Fly Fishing Starter Kit
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Fly fishing kit has seen tremendous strides in innovation to help the angler enjoy their sports. The diversity, quality and price of the tackle are astounding as you can get quality equipment at a real bargain-basement price.
In my opinion, the most crucial pieces of a fly fishing kit are rod and clothing. The rest are arguably very aesthetic and a matter of debate.
The rod is singularly the piece of kit that allows you to punch the line out and also to feel the fish, and more importantly play the fish. The rod is also a shock absorber.
As for clothing, it can make or break your fishing day. You have to feel comfortable and dry in your kit, or else you will probably ruin your whole day.
Any outdoors activity has this core requirement. That your clothing is fit for purpose to deal with the challenges of the elements and your pursuit. And fly fishing is no exception.
Below are just some of the items of fly fishing kit to consider to start your fly fishing journey. These could benefit your outings.
Fly Fishing Starter Kit
Rods are arguably one of the three most critical components of your kit, the size and weight of rod are vast. But each variant of the sport has an impact on your decision making. Are you going to fish rivers? What species are you going to target, e.g. trout, grayling, sea trout, salmon or any other?
Generally, the Wt rating indicates the line or power of the rod. The higher the rating, the more power it has to cast the line, for instance, Wt5 is a lighter line for fishing dries or small waters. Wt3 could be a start point for rivers. And Wt 7/8 the start of Large still waters and match angling, when distance and strength may be a requirement.
Please note that I am not sponsored nor do I endorse any of the products. I am just giving my own opinion.
I would class these as follows,
Mid Entry: Shakespeare -Agility, Airflo – Super Stik, Daiwa – Silver Creek, Wychwood-Rs, Greys- Gr 20-60 and Scierra- Srx V2, the cost ranges from £65 to £250
High-end bracket: Sage -Foundation, Hardy -Sintrix, Orvis- Helios, St Croix -Imperial, the cost ranges from £340 – £800.
The rod action is also personal, some people like soft to middle action. Others a soft tip or stiff rod. Again, these are very personal choices. It is an indication of the flexibility and power of the rod.
Generally, the stiffer rods, also known as fast action, the more power and distance but less feel. It will have more bend at the top end, and the butt end will be stiff.
My own preference is middle action or soft action (slow). It means that the rod will have more give or bend in the middle, and I can feel the fish better when playing them.
There is then the Weight rating (Wt). As explained above, along with the length. I would recommend a Wt7 rated rod that has enough power but also enough feel to enjoy your angling. You will need to marry this with the equivalent rated line (e.g. wt7).
As for the length, I would go for a 9 ft 6 inch or 10ft as this gives you a bit in term clearance to avoid obstacles on your backcast.
My advice is trying the rod personally before you invest your money in buying it. Or ask a friend who has used them.
Rods are a key-piece of the key. Hence it must suit the angler and their capability. They will also have an impact on your fishing and enjoyment.
Many Fisheries have kits that you can try before purchasing as have some retail outlets.
Look at the budget end of the market, rods such as Shakespeare do a sigma fly rod. You can get the combination with a reel being sold for around £90 whilst Wychwood is the middle-end of the market.
Their RS fly rod can be bought for around £170. There are also others doing combination kits like Cortland Fairplay outfit kit that has a reel and rod combination for about £85.
Greys also do a GRC fly fishing kit (rod and reel) for around £160.
My own advice is to get separate. You can still get a very-good reel at value. I would suggest buying a rod, the Wychwood TrueFly, for about £80 (now discontinued). And a good and sturdy cassette reel system such as Airflo Classic (about £45) comes with 3 spare spools. These will be enough to keep you going.
Look around and see shops that are having clearance and bargain sales.
Lines are another key-component of Fly Fishing; the variety and performance are there to suit all.
This is another element to get your fly to fish. And to connect and keep the fish on the line. Don’t get it confused with the leader-piece of the line connecting fly line to flies (different to Fly Line).
The range and performance are extensive and very individual. So like with Rods, do some research before investing. Because there is a massive range of line manufacturers; from Airflo, Rio, Wychwood, Cortland, Shakespeare, John Norris and a host of others.
The modern lines have a range from floating, sink tips, intermediate to Sinking lines.
You will have been focused on what you intend to do, or else you will become a kit monster and buy for the sake of doing so.
I have some 26 lines. Because the line range is extensive for matches and loch (lake) style angling. Consequently, you end up having many types of fishing lines to tackle all sorts of conditions.
Again, do not spend too much as there is competition out there in terms of quality and price. I would urge you to consider a floating line, sink/midge tip, intermediate and sinking lines (Di3, Di5 and Di7) as a part of your starter kit.
The sinking lines are more for boat fishing as you can get away with not using them on the bank, the Di 3 sinks at 3inches per sec and so on.
As a start, a floating line, slow intermediate, sink tip and a di3 should be enough for you. Particularly if you are starting up on the bank, if you do get into loch (lake) style, then you will need to add the vdi5 and di7 to your collection.
The market again has a budget end, middle end and a top end. John Norris lines are excellent quality for around £14 each, Wychwood does good lines for about £40 and Airflo for about £60.
This is entirely dependent upon what type of fly fishing you intend to partake in, for example, grayling, river, small still water, large Stillwater or loch (lake) style.
However, the key-basics are the same, fit for purpose, comfortable, offer protection against the element, waterproof, and warm.
Again, there are countless multiple retailers and manufacturers out there.
But due to its critical nature, I would urge you to spend wisely here. But do not skimp as this will last and also allow you to enjoy your fishing in our testing weather.
Also, invest in a good pair of long Johns and thick socks that will make that cold autumn and spring days more comfortable.
There are bib and brace suits, individual jackets and trousers.
My choice would be separated. I have several clothing sets, from light weather gear to heavy weather gear. There are many trusted brands in the market. But some examples are Airflo, Greys, Scierra, Imax, Vass, Simms, etc. So choose these wisely.
Costs range from £120-500
Again, similarly as clothing, your boots must be robust enough to stand up to the weather and offer protection from the element. You can have a choice of wellingtons or boots.
I have both boots and wellingtons. They are neoprene wellingtons and waterproof walking boots.
Like any other footwear, the comfort and warmth factor along with waterproof are a must.
It is incredible how water and rain get everywhere. So your boots have got to be quality. Because if you get wet feet, your days of fishing are almost certainly ruined.
And just like running shoes, your angling footwear must be about half a size bigger to allow for thick pair socks and foot expansion.
Equally, the grip element cannot be sacrificed as after all you may be walking on a muddy or slippery bank.
Cost range £40-£100
5-Life Jacket/ Waist Coats
Life jackets/ waistcoats can be separated or combined. Whilst most large waters have life jackets, small waters and rivers don’t.
So they are a must-have piece of kit even if you go to Large waters. Just to be on the safe side.
Although they will set you back from anything £80 to £150 and more, they are worth it. Because the kit is there to save your life. I’m sure you agree. The only snag is, you must replace the gas-charged cylinder every 12 months, and that can cost around £40. Or you can buy one and fit yourself for about £20.
The combined vest and life jacket can range from £70 to about £190.
Polarised glasses are another key-feature that also have a safety benefit linked to their use. They give you clarity of sight and protection. And they also offer protection against any accident involving your flies. Because your flies have hooks on them. So you MUST wear these in conjunction with a cap another must.
The business end of the fly line is connecting the fly line to the flies. Again, there are multiple options, such as Fluorocarbon, MonoFilament CoPolymer.
Fluorocarbon is probably the most recent innovation and the best option. This is virtually clear and sight free. And it can be used for dry and all other methods of fly fishing.
The Mono-Filament is now used more for dry fly fishing has a bit more give and is more visible a disadvantage.
As for CoPolymer, it is stronger than the other two and has more impact and abrasion resistance.
Generally, I use 6lb or 8lb for fishing dries, 8 or 10lb fishing nymphs or boxers and 10 or 12 stripping or pulling lures.