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Thread: simplicity of the sport

  1. Default simplicity of the sport

    After seeing the thread about books, i don't know why but i thought about something i read in Trout Bum, and about how the author tried to carry as little with him as possible, and tried to avoid being "that guy" whom had every possible little tool imaginable, and then some. he also wrote he wanted to do it to be challenged i believe...

    i would like to hear some stories of you going out with just a box of flies, clippers, and a little bit of tippet, the bare minimum, and tell me how your trip turned out.

    i would like to fully dedicate myself to this style of fly fishing because of the fact that is going to be cheaper, and because i know working with very little will make my experience more rewarding.

    when i first started, all i had was a half filled box of flies, which soon grew to 2 boxes(thanks to my buddy peregrines!(i just wanna let you know, this guy sent me a ton of flies, and three pages of hand-written instructions of how, where, and when to use these flies! a great guy!)) and i carried those two boxes in my wader pockets. I've since gotten a lot more flies, boxes, carry more tippet, leaders etc... so i'm looking for something i could carry with me easily on the river. no vests please, a friend let me borrow one, and i just wasn't the biggest fan. i'm looking to just carry two boxes, and a few leaders.

    and just a side question, being from the south i can't stand the cold, so i wanted to start wearing gloves, has anybody worn neoprene gloves or anything while fishing? i assume i have to take it off for tying my flies on and what not, but just to keep them as dry as possible!

  2. #2

    Default Re: simplicity of the sport

    I often carry my 4 piece SA rod, waders, boots, a two-sided 4x6 box of flies and a Lanyard with floatant, nippers, stats, tippet and a (whistle/compass/thermometer/magnifying glass) multi tool about the size of a bottle of floatant clipped to the lanyard.

    This goes in the back of my jeep on the way to work, and I fish quite a bit with just these items for a couple hours on the way home when I can.

    It helps to know the waters you are fishing, what flies work there, what is hatching, etc. but I have caught a lot of fish with just this minimal (and not too expensive) equipment.

    Now that winter is starting to make its way into the high desert, I am going to swap my breathables for my neoprenes, add a pair of glacier gloves (neoprene gloves with fold back thumb and forefinger so you can tie the flies on) and a wading jacket to the bag in the back of the jeep and should still be good to go should I get out of work early enough to wet a line.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Bozeman, MT and Sheridan, WY but now Houston, Texas

    Default Re: simplicity of the sport

    Quote Originally Posted by webrx View Post
    Now that winter is starting to make its way into the high desert, I am going to swap my breathables for my neoprenes
    I have fished down to -5 in breathables. Just put on a pair of synthetic liner pants underneath the waders. They are more comfortable than the neoprenes and just as warm.

  4. Default Re: simplicity of the sport

    I'd say this is reasonable on just about any water you may fish. Up until this season when I was bought a fishpond chest pack as a gift the flies went into my pocket and there were never more than 20 different patterns that I had collected over the years. And yes I caught fish regualarly. As was mentioned above it helps to know the water and whats hatching etc but in many places a few basic pattern will be sufficient with augmentation as seasons dictate. When I fish I try to remember that things like waders and vests don't catch fish. For that matter neither does the difference between a 4wt and a 5wt rod. Sure it may help but if your willing to commit yourself to cutting down you can do just as well. Try this. Lay out your fishing gear. Take your pack that you carry stuff in and set it to the side. Now take each piece of gear from the pile pick it up and decide if its really necessary. Do you really need that tippet gauge? NOPE! It goes in the gonna collect dust pile. Fish net. YUP! put it in the to go pile with your pack. And so on, and so on. Hope that helps.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Wasilla / Skwentna, Alaska
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: simplicity of the sport

    Mikey Bob365,

    I have came full circle as they say, I started with very little, I had no rest for 20 years until I had everything. There came a time in the late 80's when I realized that my Stream Designs Classic vest with 25 pockets had so much stuff in it that it made my shoulders hurt after a days fishing. So I began to downsize, I went to a three drawer chest box. Do you know what they are? I would stick a spool of tippet in my pocket and take my leader wallet and some fly floatant and away I would go.

    By the time I was finished downsizing I knew the flies I had to have with me for wherever I was headed, (keep a log book so you know what will be on the water on what days year to year) I carried a 2.5" X 3.5" fly box and some tippet and floatant.
    During the summer on my favorite brooks that was as light as I could go.

    Now I fish primarily for salmon and steelhead trout. I carry my rod and one fly box with 40 flies and a streamer wallet. You really need to have a spool of leader and a bag of split shot along too. To top off my gear I clip a holder with a can of bear spray in it to my wader belt. No vest, usually a short wading / rain jacket. That's as simple as I can make it.


    Anywhere can be the land of great expectations, broken dreams, or paradise found, it's all up to you.

    Life On The Line - Alaska Fishing with Ard
    Ard's Forum blog, Alaska Outdoors

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Central Florida

    Default Re: simplicity of the sport

    Hi MikeyBob,

    What I use most of the time is a small chest pack. It will hold two small fly boxes, tippet spools, forceps, nippers and scissors, shot and floatant. I started using it with my pontoon boat and liked it so much I use it most of the time. I don't like Lanyards because the dangling items drives me crazy. When you bend over they seem to always be in the way.

    A chest pack that is 8"Tx5"Wx3.5" thick work the best for me. It should have a harness so you can cinch it up tight against your chest. A narrow one won't interfere with your arms when rowing or casting.

    Here is one from Fish Pond that looks pretty good. The one I use is from Orvis but they don't make that model any more. Like many things that work really well, they improve it and it is never as good as the original.


    Fish Pond San Juan Vertical Chest Pack
    Last edited by Frank Whiton; 10-17-2009 at 11:40 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Beaumont, Alberta
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: simplicity of the sport

    What you are describing is probably how alot of us began our addiction.
    There is a name for it now of course, since everything must be named.
    You are describing Guerilla fly fishing. Harry P. Davis wrote a book about it titled Guerilla Fly Fishing I found some used copies on the Barnes and Noble website.
    I myself like the simplicity of the thing, but always find myself adding a couple more boxes "just in case" .........sigh, it is a curse, I am a gadget guy.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    South Texas

    Default Re: simplicity of the sport

    As long as you're going to do some fishing 'round here in the 9 warm months of the year, you'll want to get a pack that will at least carry two water bottles. Camelbak type things are handy and all, but that just gives you more stuff on your upper body to get sweaty. I think you can use a simple waist pack to carry 2-6 small-medium sized boxes of flies, leaders, tippet, shot, and indicators and call it good.

    I'd recommend something like this-

    But there are cheaper options out there that should work just fine-

    Try to find one with light interior fabric, makes finding stuff inside much easier.

    I'd rather hunt fish than bait deer any day.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Merrimac, MA

    Default Re: simplicity of the sport

    I'm on both sides of the fence on this one. But, on reflection, I think that I actually split the two extremes; here's what I mean.

    I've definitely bulked up on fishing gear over the past few years; rods, reels, flies, lines, leader/tippet, clothing, peripherals, etc. I have more gear than I really need at this point; as judged by the fact that a lot of it "sits" on a bench, hangs on a peg or is suspended from the rafters of my garage. I make an honest effort to fish all of my gear at least once every year; but I never quite make it. So, that's one side.

    On the other side, when I head for the stream, I take one rod, one reel, one fly box (yes, some boxes have 10 flies in them and others have 50 flies in them; but you've got to have some latitude - right?). If it's warm out, the the waders, boots, shirt and shell stay home, as does the vest. What goes is a small fishpond front pack with leader/tippet, hemostats, nippers, sun glasses, a little packet of Off and my landing net. That's it. I do a lot of hiking into relatively remote spots (if there's actually such a thing in the Poconos these days), so that's a strong incentivizer in and of itself to reduce your gear to the greatest extent possible.

    If I have the wrong flies with me, then I experiment around to make what I have work for the situation. More often than not, I'm successful at doing that.

    Separately, but related to the "how much gear/simplicity" question, I've fished a couple of one fly tournaments and I think that they're a great way to de-focus on gear and focus on how best to fish a given piece of water. They've been very helpful to me, since I have a technical background and come at most things with the belief that superior equipment is going to make me a better something; whatever I'm doing I think I'll do it better if I have the best gear for the situation. But, I know that this, at least for me, is a fallacy; although I find it's a hard one to get away from.

    What has really improved my fishing more than anything else is simply getting out there and fishing. The more I fish, the better I think I become at fishing; at least the more fish I catch - and, the less gear I take with me each time I go fishing. One of the old-timers at a local fly shop told me a couple of years ago: "there's no substitute for time on the water". I've tried, to prove him wrong, but so far I've failed to come anywhere near close to actually doing that.

    So, another vote for simplicity in fly fishing; wherever and whenever possible. My Utopia picture, I suppose, would be a single set of gear; probably a 5 wt. set-up with minimal supporting equipment. But then I start thinking about those Tarpon in the mangroves at Ascension Bay and those tiny Yamame on the steep gradient streams in the mountains West of Nikko and I know that there must be a happy medium. I doubt that I'll ever really find it, but you know, for some reason that doesn't bother me too much.

  10. Default Re: simplicity of the sport

    I am also looking to lighten my fishing load. I bought a fishpond pack last year and love it. I do carry a camel back type water bottle, though, do to the amount of walking I do and in Iowa the summer months the heat will get you. Another change I am looking at is wader type. Most spring creeks (in fact, I could almost say all here in Iowa) you could get away with waist highs. One of the main things I am looking at cutting down is the number of flies. I fish mostly spring creeks and noticed you can get away with mostly generic patterns (adams, PMD, etc). and catch fish 99% of the time. A member of another board I am on went to five flies this year and said he had great success. I am looking to get down to ten to twelve "generic" patterns and concentrate of my prestation and not the fly. Any ideas for 10 basic west patterns and sizes?

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