofilament leaders for dry flies. Again these are pieces of tackle that you can’t fish effectively without, and having some on hand always pays dividends if and when one of your leaders forms a birdnest or gets broked by a monster fish!
A Box of Confidence Patterns
Everywhere I go fishing, I take along a box full of my confidence patterns. Containing flies that I know are productive nearly everywhere fish swim. I usually keep a smattering of dries, nymphs, and streamers, that way, I’m ready for whatever the water throws my way.
This little tube has saved more fishing days for me than any other piece of fly fishing equipment I own. Fishing in the late winter and early spring can be chilly, especially if the waters you’re fishing haven’t been warming up from their winter temps, and there’s nothing more uncomfortable than feeling the cool trickle of water roll down your leg as a result of a leak in your waders. This stuff cures in the sun (if you don’t have a UV flashlight), and can patch a leak in minutes.
When a fish inhales your fly and hooks itself deep in the mouth, having a set of long-nosed hemostats or clamps can help big time while unhooking a fish before the release. I always have a pair on a zinger hanging off my pack for just such occasions!
Dan Zazworsky’s passion is sharing his love of fly fishing with anyone that will listen, read or watch. You can find him exploring new waters every day while chasing any fish that will eat a fly!