It never fails that I forget something when I go fishing. Usually it isn’t something truly important like a fly rod or reel. What I do forget is something that would have made my limited time on the water a little more enjoyable. Most of the time it isn’t something that is considered traditional fly fishing gear, but it is an item that simply makes my day better. Here is a list of some things that we forget but wish we hadn’t that makes sure it is Always A Good Day (see how I did that?)
Our 8 Essential, Non-Essential Pieces of Fly Fishing Gear
Carpet Swatch or Door Mat
– Standing on gravel putting on your waders is a major drag. Either you poke a hole in your foot or a rock sticks to your sock. The first is bad because it can ruin your day, the second is almost more annoying because you have to pull your waders off to dump out the rock.
– When paired with a piece of carpet or a mat makes the camp chair a no brainer. It is much easier to put waders on
and even easier taking them off with a chair.
It saves you from doing the “stand on one stocking foot and pull” maneuver that will eventually cause the seams on your waders to leak.
– This is a multi-use tool. Use it for getting water to wash your wading boots off, use it as a garbage can or even as an extra seat, the bucket can be extremely handy. I have used a bucket as a drift sock when I forgot mine when I was fishing on East Lake. A bucket has held my drift boat trailer up when I had to change a trailer tire and had no jack (another useful tool). The most useful thing I have used a bucket for is as an anchor. Just fill with rocks and you are set. Make sure the handle is sturdy and you punch a hole in the bottom or it is next to impossible to get off of the bottom.
MSR Bottle Filled With Diesel
– This little bottle of instant joy is something that I have used since my days of guiding in Alaska. Mine was always filled with Jet #1 fuel but diesel works just as good. It is the ultimate fire starter in the wettest of conditions. Damp or saturated wood is no match for a piece of paper soaked in diesel. It generates enough instant heat that it can dry out wood from the bottom of a stream, I know this from experience. This little bottle can save the day and potentially a life if one of your fishing buddies takes a swim and you aren’t near a vehicle.
– You need something to light your diesel with, so a lighter is good to have along. Mine lives in a prescription bottle to keep the flint dry. A lighter is also an exceptional bottle opener for your favorite microbrew. It even has medical uses like heating up a knife point for the spur of the moment tick removal, which I have done twice. Handy as heck. I always seem to need one if I forget it.
Sample Net i.e. The Aquarium Net
– The choice tool for any fly fisherman’s inner geekdom! I am far from an entomologist, but there are times that just rolling rocks or seeing what is on the anchor isn’t enough. The net has saved the day on the river and the lake quite a few times. It works crazy good in the lake if you incorporate it with a large sinker and some long monofilament.
Spool of (cheap) Lead Core Line
– Instant sink tips! I use a loop-to-loop to attach to my fly line if I need to get down fast or deeper or both.
It will overload your rod so casting can be somewhat difficult if you use too much. But the stuff works extremely well in a pinch and is cheaper than manufactured tips. The bonus is that you can cut it to the length you want without feeling guilty for destroying a sinking or sink-tip line.
– Last but not least. I tend not to forget this item, but when I do I always need it. I have written about the virtues of this do-it-all stuff quite a few times. I like to use it to fix flies that are coming apart, reel seats that are coming apart and even to fix a broken ferule if need be. There are too many uses for this stuff to list them but you should have some in your vehicle or boat.
This is my short list of things that I often forget when I head out to the lake or river. I am also certain that there are many more things that could be added to this list, most of them not directly related to fly fishing. If you have something that you can’t live without that is innovative or uncommon we would love to hear from you.
About the Author-Sean Johnson