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Fishing Tackle & Clothing For The Job

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Fishing Tackle Advice

Unlike coarse anglers and, to a lesser extent, those who go in pursuit of trout in lakes and reservoirs, stream and river fly fishers are wanderers, and must go lightly laden. One of the best fly fishers we know, carries nothing but a rod, a few flies stuck into a sheepskin patch pinned to his shirt and a spare spool of tippet nylon in his pocket.

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Few of us would choose to fish as sparsely equipped as that, but the example is a valuable one. Wear a fishing waistcoat if you will — it will enable you to carry everything you need neatly stored and ready to hand — but creels, fishing bags, picnic baskets, fish basses and suitcases full of flies have no place at the riverside.

Which is not to say that we should not take with us what we need or that we can get away with ill chosen or ill matched fishing tackle. Good, well balanced equipment is essential both to confidence and to consistent success (the two go hand in hand), and two of the great benefits of river fly fishing are that we need relatively little fishing tackle and that even the very best is not outrageously expensive.

It might seem logical to choose a rod first and then to match the fly line or lines to it. In fact, it is not. The weight and profile of the line to be used is dictated by the size and nature of the water we mean to fish, and the line should therefore be chosen first, a suitable tool subsequently being matched to it.

On Clothing

Clothes worn for fly fishing should be warm, comfortable, waterproof and, above all, unobtrusive to the fish. In all but the coldest weather, we generally recommend wearing a fishing waistcoat over a shirt or pullover. In its back pocket, we keep a very light and compact but fully waterproof nylon anorak.

When considering the colour and shade of clothing, it is important to take account of the kind of background against which you will be fishing. On open water, where the fish will see you against the sky, light grey or blue may be appropriate.

Where you are likely to be fishing chiefly against a background of trees and bushes, mid- to dark brown or green will be more suitable. For grayling fishing on crisp autumn and winter days, we would even encourage an inelegant but highly practical camouflaged parachute jacket.

A broad-brimmed hat is an almost essential part of the fly fisher’s equipment. Apart from keeping one warm and helping to protect one’s head from fast-moving flies, the brim shades the eyes from the sun and, with the help of polaroid glasses, makes seeing into the water very much easier.

Finally, waders should be reasonably robust and, most important, they should provide as secure a foothold as possible in the types of river you expect to fish. Those with cleated soles similar to the ones found on Wellington boots simply will not do when wet and slippery stones and rocks have to be negotiated; indeed, they can be positively dangerous.

Felt soles are said to be much better. Our personal preference is for waders with thick, semi-rigid, studded soles, which have proved safe on most surfaces.

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