Saturday, 22 March 2008

The New Fly-Fisherman - First Things First

So, my friend is getting back to fly-fishing. He has not done much fishing of any kind since he was kid in the UK as far as I know.

He has not asked me for my advice but you can bet that I have been thinking about it. The question I ask my self is this. “Knowing what I know now, if I was to go back and start again with the same budget what would I buy?”

A more important question might be, “What would I not buy?”

Face it; if most of us, we grizzled old veterans of the stream, were to total up the value of our fishing gear it would horrify our significant others. What is it that Koos Brandt said,” My biggest fear is that when I die, my wife will sell my fishing gear for what I said I paid for it”?

For me now, it all starts with being warm and dry. A typical trouting trip here in the East begins in the pre-dawn darkness and ends with a long walk back to the truck as the sun sets or more often, stumbling through the dark of early evening. Therefore, the very first thing a beginner might want to do before even considering rod, reel and flies is inventory their outdoors wear.

From the pre-dawn to twilight, the day might go through a twenty-degree variance. As often as not, it will go from snow to rain to bright sunshine on any given day in April so buy what you need to be able to dress in layers topped with a wind-breaker or rain jacket.

You should do everything necessary to keep your feet dry and in good condition. If money is no object a pair of stocking foot, breathable waders with a nice, rugged pair of felt soled wading shoes is the nearly perfect choice for almost all Nova Scotian fishing.

In the real world though, get the best you can afford whether it is the traditional Wellingtons, boot foot hip-waders or chest waders. Go for comfort first. That means good ankle support and water resistance. Wet feet will turn a dream trip into an endurance contest.

My progression was from those black rubber boots with the red soles to a pair of inexpensive hip boots, to a pair of good, rugged Helly Hansen chest waders. I stuck with those for years until I finally invested in the breathable waders with separate boots.

In my opinion, these new waders represent as big a technological leap forward as any other aspect of modern fly-fishing including rods made with space-tech materials or the new fly-line formulations.

Here is the thinking. When you are cold and miserable your fishing is lack luster and unfocused. Fish may be rising at your feet but all you want to do is get the heck out of there. When you are dry and comfortable, your ability to focus on your quarry is unimpaired. You can enjoy the beauty of your surroundings. Most of all, you can experience the challenge of wild trout at their wily best without the distraction of that pesky hypothermia.

With all of that out of the way, its time to look at gearing up - next time, The Bare Essentials for the New Fly Fisherman.

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Anonymous Brad "Fishhawk" said...

Thinking of the reasons for buying cheaper gear when starting out is one does not really know how much fly-fishing one will do. Those in our circle are top level and highly addicted fishermen who wear out a pair of $99.00 waders in a year or less. So it makes sense for us to buy and recommend the top level gear/equipment. I too would have bought only the very best 12 years ago if I knew how much fishing that I have done since then (and four sets of progressively better waders).....but I would have bought my stocks and investments differently as well. The best deals for flyfishing equipment come from the fella's that buy the best....use only once and then unload for a quarter of what they paid for it.....if anyone knows any of these guys give me a call...or better yet give me there wives number and I might pick it up for 10 cents on the dollar.

Only 9 more days!

23 March 2008 at 21:04  
Blogger Steve Dobson said...

You crack me up Mr. Fishhawk;

I guess it's not how old you are that counts. It's how many patches there are on your waders!


23 March 2008 at 21:14  
Blogger Steve Dobson said...

By the way Fishhawk,

That's a great picture of A, and a nice string of fish too.


23 March 2008 at 21:19  

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