Packing List: Fly-Fishing

By Craig DiPaolo
Which Fly Works Best?

Ask a hundred grizzled anglers this question and you're likely to hear one name pop up more than any other: The Woolly Bugger. In terms of sheer pounds of trout tricked, the Woolly Bugger ranks as a serious contender for the title of all-time champ.

What does it imitate? Some say a baitfish. Others argue a nymph or a crayfish. Then again, perhaps it mimics a hot dog laden with condiments. The important thing is that it works.

When dry flies or nymphs won't produce, tie on a Woolly Bugger and swing it through a juicy-looking run. Retrieve your line with quick six-inch strips and brace yourself for an electrifying strike. Your odds of a catch increase if you fish Buggers during the low-light periods just before dawn and just after sunset.

As for sizes and colors, you've got a wide spectrum to choose from, but it's hard to go wrong with #10s and #12s in classic black. And a bonus: It's one of the easiest patterns to tie.

Get Geared Up
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In the wild world of outdoor recreation, fishing may take the lion's share of the sheer number of little bits and pieces you should bring along for even a day-long outing--and fishing enthusiasts, forever in love with the wide variety of flies, wouldn't have it any other way. Accordingly, what appears below is the packing list for a day-long outing. Combine this list with one of our other lists--sea kayaking, canoeing, backpacking, car camping--if you're aiming to get deeper into the wilderness.

Cold-Weather Clothing

  • Microfiber or wool long underwear (top and bottom)
  • Midweight fleece jacket
  • Breathable wading jacket or rain jacket
  • Wool hat or wind-blocking fleece hat (balaclava for really cold weather)
  • Neoprene fingerless gloves (improves dexterity)
  • Heavyweight wool socks
  • Waders (neoprene or breathable with fleece pants)
  • Wading boots

Warm-Weather Clothing

  • Brimmed hat
  • Microfiber casting shirt (or other light and cool shirt)
  • Microfiber shorts
  • Lightweight merino wool socks
  • Breathable waders
  • Wading boots (or wading sandals for "wet wading" when it's really warm)

Fishing Gear

  • Rod and rod tube
  • Reel
  • Line
  • Flies
  • Fly boxes
  • Leaders
  • Spools of tippet (sizes 3X-6X common)
  • Floatant
  • Wading belt
  • Wading staff (for stability in strong currents)
  • Fishing vest or pack
  • Net (with soft nylon mesh for safe catch and release)
  • Quick-release lanyard for net
  • Polarized sunglasses and floating security line
  • Headlamp, pinch light, or small flashlight
  • Nippers
  • Forceps
  • Stream thermometer
  • Strike indicators
  • Zingers (allows for quick access to tools)
  • Camera (waterproof, single-use variety is an economical option)
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Water bottles/hydration pack
  • Fishing-specific bag or pack with waterproof compartment for boots, mesh bag for waders, reel pockets, etc.

Published: 7 Jun 2006 | Last Updated: 2 Sep 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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