This column is really for those who are new to fly fishing, been doing it fewer than two years, or like me, can’t remember what you had for dinner last night. It’s about what to do to get ready for the upcoming spring, summer and fall of fly fishing. Items you should address to help make sure you are happy at the end of the season.
I think the first item to look at are your waders. You need to check them for leaks. Remember, if they leaked at the end of last season, they will leak at the beginning of the new season. The easiest way to check them for leaks is to turn them inside out and fill them with water. If there is a leak, it will be obvious. The reason to turn them inside out is so you don’t have to worry about drying the inside of them before putting them on. If you’re not going to fill them with water to look for leaks, at least check them for holes mice may have caused as they ate through them looking for a new place to build a nest. I had a pair of waders that I didn’t check for mice holes that became very apparent when I put them on at stream-side for a day of fly fishing.
After you have checked your waders, move down to your wading boots. I suggest you see if the studs (I just replaced mine), laces and the soles are in good condition. Laces can break as you tighten them. Soles can separate from the boot if they have rotted or are very old. I know for a fact that trying to duct tape soles back on won’t work.
Fly line is one of the most overlooked pieces of fly fishing equipment. If your floating line is sinking or won’t straighten out, no matter how powerful you make your fore-cast, it’s time for a new one. Over the years, the line manufacturers have made it more difficult to choose the line that will work best for you. They now offer so many options of line that degrees in math and English are needed to pick the correct one. My suggestion is to ask for ideas at your favorite fly shop, and don’t let price be the sole determining factor for your selection. A good line will last several seasons and help you make picture perfect presentations.
Once you’ve taken care of your line, don’t forget leaders and tippets. Age, sunlight and adverse conditions can make your leaders and tippets very brittle. I can’t think of anything more frustrating than losing fish to leaders and tippets that break as you’re battling a good size fish. Similar to fly lines, there are many different manufacturers of leader and tippet. Believe it or not, there are differences in these products. Find one you like and stick with it. Also, about midsummer, check your leaders and tippets to see how they’re holding up.
Flies can be summed up very easily. Just go buy – or tie – some new ones. You can never have too many flies.
Last but not least, after you’ve checked the above items and decided that you need to replace some or all of the items mentioned, first check out your local fly shop. The owners of these shops have invested lots of time, money and expertise to meet your needs. Before you go online, go in their doors. You’ll be glad you did.
Reach Don Oliver at [email protected]