When you’re on your way to what might be a fly-fishing trip of a lifetime, you want to pack efficiently, but you also must make sure that you have everything you’ll need when you arrive at your destination. That means using the right luggage and carefully choosing your gear and clothing. Here are some tips to help you pack for your next adventure, whether you’re traveling to the Rockies or the tropics.
Choosing the Right Bags
A bag that’s big enough for both your clothing and gear is essential, and it’s best to have a duffel–such as the Safe Passage Drop Bottom Rolling Duffel–that will keep damp fishing gear separate from everything else. Your waders, wading boots and other fishing equipment can go in the bottom compartment, while your clothes stay dry in the large top compartment. A bag on wheels is also a big help because all that gear is heavy.
The ability to carry rods and reels on the plane can be a life-saver if your checked luggage somehow gets lost or delayed. Plus, you’ll know that the most expensive equipment is safe if it’s with you at all times in the overhead compartment of the plane. A bag designed specifically for this purpose–such as the Safe Passage Carry It All–is just the right size to be your one carry-on.
Heading to the Mountains
Mountain weather can change from a morning near freezing, to a sunny, warm afternoon. No matter which season you plan to visit the Rockies, pack a variety of layers, and dress in multiple layers each day. Depending on the length of your trip, you’ll want to bring duplicates or more of each piece of clothing. Here are some essentials:
Versatile Base Layer – Long-sleeved or short-sleeved, your base layer should have moisture-wicking/quick-drying properties to keep you dry all day. If you’re traveling in colder seasons, you will want an insulating base layer that wicks moisture.
Mid-layer – Depending on the season, your mid-layer can range from a a lighter weight technical shirt to a Pro Half-Zip Fleece for Men and Women. You can then top that with another layer to protect the core, such as the Pro Insulated Vest for Men and Women. Like your base layer, a mid-layer should have moisture-wicking properties to keep your dry and comfortable.
Down or Synthetic Jacket – A midweight down sweater, synthetic insulated jacket, or lightweight down jacket is a must for any trip to the mountains. They pack down small and stay out of the way until you need them. Perfect for chilly nights and mornings, they can be a lifesaver when a cold front blows through. And they always make a good pillow for camping trips or car naps. If your evenings include relaxing around a campfire, be aware that stray sparks may damage synthetics fabric. A lined flannel, denim or wool shirt is a good option.
Merino Wool Socks – Even with the most breathable waders, the changing temperatures of walking warm earth and wading in cold water can dampen your feet during a day of fishing. A pair of midweight or heavyweight insulating wool/nylon blended socks will pull moisture away from your skin, and with merino’s natural antimicrobial properties, will prevent your neoprene booties from getting stinky.
Rain Jacket – A sudden summer rain shower can stir up food in the water or lead to a prolific hatch. Don’t get caught soaking wet when the bite is on. A rain shell jacket provides protection from rain and wind, keeping you comfortable so you can focus on the the fishing. Matthew Long, outfitter for Long Outfitting in Livingston, MT, adds, “It doesn’t have to be a $400 coat, but make sure it is functional whether it is 30 degrees outside, or 85 degrees. When clients get wet during the day, it can be difficult for them to make a full day out in it.”
4- to 6-Weight Rod – These are the workhorses of just about any trip for trout. Whether you’re floating the Snake, wading the Delaware, or tossing flies from the banks of the high country lakes in Colorado, a 4- to 6-weight fly rod is probably the best tool for the job.
Mid- or Large-Arbor Fly Reel – You’ll want to bring spools of both floating and sinking lines to fish all parts of the water column.
Waders and Boots – Bring the fly-fishing waders you’re most comfortable in. Just make sure they’re leak-free and patched up before you arrive. As for wading boots, remember that metal studs and drift boats don’t mix, so you’ll need to remove your studs or bring another pair of wading boots if you plan to spend any time floating.
Neoprene Wading Socks – Few things are better in life than wet wading a cool river on a warm day. Hunker suggests, “Always bring a pair of neoprene wading socks. Wading wet is often way more comfortable than waders, especially in smaller streams and on warm days. Many of our people who haven’t done it are amazed at how comfortable they are.” Neoprene wading socks will allow you to wear your wading boots comfortably without waders, so you don’t have to sacrifice grip or protection.
Vest or Pack of Choice – Sling pack, hip pack, chest pack or vest, whichever you choose make sure they’re stocked with your favorite fly-fishing tools, leaders and tippet (3x to 6x).
Stocked Fly Boxes – A variety of nymphs and streamers, plus BWO’s, PMD’s, caddis, and attractor patterns are a must in every box. Talk to your guide or visit a local fly shop for specifics regarding each river.
Written By: Phil Monahan http://www.news.orvis.com