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
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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