Best Fly Fishing Gear
There is something about being out on the stream in the early morning, tossing a line into the flowing water that is simply magical. It focuses your mind, and relaxes the body, and yet heightens your senses in a way like no other. It’s little wonder why so many people enjoy the sport and the art of fly fishing. Not only do you get to spend quality time in the great outdoors, but you get to practice a sport and an art that is long forgotten by many. Below we have listed the top ten best fly fishing gear in the market today including detailed criteria for each product to help you decide which one suits your fishing needs.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 14 hrs of research
Easy to use
Great for both freshwater and saltwater
Compact, easy to carry
- Booms Aluminum Pliers
- Freestone Outfitters Fly Fishing Set
- Piscifun Sword Fishing Line
- Umpqua Tiemco- TMC 100 Dry Fly Tuing Hook
- Tailwater Outfitters Toccoa Fly Rod
- Anglatech Fly Fishing Backpack
- SF 2 in 1 fly fishing angler knot tying tool
- Wild Water Mini Mega Fly Assortment Box
- Ready First Compact First Aid Survival Kit
- Goture Fly Fishing Reel
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top Ten Gear for Fly Fishing
1. Booms Aluminum Pliers
Easy to use
Great for both freshwater and saltwater
Compact, easy to carry
Not as durable as we would like
Last on our list of the best fly fishing gear, but certainly not the least is a pair of quality fishing pliers. Ask any angler, and they’ll quickly tell you that a good pair of pliers can be a great help in a wide array of situations when it comes to the world of fishing.Read more
These pliers are constructed of corrosion resistant aluminum metal, and can be easily used in both saltwater and freshwater environments.
In addition to some of the strongest pliers we’ve seen in a long time, this tool from Booms fishing also includes a braided wire cutter that can easily handle any type of fishing line or braided line you can imagine.
Size and Weight
This set of pliers weighs just over seven ounces, and can easily fit in a vest pocket or bag. While the grips may be a bit cumbersome for smaller hands, overall, the size and shape is fairly useful and straight forward.
While these pliers will work well in most fly fishing situations, we certainly did encounter a number of customers who encountered issues with the overall durability of the product. In addition, there were instances where the pliers bent after handling fish, although we believe that most of those instances were not related to the smaller fish often found in streams and rivers.
Overall these pliers do come in quite handy for removing fish hooks and other items that may become imbedded in the fish or fisherman.
A pair of quality fishing pliers is an extremely useful tool when it comes to fly fishing. This pair by Booms Fishing certainly does the trick, although we would have liked to see a bit more durability in its construction.
2. Freestone Outfitters Fly Fishing Set
Rubber mesh net won’t scare fishes easily
Magnetic release not always secure
So you’ve finally landed the big one. Now what? Having a quality net nearby to scoop up the scoundrel into a waiting bucket is more than a convenience. It’s a necessity. This fly fishing net from Freestone Outfitters is a great way to meet that requirement.Read more
Chances are you’ll be able to scoop up the fish with ease in this net. The tear drop opening measures 10.75 inches by 16.75 inches and the net well is approximately 8 inches deep. It has more than enough room for even the biggest trout or bass imaginable.
The problem with most nets is that the net itself will often spook the fish, which can cause it to panic and inflict harm on itself through thrashing. This is where this net is so nice. It’s made from a clear rubber mesh that nearly disappears in the water. It won’t frighten the fish or damage their skin. It’s a great choice when you have to catch and release!
Ease of Use
There really isn’t any need to fumble for your net with each catch. The included carabiner and magnetic release, you can easily hook your net to your best or backpack for easy accessibility. And if you’re worried about losing your net due to a fish on the line, don’t worry. Just pull on the magnetic release and your net will be free, leaving you to concentrate on other matters at hand.
The frame is made from hardwood material which resists mold and mildew, and the rubber mesh is strong enough to resist tears and decay even after many uses. The only complaint we had was that the magnet in the magnet release wasn’t as securely attached as we would like. A few customers experienced it coming loose after a few uses.
With the magnetic release, this net weighs just under a pound. Until you’re ready to use it, you’ll hardly know it’s there.
This net by Freestone Outfitters has quite a bit going for it. The size is more than enough for most catches, and it is very easy to use. While we would have like to see the magnet attached with more strength, overall this is a great choice for a net.
3. Piscifun Sword Fishing Line
Wide array of weights and sizes
Very easy to cast
Comes unfurled easily
Another important item to have in your fly fishing arsenal is a quality fishing line. Whether you’re fishing large-mouth bass, rainbow trout or trying for some blue gill, chances are the line you use will either make, or break the catch. This line from Piscifun is more than able to handle what you need no matter what’s on the other end of the line.Read more
Depending on what type of fish you are trying for, and their overall size, you might need a lighter or heavier weight line. Thankfully, Piscifun provides a wide array of different weights for you use, so chances are you’ll be able to find one that complements your rod and reel without too much trouble.
Chances are your line will break at some point while you’re fishing. It’s just the nature of the beast. While you can’t prevent this from happening completely, you can reduce the risk by using a durable line. In the case of this line, it has been prepared with added lubrication and a braided core that allows for less snagging, less breakage, and more overall casting distance.
When it comes to fly fishing, one of the main annoyances is trying to attach your leader to the line without too much of a hassle. Thankfully, the manufacturer took this into consideration and fashioned a welded loop at the end of the line, which makes the whole process so much easier.
Of course, how you’re able to cast the line out usually indicates how well you reel your fish back in. This line provides a longer head, which makes casting fairly easy. One complaint, however, was that the line was maybe too eager to unwind, making storage and reeling it in somewhat problematic.
You may not think of it, but sometimes how the weight of the line is distributed can play an important part in casting, and catching the fish that you’re after. This line helps you out by providing you with a weight forward distribution, which allows you to cast the line farther into the stream to catch the elusive fish.
When it comes to fly fishing, the type of line that you use can be very important. Depending on your needs, the weight, strength and ease of use all need to be considered. Thankfully, this line from Piscifun does a great job of taking those things into consideration for you.
4. Umpqua Tiemco- TMC 100 Dry Fly Tuing Hook
Strong, yet simple design
Easy to use
There is literally hundreds, if not thousands of different fly fishing hooks on the market today. While finding the one you’ll use is really a matter of personal choice based on the type of fly fishing you do, this is one of our favorite hooks from Umpqua.Read more
This simple hook is forged from bronze metal, and can easily withstand the mouths of most fish.
The relatively simple design of this style of hook allows for easy tying and easy removal in case of accidents or the surprising act of catching the big fish at the end of the line.
Size and Diameter Consistency
When you buy fly fishing hooks in bulk, there is always the chance that you’ll get quite a few that aren’t consistent in size, diameter, or quality. However, the Umpqua brand is well known for their quality control efforts, and chances are nearly every hook in the collection will be exactly what you need.
Although making flies can be a bit time consuming, a quality hook does allow you to save quite a bit of money in the long run. These hooks allow you to do just that with ease.
Another added benefit of these hooks is that the shafts are made of forged metal, so they are relatively strong, which means there is less chance of breakage.
Depending on your desire, you can certainly make your own flies for fly fishing, and these hooks by Umqua can certainly help in that regard.
5. Tailwater Outfitters Toccoa Fly Rod
Comfortable to use
Can easily handle heavier lines
May become difficult to put together over time
Depending on whom you talk with, it’s either the fly you tie on to the end of the fly rod, or the fly rod itself that is the most integral part of the whole fly fishing experience. While that particular debate could go on for quite some time, we feel that this example from Tailwater Outfitters will become a significant part of your experience based on its quality, flexibility, and durability.Read more
In order for a fly rod to help you catch the next river trout or bass, it needs to be able to move and flex at a moment’s notice. After all, the fly that you place on the water’s edge needs to look and act like a real fly to entice the fish to break the water. This is one area where the Tailwater Outfitters Toccoa Fly Rod really shines. It has both ceramic and chrome guides to allow for your fly line to glide with effortless action through the air. This allows for a more realistic cast, and hopefully an enticed fish that is just waiting to be caught.
Not surprisingly, a fly rod needs to take a great deal of abuse over its lifetime. If you think about it, the best fly rod will go through thousands of casts, hundreds of catches, and dozens of trusty flies during that time. So having a fly rod that is constructed to be durable and long-lasting is definitely a good thing. Thankfully, this rod fits the bill by being constructed with lightweight graphite pole, an aluminum reel seat, and a comfortable cork handle. These parts work together beautifully to make each cast feel like the first one of many.
Another factor to consider when purchasing a fly rod is its weight. Don’t be fooled though; we’re not talking about how much the rod would weigh if placed on the scale. No, in this case, the weight of the fly rod is its ability to cast a heavier line. In the case of the Tailwater Outfitters Toccoa Fly Rod, there are two different weights available – namely three weight and eight weight. So depending on which type you choose, you can easily catch and hold onto a good size fish.
Let’s face it, a trout swimming in a stream is not going to come to you. You’ll have to go to it. And considering all the other potential fly fishing gear you’ll have to carry, having a cumbersome rod in your hands isn’t a viable option. That’s why a rod’s portability is so important. This rod easily breaks down into four separate pieces, and is easily stowed away in a convenient carry container. Then, when you’re at your destination it’s easy to put together and start casting.
Finally, it’s important to consider how easy and comfortable it is to cast the line from a fly rod. After all, proper casting is essential to a successful catch, and you’ll probably be doing it quite a bit over time. Thankfully, the half-well cork handle, and the overall lightweight construction of this fly rod makes casting relatively easy, and fatigue never really becomes a problem.
Ounce for ounce, the Tailwater Outfitters Toccoa Fly Rod is one of the most versatile, durable, and comfortable rods to use on your next fly fishing trip. It can not only handle a heavier or lighter line with ease, but it is also easy to transport as well.
6. Anglatech Fly Fishing Backpack
Lots of storage space
Comfortable to wear
Included hydration bladder
Stitching not as strong as we would prefer
Fly fishing is about the moment. It’s just you, the stream, and the fly fishing gear you brought along. So the last thing you want is to have to go back to the shoreline to grab something you forgot. Thankfully, with this backpack and vest combo from Anglatech, you won’t have to.Read more
One of the nice things about this vest and backpack combo is that you can easily store what you need in a way that is easily accessible while you are fishing. The front vest pockets are roomy enough to hold an extra line, lures, leaders or even a reel or two without any trouble. Plus their position on the front allows for easy and quick access.
In addition to the ample storage in the front, the backpack portion of this system provides more than enough room for any fishing tool you can imagine, and can easily be organized using the zippered compartments so you will spend less time looking for what you need and more time fishing
The last thing you need is an angler’s vest that is uncomfortable to wear. Thankfully, the adjustable shoulder straps, waist straps and mesh backing allow you to adjust the bag to your preferences and still keep comfortable and cool.
In addition to the ample storage space and ease of access, this backpack and vest combination also includes a 1.5 liter water bladder, so getting a cool drink of water while you’re fishing won’t be a problem.
Quality of Construction
Overall the materials used in this vest and backpack combination are durable and will make it through a number of fly fishing adventures. However, we did notice that some of the stitching wasn’t as secure as we would have liked.
While we would have liked to see a bit more care taken in the stitching of this backpack and vest combo from Anglatech, overall this is a fantastic way to keep your gear in order and accessible.
7. SF 2 in 1 fly fishing angler knot tying tool
Easy to use
Not as versatile as we would like
If you’re new to fly fishing, keep in mind that you’re going to have to tie some knots. Actually, you’re going to have to tie a lot of them. That’s where a quality knot tying tool comes into play. This entry on our list from SF not only makes the whole process a lot easier, but it helps to save your fingers for more important things, like holding the rod and reeling in your catch.Read more
Ease of Use
Let’s face it. If a tool is difficult to use, chances are it will stay in your tackle box instead of being used regularly. This is one area where this little tool really shines. The easy to grasp handle and solid construction makes it easy to pull a stubborn line through the knotting process.
A knot tying tool needs to be compact and easy to carry. Thankfully, this knot tying tool can quite easily fit in the hand, pocket, or attached to your vest.
This tool is made from durable metal material, which means that it can easily last through your next fishing trip and beyond with ease.
While this tool certainly makes tying a nail knot easier, it really doesn’t help in tying other styles of knots, such as the double surgeon’s knot or the Albright knot. As such, it really is only good for connecting the fly line to the leader.
One of the most significant advantages of a tool such as this is the overall strength of the knot that is produced. The ability of this tool to pull the line taunt without causing undue breakage, means that your knots are more secure than if you tied them by hand.
A knot tying tool is a welcomed addition to the best fly fishing gear, provided that it is easy to use, durable and easily carried. While we would have liked to see the ability to tie a wider array of knots with this tool, it’s still a very handy thing to have around.
8. Wild Water Mini Mega Fly Assortment Box
Good assortment of flies
Compact, easy to carry
Somewhat limited storage
Fly fishing, especially when it comes to the flies used to entice the fish is a very personal thing. Many anglers choose to fashion their own flies, but for convenience, many also choose to purchase ones that have been created on their behalf. If you decide to go that particular route, finding a good selection and a way to store it is essential. Thankfully this entry on our list is a great way to do just that.Read more
There are about as many different flies as there are fish in the sea or people wanting to catch them. A wide selection of flies to choose from while fishing is important. Thankfully, with over sixty different flies available for use, chances are you won’t have to look far for the one you need.
The last thing you want to have happen to you while you’re fishing is to have your flies become disorganized and hard to find. However, this is probably not something you’ll have to worry about with this fly box. There are places to securely keep each fly, and they are easily accessible.
While having a great selection of flies and the ability to easily organize them is important, protecting them and keeping them safe is also vital. Thankfully, this impact resistant and waterproof case that easily locks is a perfect way to do just that.
While this kit does come with over sixty different flies that are well suited for both bass and trout fishing, chances are you’ll want to exchange a few of them out over time for other types. Thankfully this is easy to do, and there is plenty of room for the new flies to sit alongside the older ones as well.
There is plenty of boxes like this one, but few are as portable and easy to carry as this one. It’s compact enough to fit just about anywhere, including on your person, in your tackle bag, or on the front seat of your car. The choice is really yours.
Having a wide selection of flies at your fingertips can make it easier to snag the fish in the river, or to make adjustments as you need to find the right bait for the right fish. With a selection of sixty different flies at your fingertips in a waterproof and compact case, chances are that fish won’t be getting away for long.
9. Ready First Compact First Aid Survival Kit
Small and compact
Easy to carry
Waterproof and resistant to tears
Could use a few more first aid tools
Even while you’re fly fishing, accidents and injuries can happen. So it pays to have a first aid kit nearby just in case. This one from Ready First is compact enough to fit easily into your backpack or vest, and contains most everything you need to treat minor injuries until help arrives.Read more
This first aid kit is surprisingly lightweight and small considering all it has to offer the avid fly fisherman. It weighs approximately 0.8 pounds, and measures approximately 3 by 6 by 8 inches in size. It’s definitely compact enough to fit in your tackle backpack with ease.
In addition to the normal Band-Aids and bandages that you find in most first aid kits, this kit also includes items that you might find useful in a wilderness setting. These include an emergency blanket, a trauma pad, an emergency whistle, and a compass to name a few.
The pouch is made from 600 D Oxford cotton that is tightly woven and highly resistant to tears and punctures. The contents are clearly labeled and kept in easy to use and sterile envelopes so you know you won’t have to worry about contamination when you need to use it.
While this first aid kit certainly provides a wealth of supplies, it does offer an additional room in the carrying case for additional medicines, tools, or bandages if necessary.
While this kit is most likely more than enough for an angler’s needs while they are fishing, it’s good to keep in mind that it’s only a first aid kit, and doesn’t include what is needed to treat more life threatening injuries.
If you’re looking for a first aid kit to handle the bumps, bruises and cuts that are common in a fishing expedition, this compact first aid kit form Ready First is a great choice. While we certainly would have like to see a few more items in the contents, overall this is a well-rounded first aid kit
10. Goture Fly Fishing Reel
Superior drag system
Shiny finish may scare the fishes
The fly fishing reel is another essential part of your equipment, and choosing the right one can mean the difference between a great fishing trip and one spent fighting with your rod and the elements around you. Thankfully, with this fly wheel from Goture, your equipment won’t be a source of frustration.Read more
One of the main purposes of a fly reel is to be able to handle both the backing and fly line for the weight of the rod that you are using. Since you want the fly and the line to flow effortlessly during the cast, having a fly reel that can handle the heavier or lighter lines is essential. Thankfully, the Goture Fly Fishing reel can handle a wide array of line weights and rod weights as well.
Sooner or later, you’re going to have to stop the line from traveling out, and a good drag system can help you do just that. In the case of this fly reel, the two-ball bearing and single direction bearing system allow you to bring everything to a halt with relative ease.
Design and Construction
This particular fly reel is made of lightweight aluminum materials, making it extremely durable, easy to use, and corrosion resistant. Plus, the machined CNC frame and stainless steel main shaft means that you’ll be able to use this fly reel in just about any conditions imaginable.
Rod Size Accommodation
In addition to considering the weight of the line that you’re planning to use, the fly reel also needs to fit the rod that you chose to use. Thankfully, this fly reel comes in three sizes – namely 5/6, 7/8, and 9/10, so chances are you’ll find a size that can handle your fly rod with ease.
How a fly reel looks can sometimes be just as important as how it operates, especially if you’re fishing in an area where the trout are alert. This, unfortunately, is where this particular fly reel has a bit of a disadvantage. The shiny aluminum finish may alert the trout to your presence, long before your fly glances against the water.
If you’re looking for versatility, smooth operation, and the ability to withstand a lot of different elements when using a fly reel, you really can’t go wrong with the Goture Fly Fishing Reel. While we would have preferred a more matte finish, this reel is one of the best overall that you can buy.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Ease of Use
Overall, fly fishing is a simple process. You get out your rod and reel, wade into a river or stream, cast out your line, allow the lure to flick against the water, and draw it back, in hopes that a fish will be enticed to strike. If you do, then it’s just a matter of reeling them in before they can get away.
The devil, of course, is in the details. Between the lures, the different lines, rods, pliers, hooks and ties, it can be quite difficult to get back to the simple act of fishing. One thing that helps is to have equipment that is simple to use, but still effective in what they do. That way, you can concentrate on what counts.
The style of gear you use, including the weight of the line the type of rod, and especially the lures you use depend greatly on your fishing target. Nearly any fish, whether they exist in salt or fresh water can be caught using fly fishing techniques. The trick, of course, is to go after them with the right strategy and the right equipment. A trout won’t respond to the same lure as a bass, and a bluegill is going to need a different weight of line than a bass, for example.
Believe it or not, there are a few different styles of fly fishing available to learn, and which style you choose can easily dictate what type of gear you end up using on a regular basis. Depending on the style of fly fishing you will be doing, you will want to get the gear that will work best for that style. If you have the proper equipment for the fly fishing you will be doing, then you will have more success and fun while fishing.
When looking at investing in fly fishing gear, most likely you will start to realize that there is quite a few pieces of gear that you will need. So when looking at this gear that is necessary to having the most success while out on the river, you will want to make sure it is portable. You want to make sure your gear is portable as you will not only have a lot of gear, but also you will have to trek to your fishing spot and do not want to make multiple trips which can tire you out and affect your fishing day.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
When looking at planning your next fly fishing expedition, do not think you are limited to just freshwater and fishing small streams. Technology and advancement in fly fishing gear has made it possible for you to fly fish in any terrain. So when planning your next adventure, the world is your oyster!
Frequently Asked Questions
In truth, there are really countless different lures or flies used in the fly fishing world. However, they usually fall into three broad categories. The first category is called dry flies. They’re designed to float on top of the water. Nymphs are designed to sink below the surface, where most of the fish eat. Streamers, like nymphs, are designed to break the surface of the water, but they are also designed to act like smaller fish darting around. It’s a good idea to have a few of each type available since what works in one fishing hole or with one type of fish won’t necessarily work in another.
As far as the actual material, there is little difference between a fly line and a backing, with the exception of the overall diameter. The backing line is usually a smaller diameter, while the fly line is a bit larger. The real difference is how and where they are used. The fly line is the line that you cast out to the water with the lure attached. The backing is attached to the other end of the fly line and is used when you need more line to handle a larger fish that has grabbed the line.
Fly fishing can be done in fresh or even salt water. Other well known terrains you can fly fish in include: lakes and ponds, small streams, large rivers, bays and estuaries, and open ocean. Depending on the type of fish you are looking to catch as cold-water species include trout, salmon, steelhead, where as warm-water species only include notably just bass.
The answer to that question depends greatly on the type of fish that you are trying to catch, as well as the rod you are using, and the fishing situation that you find yourself in. First, you’ll want to get a line weight that can be handled by your rod. So if you have a rod that can handle a 5 lbs weight line, you’ll want to get a line that is between 4 and 6. Also, you’ll need to take into account how you cast. If you’re using short quick casts, as is often the case in rapids, a shorter, or smaller weight line may be better, since it can quickly and easily dart above and on the water. Longer, more drawn outcasts, as seen on lakes or calmer rivers may benefit from long lead lines since flies often spend more time on the water overall in these situations.
When choosing waders you need to factor in a lot of variables:
Grip: What type of river are you going to be wading in? Is the river a silty or mud-based river, pebbles, shingle, rocks river planets, sunken tree branches are all possibilities. The first things to look for is a design feature which offers grip.
Protection: is important because a river can hide a lot of nasty surprises in the form of sharp rocks, spikey tree branches, and even broken glass, so choose waders which are constructed from a strong durable material such as neoprene and that the boot area is reinforced for extra protection.
Water depth: does the river have a flatbed or does it have shallows which lead to unexpected depth? Just one or two steps could change from knee deep to waist deep, therefore consider investing in a chest wader which will cope with most rivers, if you get any deeper than the protection of a chest wader you will be swimming.
D-rings: do the waders have a choice of built-in rings strategically located to give you an option as to where you attach your net?
Pocket space: Look for waders which offer a fleece lined pocket so that you can keep your hands warm on chilly days and then it is easier for your fingers to manipulate and tie hooks etc to your line.
Flexibility: Ensure that the product is designed to allow you flexible movement, especially for the knees and waist as you will often be moving and need to be able to quickly move without feeling restricted.
Protection: Look for other protective features such as extra padding for the knees. Finally look closely at adjustability for FIT, which type of system is designed into the waders to enable you to easily adjust for a comfortable fit.