Fly Fishing can certainly be a sport (or art) that requires a fair bit of decent equipment. As a New Zealand fly fishing guide I get to use and test many bits of kit, some of which cuts the mustard and some that doesn’t. Over time you refine what you use, when you use it and where you use it. I can tell you if it lasts a season with me and comes out unscathed it’s a bloody good bit of kit!
When you do a hundred plus days guiding fly fishers in New Zealand, a great deal of time is spent walking over bouldery terrain, fighting with horrendously spiky native plants, dealing with amazing extremes of weather and climate all the while trying to find fish for your client to hook into, not to mention the time spent in quite precarious positions with your hands and knees bearing the brunt of the load – torn knees and ripped hands can be the norm. Guiding fly fishing in the back country of NZ is not for pussies!
A few bits of clothing that work very well for me and have been well tested are Salomon hiking boots, Cactus climbing pants and hiking packs, Ice breaker thermals, Stony Creek hunting jacket, Black Diamond hiking pole, William Joseph Exodus vest/pack system, Black Wolf Bivvy Tents.
The reason for this is as follows:
Salomon Hiking Boots – Very comfortable, super light and don’t need to broken in. Can cover any ground day in day out no problem and great used in conjunction with hiking pole. Beat any wading boots I have tried so far.
Black Diamond Hiking Poles – lighter than a wading stick (tip – take off the basket and take one only), great telescoping system, awesome for getting up or down banks and wading across rivers full of slippery stones, you can lend it to a client (friend) for the same, makes for a great pointing device (see the fish), handing out beatings when it all goes pear shaped (just kidding) and as a excellent splint should the proverbial hit the fan.
Cactus Climbing Pants - semi water proof, prickle proof for forays into that nasty Matagouri or Gorse patch, very hard wearing, easy cleaning and bloody comfortable.
Ice Breaker Thermals – very comfortable, doesn’t get really smelly for over a week, super warm (I go for the 260 grain) hard wearing especially if you use in conjunction with Cactus pants and feels great against the skin.
Stony Creek Hunting Jacket – really water proof, doesn’t rustle (great for sneaking up on 10lbs+ trout), camouflaged so even if they do hear you they wont see you, heaps of good pockets, very hard wearing and fits like a glove.
Cactus hiking packs - well thought out packs for multi day missions, hard wearing, super comfy, makes light work of big trips in tough NZ terrain.
William Joesph Exodus pack – great one day mission vest pack system, well thought out design, hard wearing, can remove vest from pack easily and use pack or vest separately, hydration pocket, blends in well with other a fore mentioned garments and is generally something that I hate going without.
Black Wolf Bivvy Tents – spacious for a bivvy, keeps bag off you and minimizes condensation, light weight, very water proof, easy to set up (even I can do it with out referring to the destructions).
Everybody who spends serious time in the outdoors has their way of doing it but that is some of the kit I really couldn’t do with out. If you are looking back at your season of fishing and thinking what could I do to have more enjoyment in my pursuit of big elusive NZ trout in hard core terrain, have a really good look at this stuff. Sometimes a pair of stubbies worn over some polyprops and a really old shower proof (if you are lucky) jacket, a pair of boots that really have seen better days while a carrying a serious load in an f*#king poorly fitted pack really does not make life much fun.
TTWWADI – That’s the way we’ve always done it. Bollocks – there are countless ways to improve your fishing experiences . By no means just gearing up in certain areas is the be all and end all but it is worth consideration.