A Brief Overview Of Fly Fishing Equipment

Fly fishing is a relaxing way to enjoy pitting your casting precision and line control against the struggles of the fish you're playing. It requires a level of skill and patience. The precision of your cast, position of your fly and strategy for playing the fish have a huge impact on your success. But, even as important as those things are, your success also depends upon the fly fishing equipment you use. Below, we'll describe the pieces of gear in which you'll need to invest to become a proficient and productive angler.


Fly rods come in a variety of weights and lengths. The type of rod you purchase should reflect the type of fly fishing you intend to do. For example, if you're going to chase tarpon in saltwater, you'll likely need a long, heavy rod. If your goal is fishing for trout in small streams or rivers, a shorter, lighter rod will be more effective. Most rods are constructed of a durable carbon fiber. They're usually lightweight and can absorb much of the force from a fish that's putting up a fight.


Most anglers use their reels to store their line. This is because fly fishing entails drawing and pulling the line with your hands (as opposed to reeling it in as anglers do in deep water fishing). Though more robust reels have been introduced for those pursuing larger fish, most fly fishing anglers prefer manual reels that allow their hands to do most of the work.


Fly fishermen choose from thousands of different flies to lure fish to take the hook. Some anglers even make their own. Most flies are made using a combination of feathers, fibers and threads (either artificial or authentic) to give fish the impression that the fly is something they normally feed upon. Though some anglers claim that certain flies are best-used for attracting certain types of fish, most flies are effective for luring multiple species.

Fly Lines

Fly lines are made in various ways according to their objectives. Some lines are designed to float (such as in dry fly trout fishing). Other lines are designed to sink, helping nymphing anglers drive their flies below the water's surface. Most lines are made of a nylon monofilament. Often, they're wrapped inside a polyvinyl chloride casing to provide more durability and strength.

The fly lines used by veteran anglers are designed for rods of particular weights. For example, a 9wt rod is best-suited for a 9wt line. Matching different weight lines and rods will usually yield less-than-optimal results.

Leaders & Tippets

When an angler casts his line, 2 things occur that can dissuade a trout from taking the fly. First, the landing of the fly line creates a disruption on the water's surface. Second, the fly line is easy to see. That's why anglers use leaders and tippets. The leader attaches to the fly line and is all but invisible. The part that connects the leader to the fly is called a tippet. It tapers thin at the point it connects. Not only with the leader and tippet be less-visible to the trout, but it aids in helping the line land softly after the cast.

Investing In Good Equipment

Good fly fishing equipment will likely cost a few hundred dollars. Fortunately, most of the gear you'll purchase will be a one-time investment. Aside from accidents, your rod and reel (arguably, the most expensive pieces of gear) should last for years. Other items such as flies, lines and leaders have a limited life, but are usually inexpensive to replace. Mastering the skills and techniques to become an accomplished angler requires good equipment. If you're planning to enjoy fly fishing for many years, it's a worthwhile investment.