Re: The most Gratifying piece of gear
for me, there are two answers, and both of them arent listed in your initial 5 choices.
#1 tippet. if you buy bargain tippet you are going to lose fish, point blank period. it is the most essential piece of equipment as it is what is directly responsible for connecting your fly.
#2 by a slight margin. hook- if you buy cheap hooks, they can be brittle and snap, they could dull easier, they can deteriorate quickly.