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TIPS

Top 10 tips for a successful fly fishing trip

fly fishing luggage

Let's face it; a fly fishing trip can be a whirl of action with plenty of opportunities to forget fishing gear, the guide's phone number, and directions. The action can be cut short by malfunctioning equipment, malfunctioning body organs, and malfunctioning weathermen.
We have assembled a collection of the top 10 travel tips to help you focus on the fish during your fly fishing vacation.


Visualize Yourself on the River

On any outdoor expedition, the last thing to do before getting in the car is visualize yourself in the field. The most important step is to start with this basic question: what must you have to catch a fish? You need a rod, a reel, fly line, a leader, and flys. If you forget anything else, you can still catch fish with this equipment. This should be standard procedure every time you plan to leave the house, the hotel, and the car. It can be applied to any adventure. If you are about to hunt dove, what do you need to bring a bird down? You'll need a gun and some shells. Even if you forget hunting boots and show up in loafers, you can still hunt with these two essentials.
For all of the non-essential items, it's best to keep them in a single plastic "fishing box".
fishing box Tape a list of everything the box should contain to the bottom of the lid. This box will also get you out of the driveway faster on those spur of the moment fishing trips.

Get Organized While Travelling

One thing I've been guilty of in the past is keeping my expensive reel padded in the middle of my suitcase. Although my backup fly reel is always in my vest, it sure doesn't have the balance of my favorite reel sitting on the bed back at the lodge.
Keep one seperate bag for everything fishing related. This is the bag that you'll take to the stream. Keep a trash bag in your fishing bag to store your wet waders in the car and on the plane trip home. My favorite trick for this bag is the "wader tether". On your fishing bag, tie a thin two foot rope to the handle. When you head to the river from the lodge, tie your waders to this tether. If you are walking to the car and this tether is dragging the ground, you'll remember to bring those waders that are hanging on the porch!

Plan Ahead

That's what this site's all about! The Internet opens up many possibilities to hep you get ready for your fly fishing trip and turn that typical "orientation day" into an extra fishing day. Fishing Guides and fly shops are fighting for the opportunity to show you around. Use email to ask questions ahead of time. Don't forget the personal fly fishing sites. Fly fishers that build sites do it because they love to share information about the sport they are so passionate about.
Before you leave, you should have a folder containing:
  • Maps: Use sites like MapsOnUs to print out several levels of detail about the areas you'll visit. Don't forget to plug in the addresses of fly shops, outfitters, and restaraunts so that you'll have driving directions. Another wise choice would be to print out directions to the local hospitals. You never know...
  • Phone Numbers: Keep a spreadsheet of all the phone numbers you come across.
  • Flight Iteneraries: Don't forget to print out a copy for the wife/husband/kids at home.
  • River Descriptions: Many local sites have detailed descriptions of individual rivers. If you are forced to change plans in the middle of your trip, these notes can point you in the right direction. I've had to shorten a trip due to business meetings be cancelled or delayed. It's nice to have information about that nearby river to salvage a trip.
  • Equipment Checklist: Use this checklist to make sure you don't forget anything. Leave space to update the list during the trip.
  • Blank Paper : Keep a journal of your trip. I love to find these journals years after the trip to reminisce and possibly plan a return.

  • Have a Backup

    Even the best fly fishing gear breaks down occasionally. Not everyone has the budget to have a quality backup for every essential piece of equipment. However, a trip to Wal-Mart can give you a complete and affordable backup set for under $50. It's a lot cheaper than wasting a day of fishing.

    Be Self Reliant

    Driving on errands can really take time out of a fishing trip. It's best to show up with durable sources of food and water. Before you leave home, pick up a couple pounds of bulk trail mix. Divide it into baggies for each day on the river. Hit a local store on you way to the river and buy enough water to last for the entire trip. This will help avoid multiple trips to convenience stores.

    Stay Healthy

    Hospitals in mountainous areas are really good at taking care of dehydrated patients. They tell me this everytime I'm there. Buy a gallon of water for each day you plan to fish. Make it a goal to finish a jug every day.
    I have become keenly aware of what counts for water and what doesn't. BEER IS A DIURETIC. This means that it takes more water to wash out the alchohol than you gain by drinking the beer. Soft drinks, coffee and tea are also diruetics. They will not keep you hydrated.
    If you never pay attention to hydration during an extended stay at high elevations, and have never been dehydrated, you have been lucky so far. It will happen eventually.
    The only thing fun about a hospital trip for dehydration is the morphine administered to make you stop moaning.

    Keep the Fish Healthy

    Give your waders a good washing with water from a faucet if you like to drive from river to river. This is one way foreign bacteria and plants make their way into rivers and lakes.

    Toughen Up!

    Wind and rain are the norm at high elevations. Hanging out at the lodge is never as memorable as hanging a great fish in absolutely horrible conditions. Make sure your raingear is up to anything nature throws at you. Remember, it's just water.

    Don't Piddle

    The old saying goes "You can't catch fish if your line isn't in the water". If you are on that "once in a lifetime" fishing trip, don't spend twenty minutes trying to untangle your leader. Cut it, replace it, and start fishing again. Don't spend time trying to repair equipment on the water. Use your backup and fix that reel over a scotch back at the lodge.

    Keep the Right Attitude

    If you have taken care of the first nine tips, this one should be easy. All the work should be done and you should have little to do but fish and take in the surrounding country-side.
    If you are traveling with non-fishers, drop hints ahead of time about how it would be best to let you get the fishing out of your system the first few days. I'm always uptight on a fishing vacation until I'm sure that I'm not going to spend the first 5 days bird watching and the last day fishing.

    TIPS
    Maintaining your gear
    Three not so new tips
    GEAR
    The Filson Strap Vest
    A cool vest for hot summers