Fly fishing can be one of the most fun, rewarding, and challenging ways to spend a day out on the water. Whether you’re drifting for brown trout on the Colorado River or wading a small mountain stream in Upstate New York, there isn’t much like landing a beautiful fish on a fly. In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into some of the best fly fishing gear available on the market.
Fishing with flies is one sport that requires many little pieces of gear. They can add up quickly, and it can be hard to know which are essential and which to leave in the truck. We’ve rated a wide range of fly fishing gear from tools to waders to accessories comparing their features, prices, and some pros and cons for each.
We’ve also chosen one overall top pick of all the gear on the list to help you select the best gear for a great day on the water.
How Is Fly Fishing Different From Regular Fishing?
The main difference between fly fishing and any other form of fishing is the lures. Fly fishers use lures that are made from yarns, cloths, and feathers to look like bugs. They can range from tiny patterns the size of a gnat up through big lures made to emulate frogs and mice.
What Kind of Gear Is Used?
The tackle used to fly fish is quite different to spin and surf casting gear. Fly rods are typically longer and more flexible than other types of rods, especially when using them for traditional trout fly fishing. The reels are also different in that they have no bale and don’t fully lock like a spin cast real. Many accessories also come into play while fly fishing like strike indicators, line dressings, split shots, tippets, and leaders.
How Does Fly Fishing Work?
In the simplest terms, fly fishing works by casting a fly out in a manner that replicates the natural activity of a bug. This can include anything from mimicking the rise of a mayfly larva from the bottom of a stream through the plop of a frog off a lily pad.
Where Can You Fly Fishing Gear?
Many retailers are dedicated to fly fishing gear like Orvis and FlyShop.com. In recent years, however, Amazon.com has emerged as a top choice for fly fishing gear as well.
How We Reviewed
For our review of the best fly fishing gear, we compared the prices, features, and overall value of 10 different products. We considered not only the individual merits of each product but also how they stack up against comparable products in the same class. We also chose one standout product with the best combination of price, features, and value.
Overall Price Range of These Products (and Similar Products)
Pricing on fly fishing gear can vary widely. There is a whole class of high-end custom fly fishing gear that can range into the thousands of dollars while some beginner kits are available for under $100. The products in this article range from $20 and $30 up through a few hundred dollars.
What We Reviewed
Fly Tying Tool Kit
This fly tying tool kit from Loon Outdoor products provides everything needed to tie flies at home. The kit including Gator-grip, Ergo Whip Finisher, Ergo Dubbing Brush, Ergo Bodkin, Ergo Bobbin, Ergo Arrow Point Scissors, and Ergo All-Purpose Scissors. This is a nice selection of tools and would be a worthwhile piece of fly fishing gear for the experienced tier or someone hoping to start their fly tying journey.
Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Duffel
The Thunderhead backpack from Fishpond is one cool piece of fly fishing gear. This backpack if fully submersible, making it the perfect choice for those fishing in adverse weather or making deep wades with precious gear in tow. It’s constructed from 1680D TPU coated recycled nylon and features waterproof TIZIP zippers, so everything inside will stay dry in the wettest conditions.
Magreel Waterproof Fly Fishing Box
- Waterproof: This fly fishing box well-sealed with rubber gaskets offering effectively waterproof performance to keep...
- Premium Material: Made of sturdy and solid AS. Light weight makes it float when it drops into the water. Tough body...
- Double Clear Lid Design: With clear lids on both sides you can see what flies are in your box without the need to open...
A good solid fly box is an absolute must when picking out fly fishing gear. The Magreel Waterproof Fly Fishing Box gives just enough room for a weekend’s worth of flies without taking too much space on a fishing vest or in a pack. It’s got a see-through plexiglass top and watertight seal. At only nine ounces, it’s also super light.
SoftScience The Terrafin Men’s Wading Boots
- SoftScience shoes come in whole sizes only, so if you normally wear a 9.5, choose your SoftScience shoe in a size 10....
- Lightweight, superbly cushioned and stable
- Neoprene and mesh upper
Wading equipment can also be essential fly fishing gear. The Terrafin wading boots from SoftScience represent a new breed of wading boots that have hit the market in the last decade. These boots look more like a light hiking boot than a traditional wading boot. They have a sticky rubber boot as opposed to felt, which will make them comfortable while hiking into the fishing hole and also keep out dangerous invasive species. The woven nylon top also dries super fast.
Redington i.D Fly Fishing Reel
- Lightest reel in its class
- Unmachinable, unique die-cast construction, Super-lightweight design with quick-change spool, Easily converts to left or...
- Twin molded, soft-touch ergonomic handles, Spring loaded, clicker drag system
Redington’s i.D reel is perfect for the angler who wants truly express themselves with their fly fishing gear. This is a traditional fly reel with the addition of a customizable faceplate. The plate has space for swappable decals that can include anything from your favorite camo pattern to an NFL team logo. It is coupled with top-notch components to make for a fun and unique product that would be great as a gift.
Buff Aqua Gloves
- Quick-drying and breathable with bonded stretch hem that eliminates chafing
- Three-quarter-finger length for freedom of movement
- All-over silicone palm for excellent grip
Gloves can be an under-appreciated piece of fly fishing gear. Not only can they provide excellent sun protection, but they can also help protect your hands from hooks, scrapes, nicks, and dings. Buff’s aqua gloves provide good protection as well as added dexterity with a Palegic rubber palm and fingers. They also have an extra layer of fabric between the thumb and pointer finger for better grip while tying flies.
Fenwicks AETOS Fly Rods
- Fast-action blank for ideal performance and recovery
- Artfully crafted with a lightweight feel
- 4-section deep blue fly fishing rod with carbon flake accents
The right rod is essential fly fishing gear. Fenwick’s Aetos line of fly rods offer a premium quality product in a variety of lengths and weights without the cost of high-end rods. These are four-piece fly rods for easy travel with a light and fast action for added fun while playing fish out. The handle is crafted with AAA grade cork and Fenwicks includes a cloth-covered tube and carry case with all their rods.
DrinkTanks Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Beer Growler
- The perfect mini keg for the craft beer lover. Keeps your cold beverages cold for 24+ hours and warm beverages warm for...
- Made from high quality 18/8 stainless steel and has double wall vacuum insulation
- Durable, vacuum tight lid prevents any leaks and keeps beer ice cold and carbonated wherever you go, holding up to 60...
For some fly fishers, a nice cold beer and a fly rod go hand in hand. If that’s your style, then the DrinkTanks insulated growler might be a perfect choice to add to your fly fishing gear. This is a stainless steel growler that will 60 ounces of your favorite beverage and keep them icy cold or steaming hot for hours. This could work just a well for a hot pot of coffee on those days chasing trout.
Orvis Men’s Ultralight Wading Boot
No list of top fly fishing gear would be complete without an entry from Orvis. These ultralight wading boots offer premium features that will keep you comfortable for many seasons to come. As part of Orvis’ Ultralight Wading System, these boots will shave off critical ounces that can add up to significant fatigue over the course of a day. Unlike some other boots in this class, however, these boots also offer superb balance and support while crossing the rivers and streams.
Men’s River Run Hoodie
Regardless of the activity, good quality base layers are essential in the outdoors. That’s why the River Run hoodies from Voormi is a key entry on our list of the top fly fishing gear. This is a technical hoodie with a blend of merino wool and synthetic materials. It will keep you warm in the cool temperatures but also breath with your body when you heat up. It’s a USA-made product with a blend of Rocky Mountain HIghcountry brand merino wool. Thumb loops will also keep your hands warm.
Fly fishing gear comes in so many different classifications and styles that it can be hard to pick one overall standout from the pack. In this group, however, we found a clear choice with the SoftScience Terrafin Ultralight wading boots. The thing that sets these boots apart from the other fly fishing gear on this list is the combination of price, quality and features.
These are high-quality boots with some advanced technology that are in a price range available to just about any angler. Our favorite feature of these boots is the soft and felt-free sole. They will not only be comfortable out on the stream all day but also give you good solid comfort for short treks into your favorite hole. You wouldn’t want to hike all day in these, but for most anglers, they are truly a versatile choice.
Another feature we love about these boots are the fast drying time and looks. Since they look so similar to a normal boot and dry so fast, you might even get away with wearing them into the local watering hole to celebrate your big catch on the way home from the river. Overall, if you’re looking for a great piece of fly fishing gear at a great price, we highly suggest these boots.
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