Fly Fishing Equipment For Beginners. What Is Needed?

I have been fly fishing for several years and over time I have learned that there all kinds of gadgets. Some of these things can make fly fishing more fun and enjoyable. Here is a list of some of them, I wish there would have been a list when I started.

Fly fishing equipment for beginners. What is needed? Below is a list:

  • A Fly Rod:
  • A Fly Reel:
  • Some Fly Line and Backing:
  • Flies:
  • Leader and Tippet:
  • Wading Gear:
  • Accessories:
  • Hats:
  • Sun Glasses:
  • Extras:
  • Landing Net:
  • Fly Boxes:
  • Vests:

Before you make a commitment to purchase a lot of fishing equipment. You should take some time to make sure that you might enjoy it.

If you are certain that you are going to enjoy fly fishing, then you should purchase some of the equipment. Beginners could check out estate sales and garage sales along with Craig’s list for fly fishing equipment.

Knowing what you are looking for is very important so you avoid ending up with equipment that you don’t need. If you intend to try dry fly fishing, a beginner should go for dry flies.

But in the case of wet fishing, you should make sure that you get some wet flies. However, most beginners should try wet fly fishing as it is easier to do than dry fly fishing.

All said and done, get a license for fishing so that you are able to fish. This will help you avoid any problems with the fish and game departments of your State or Province.

Fly rod:

A fly rod is quite an essential equipment for fly fishing beginners. There are various models, and sizes as well as brands that you may choose from.

These usually range in price significantly you should invest in the perfect kind of rod for you. Also, beginners should note that mid-action rods are usually easier to cast.

A good rod, to begin with, is one that is nine feet long and in the five to six weight. Usually, the lighter weight rod is utilized for fishing for smaller fish or fishing in small streams.

While with a rod of lower weight one can make a trout measuring six inches feel like twenty inches. If you start with a rod weight ranging between four and five and a length of nine feet.

Then it can be utilized to fish for anything from the tiny panfish, trout as well as bass. It can be called an all-around weight that will definitely accomplish everything that you want it to.

I have made a quick summary for you to glance into quickly and yet grasp the key specifications for the right waters.

  • While fishing in small streams, use rods that are around a 3 weight and eight feet in length. These work well for casting small flies on lighter lines that tend to make tiny splashes as they land. This to avoid alerting the small brookies you are likely going to be chasing.
  • While fishing in large still waters on a boat, using a seven to eight weight fly rod of nine to ten feet is just perfect for the task.
  • For beginners who are interested in Czech nymphing, a fly rod of three to five weight and measuring between ten to eleven feet is the right equipment to use.
  • For larger rivers as well as small still waters, beginners should use a nine-foot fly rod of six weight.

Nowadays, one will most likely find two, three, four as well as five-piece rods. The more the number of sections or rather pieces of the rod, the smaller it will pack down to.

Therefore, if you happen to be a backpacker, you may be interested in these four or five-piece models.

In the past, having more sections could possibly impact the way that the rod cast.

However, with all the improvements that have been associated with the construction of fly rods.  The influence of the number of sections on the manner of rod casting there is nothing to worry about.

Pay attention to the rod action:

The action of the rod is a bit more ambiguous than the weight of the rod and the length. What is this action I am talking about?

The action is when a rod flexes when a load is applied. Usually, rods come in three action types that include slow, medium as well as fast.

The slow action rods usually bend in the bottom third of the rod very close to the reel. Slow action rods could also be termed as ‘whippy’ and may be difficult to cast long distances.

Medium action rods usually bend near the middle section of the rod.

Fast action rods may be considered stiff and bend in the last third of the rod. They tend to provide more power while casting and therefore there will more distance coverage.

The one drawback about the fast action rods is that they tend to be more susceptible to breaking. Especially at the area close to the tip if not used in the correct manner when landing fish.


If I had to pick one out of all these different actions. The Mid-Flex rods are a happy medium between the three actions noted above.

It offers excellent performance with a combination of butt strength and medium flex for less casting effort (Look at 5& 6 Weight Fly Rods).

These rods offer good performance over a wide range of casting conditions and styles. The Mid-Flex rod is one that I use when I need to combine all these varieties of flex into one fly rod.

However, one should try casting the rod prior to making a final decision of buying it. Make sure that you get to take it for a test drive this will determine what action suits your casting style best.

Fly Reel:

A fly reel is one piece of fishing equipment that a beginner really needs to have.

You can find fly reels going at a price ranging between $20 and $1000. For those interested in fishing in freshwater, a fly reel will not be of much importance and primarily utilized as a holder for the fly line.

In case, you are planning to fish for larger species, then a good fly reel becomes very essential.

If you intend to catch salmon, your reel will have to have enough capacity to hold sufficient backing and the line.

One of the main things you want to make sure is that the reel matches the weight of the rod that you purchase.

This will definitely make sure that there is enough room left for the backing and the fly line itself.

What should you consider before buying a reel?


The drag system happens to be one of the most important things that one should pay attention to in a reel.

A beginner is advised to look for a reel that has a Teflon or rather a cork drag system.

The drag allows you to keep the pressure on the fish constant and hence prevent it from accidentally breaking your leader. Notably, managing drag systems is fairly simple.

The spool is usually compressed on either the cork or Teflon as one tightens the drag thus increasing friction or pressure.

On the other hand, some reels lack the drag system. Therefore, the fisherman has to apply pressure using the hand so as to control the drag.

Construction material:

Reels are made from materials ranging from graphite to titanium although the majority are made from aluminum.

Some expensive reels are machined from bar stock while others that are less expensive are pressed.

Internal components include sealed ball bearings, stainless steel gears as well as other parts. 

A less expensive one might be better for a beginner.

Size of the Arbor:

The arbor refers to the inner cylinder that the backing and line are usually wrapped around.

The advantages of arbors with large circumferences have been the highlight of discussions.

Some of the advantages include quicker line retrieval, less line memory as well as better control of hooked fish.

However, a larger arbor is not necessarily a requirement but one ought to look for the largest diameter arbor that is within your price range.

Saltwater proof condition:

If a beginner happens to be interested in fishing in saltwater, they ought to look for a reel that is sealed from the saltwater.

This will increase the cost but it is worth the difference in cost. Remember that a more expensive reel does not necessarily mean that its good for saltwater.

Fly Line And Backing:

The backing is used before tying the line to the reel this helps during times when a huge fish strikes.

Usually, fly lines tend to be about eighty to ninety feet long. Once this line happens to run out from a fish stripping it all out, without backing it is gone.

The backing plays a good role in adding the extra line so you don’t lose the fish. Also, the backing is a layer to go below the fly line.

The slick coating of the fly line hinders the latter from wrapping around the hard spool easily without spinning and the backing resolves this problem.

A fly line is an awesome compliment to the fly reel. There happen to be various types of lines from floating, sink-tip as well as sinking lines.

Beginners are advised to start with a floating line as it tends to be easier to cast and also see.

Experts recommend that a beginner fly fisher starts with a fly line commonly referred to as a weight forward line.

This is because it tends to be the simplest to learn to cast. This is because the bulk of the line weight is connected to the front section of the line.

One other different type of line is the Double Taper is another important type of line recommended for beginners. One may use it as a starting line without even noticing a significant difference from using the forward line.

However, comparing the two, some say that the double taper is more specialized in what they are meant to be used for.

Usually, the weight of the line corresponds with the weight of the rod as well as the reel. So, if you happen to buy a fly rod of five weight, then you need a five weight fly line. Experts claim that lines by Scientific Angler and Rio are of high quality and may be useful for fly fishing beginners.


A good collection of base fly patterns is a requirement for one to get started fly fishing.

One can purchase packages that ought to include a range of nymphs, streamers as well as dry flies so as to get started.

If the species to be caught includes trout, one might consider taking a small assortment of nymphs, dries as well as streamers in order to cover the main bases.

A beginner may consider purchasing fly tying equipment and also learn how to tie their own in time. It may take some time to learn and master the art. But it is a skill that is worth working hard for.

Leader and Tippet:

A leader refers to a segment that connects from the end of a fly line to the fly.

The necessity of the two parts is to allow you to cast and have your line straightened out. This is by transferring the energy via the fly line as well as down to the fly.

Notably, the leader and tippet are tapered so as to allow the process to take place properly.

If you have fished using traditional methods previously, you are probably familiar with a pound test rating of line.

It also applies to the leader as well as the tippet. To begin fly fishing in good style, you can make up your own or buy them premade.

Buying tapered premade leaders that are ready to fish right out of the package is the way most people like to go.

These will join the leader to the tippet with the proper taper for the fly fisher’s casts to straighten out.

In case you want to start to fish for trout species, experts recommend that you use a tapered leader.

The length should range between seven and a half and nine feet that end in a five X tippet. Look for these items from stores such as the Rio Poweflex Trout Leader-3 pack.

Wading gear:

First and foremost, one does not necessarily have to have waders in order to catch some fish.

However, if you decide to purchase some waders, then you will definitely benefit from the tips stated below. Waders are essential to have because there are times one needs to have room to backcast when fly fishing.

Therefore sometimes standing and fishing on the bank is not an option.

There comes a time when the necessity to get into the water arises. With all of this in mind, you would want to own a waterproof wader as a beginner.

This is so that you may be able to fish with minimal restrictions and limits.

Waders come in different forms including the breathable, neoprene as well as rubber waders.  Each of them has there own advantages as well as disadvantages.

Breathable Waders: are a piece of equipment ideal for fishing in.

Under the breathable waders, one is advised to add more layers under them to keep warm. 

Check the temperature of the water so you know what you should wear under your waders, as well as boots.

Layering up with breathable waders ensures that one is able to fish throughout the summer as well as the winter season.

Remember to layer up for protection from the extreme weather conditions.

Neoprene Waders: are known to be strong and insulated to keep a fly fisher warm even in the cold water.

They are able to keep one warm due to the thick layer of neoprene that is used to make them.

In addition, neoprene has the ability to float due to the air bubbles trapped in between the material and thus enables the waders to float in water.

Wading Boots: Come with felt soles or with rubber boot soles to enable a fly fisher to stand on rocks without slipping.

Fly fishers are advised to purchase wading boots that are one size larger than the standard size of shoes they wear.

This is because most waders have neoprene socks that are large and often require the room in their boots.


The list of accessories that tend to be in fly fishing may be overwhelming at times.

There exist various gadgets as well as tools for all kinds of species although beginners don’t use them that much.

Some of the essentials include clippers, nippers, forceps (that include clamp or hemostat), fly floatant as well as a net. This equipment makes things easier during the first days of fly fishing.


A hemostat is a tool that is often used to remove flies from hooked fish. Also, hemostats can be used for crimping down the barbs on a fly.

They are also good for holding onto tiny flies when one needs to tie them onto their tippet.

Line nippers:

Line nippers, on the other hand, are an important fly fishing accessory for a beginner to have.

Especially if they want to make smooth clean cuts in their leaders or tippet. The majority of line nippers are made with machined aluminum.

Sometimes with stainless steel jaws that are able to cut via fluorocarbon as well as monofilament. A beginner may want to acquire a pair that comes with a built-in needle for clearing obstructed hook eyes.

Often, some anglers ensure that they include a pair of nippers in with their fly tying equipment too. While tying, the built-in needle may be utilized to clear head cement or excess fly material from the hook eyes.

Retractors are essential equipment in fly fishing and are used to hold on to your clippers as well as the hemostat.

Lanyards are also known as vests are used to carry a fly fishers’ items. A beginner is therefore advised to bring along with them a lanyard so that they may carry all their items they may require while fishing.


Caps, as well as hats, are essential to wear while fishing. This is because hats enable one to see their targets clearer and better.

In addition, the eyes of the fly fisherman are protected from the harmful sun rays by the caps.  Also, while it rains, hats keep the water off the head and the face region as well.


Sunglasses are a requirement for beginners as well as advanced anglers since defective casts pose a real danger to eyes.

Notably, polarized sunglasses enable one to spot fish with ease. Also, they prevent eyes from being fatigued after long sunny days on the water.

Polarized sunglasses stops the fly which whizzes back and forth from entering the eyes.

They tend to remove the surface glare from the water. This allows fly fishers to see the target as well as target the fish with fishing flies.

Lenses either come in polycarbonate or glass lenses that vary in prices. However, polycarbonate glasses are said to be lighter than glass lenses.

Different shades of lenses exist and each individual shade is meant for specific a purpose. Yellow lenses are perfect for light conditions that are present during late evening rises on rivers as well as still waters.

Blue mirror lenses are the perfect lens for blue water as well as saltwater fishing. At times where a fly fisher is interested in going for bonefishing, blue mirror lenses are the appropriate equipment to go with.

Copper color lenses are just the general type of lenses suitable for any condition. They are ideal for ‘all-around ‘ purposes while fishing in rivers as well as still waters.

Green mirror lenses tend to be designed with the saltwater flats in mind but equally at home on saltwater or freshwater.


During your first fishing outing, it is advisable that you take several things into account.

Like wearing a vest or a pack, waist waders, or simple rubber boots, taking extra rods with different actions.

The key thing is to feel safe as well as comfortable enough to enjoy your first fly fishing day. It doesn’t matter if it is on the lake or the river.

Landing Net:

Notably, silicone or rubberized landing net will usually come in handy at times. This is mainly when a fly fisher wants to safely catch and release their fish.

Therefore it is a good idea that a beginner in fly fishing acquires this equipment as it is very essential.

Rubberized nets are a good choice from a conservation standpoint. This is because they assist in keeping the slime coat on the fish intact.

Fly Box:

A beginner at fly fishing should ensure that they have a fly box so they have a place to store their flies.

Flies should be well taken care of as they may be very easy to lose as they tend to be tiny.

Also, it is essential that the fly fisher ensures that the fly box is secure to keep the flies in. This is because if you happen to drop some types of fly boxes they might come open.

Then the flies might spill everywhere and you may end up losing some of them.

You can check out some fly boxes on Amazon

These boxes come in various sizes. From small boxes that are able to fit in your vest to larger ones that can be used when fishing from a boat.

Smaller fly boxes are used for storing and drying smaller numbers of flies. While the larger fly boxes are used for storing hundreds of flies while on the boat fishing.


Vests are a good compliment to the fishing expedition. Experts recommend various types of vests where each has its own advantages. One of the recommended types of the vest is the Orvis clear water vest.

The Orvis Clear Water Vest is a classic fly fishing vest that holds all the items a fisher may be carrying throughout the day.

They have ample pockets as well as storage compartments to meet a fisher’s beginner needs. Orvis offers a “fully leaded” option that includes all the accessories one may require.

These items include leaders, forceps, floatant, snippers as well as tippets, and even a fully loaded box.

The Fishpond Arroyo Chest Pack color.

This vest is an alternative to the standard vest. This chest pack tends to have larger storage than one may realize.

Actually, the main advantage of the Arroyo Chest Pack is the versatility it comes along with. A fly fisher may wear it with a neck strap so that it sits tight to their chest.

Alternatively, one may use the padded lumber strap and carry it around their waist just like a fanny pack.

The Simms Freestone.

This kind of vest happens to be very versatile and it comes with nineteen pockets that can be used for storage of items.

Their layout allows a fly fisher to reach out for things from the pockets. Also, these vests sit a bit higher than other vests that may add to the comfort.

In Conclusion:

It is advisable that one takes the necessary safety precautions while fishing. While wading, a beginner at any type of fishing should never underestimate the power of moving water.

Also, when wearing waders it is important that one wears a snug belt. This will help to prevent them from getting filled up with water if an unexpected swim happens to take place.

Fly rods tend to be excellent conductors of electricity.

Coming in at eight or nine feet, fly rods happen to be prime targets for lightning strikes.

Therefore, when you get the first hint of lightning, you should wrap up the entire procedure. If the weather continues then call it a day and get out of the water.

On the other hand, it is best that a beginner uses barbless hooks for their flies.

This is because it saves the fish from the stress that would come along if a barbed hook was used.

Also, it could save the fly fisher from a trip to the emergency room.  So that they may have a barbed hook get extracted from their person.

Dean Jensen

I started fly fishing in 1972 and I have learned quite a bit about this wonderful sport called fly fishing and I want to share some of the things that I have learned.

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