Written by guest blogger: Ben Duchesney
You’ve packed the obvious, hit the road and think you’re ready to hit the water. Too
bad forgetting things as small and seemingly insignificant as these 5 gear essentials
could ruin your day on the water. Stay prepared, keep extras and make sure your
days on the water are full of fish, not regret.
1) Extra Layers
Weather can turn at any second, especially when you’re fishing in the spring. A cold
front that’s about to roll in can really turn up the fishing, but that’s irrelevant if you
get cold and have to head home.
Keep an extra base layer, mid layer and outer layer in your boat in a dry box or in
the back of your car in a big plastic tub. Make sure your base layers are made from
wicking materials like synthetics, which will keep you warm and dry when you start
Wool mid layers will make sure you stay warm even if you’re soaked and an outer
layer that will repel rain is a godsend on crummy weather days. Also, don’t forget to
throw in a good hat. Nothing will get you off the water faster than cold ears.
2) A Wading Belt
Fishing without the right gear is a drag, but fishing without a good wading belt is
downright dangerous. Whether fishing from shore or boat, if you’re wearing waders
you need to put on a wading belt you can trust. Fishing in the cold water of the early
spring takes serious caution, but done right can pull in some serious fish.
Many wading belts come with faulty or inadequate buckles. Before you hit the water
make sure to give your wading belt a firm tug. If your belt buckle opens or pulls
apart easily make sure to replace it for something sturdier. Cool fish graphics are
3) Hand Warmers
Nothing is as simple, useful and yet as easily forgotten as chemical hand warmers.
Visit any convenient store and you’re sure to find a box of these bad boys. The best
thing to do is visit a big box store and buy in bulk, not only to save money, but also
to make sure you never run out when you really need them.
Stick these in your jacket pocket to warm up your hands between fish, stick them in
your boots (on top of your socks) or even line your neck with them between your
neck gaiter and hood for those truly nasty cold fronts. With enough hand warmers,
an angler can stay out and keep fishing no matter how cold it gets.
4) Strike Indicators
Watching a fish slurp down a hand-tied dry fly is one of the coolest things in fly
fishing. Too bad spring usually brings runoff and high water to ruin that. That’s why
strike indicators were invented.
When other anglers go home and mope, the prepared angler can switch to a nymph
on a strike indicator and keep fishing. In fact, nymphs make up the majority of a
trout’s diet, so having a few strike indicators handy every time you hit the water
means you can always catch fish.
Bring twice as many of these puppies as you think you need. Once you start catching
fish while your buddies are on the bank, start sharing. The first (and second) round
of brews is on them.
5) Extra Leader/Tippet
You can have the best high-end gear and the greatest skill, but show up on the bank
with a crummy leader and you’re not catching fish, ace. It happens to us all, so why
not stash some extra leader and tippet in your jacket, your boat, your fly box, and
your car. Now not only can you keep fishing if you break off on a fish (read: stump), but you
can also adapt to the changing conditions and fish everything from aggressive bass
or finicky trout. Tippet and leader are also the first things your buddies will mooch
off of you, so carry as much as you can.