So what would save the day I have to ask? I’m not talking about a special selection of flies although I do think there are some you should always carry. I’m more concerned with items that will help fix broken or damaged tackle or items to keep you fishing rather than having to wind up and go home.
We have all been there out fishing and have fallen down a banking or slipped and fell in the river and damaged our gear or our selves so I have put together this fly fishing emergency kit of items that may help to keep you going.
There are many option to consider in this list so I will work through them for you. Your main piece of equipment is your fly rod and if disaster strikes and you fall and break it into several pieces there is not a whole lot you can do about it. However if you have travelled far the thought of having to turn homeward is not good.
The only real thing you can prepare for here with is a cheap replacement. I always try to keep a second rod with me when going further than a few miles when fly fishing. That way you can at least keep fishing even if your best and lucky rod lies in piece on the bankside. You may be sad but at least your fishing.
Occasionally what can happen is you break a guide ring. Sometimes depending where it is on the rod will not affect the casting too much but if it’s the tip ring then you are in trouble. If you have the second spare rod then no problem just switch over but you can also keep spare rings in with you and wrap one on with a piece of thread and some angling glue.
It may be rough and ready but it will keep you fishing. Don’t forget a broken rod can be fixed if you put in a bit of preparation or take it to a dealer who can.
Is a broken fly reel the end of the session?
I have also seen rod seats give way on an angling trip and without the reel in its proper place casting is impossible. The way to get round this is keep some electricians tape in the bag. In fact I use it to seal the joints especially when switch or spey casting as the torque makes the rod pieces spin and un align. A piece of tape at each joint helps keep this in check.
I have also seen a rod piece slip out part way at the joint and then when a fish takes the fly the rod snap at the join, not only do you break the rod you will loose the fish. On smaller rods you can use candle wax to help secure the joints as shown here.
The fly reel can also become damaged and depending on this possibly fixed or not. Although I will try to keep fishing no matter what a spare reel is in favour to trying to fiddle on the bankside with a bent cartridge or cracked cage.
The fly line however can be fixed with a bit of knowledge and equipment carried with you to keep you fishing. Having angling glue, stormsure and some strong mono will fix most breaks in a fly line.
Depending on how will you do this and where it is on the line may cause hinges to appear in the cast. These may look awful to someone else but at least you’re still fishing. You can always put in a better fix when you get home. Alternatively having a spare line or two in the bag or car will help out. I love cartridge reels with different lines loaded onto each spool. It is so easy to remove one and replace at the bankside.
Broken leaders, wind knots and tangles are all fixable, some may be catastrophic and need a new leader tied but most are workable to keep you fishing. A leader straightener is a must to take out any small kinks in the leader or cast. On top of that knowing how to tie knots quickly and properly is also a must. Lastly a few leaders either tied beforehand or store bought are a good idea to get you fishing quickly again.
Having a good selection of flies is also a good idea as there are many snagging on the river or lake and flies are easy lost or broken if hitting bankings etc behind you. Its a good idea to check your flies regularly as broken hooks will not catch fish. So a couple of fly boxes with a selection of flies is always a good idea.
Keeping dry on a wet day is important but very hard to combat if it has already happened. I will always carry extra clothing in a dry sack when away far so I can change into something dry if I get a dunking or soaked from the elements. Nothing worse than feeling miserable while your fishing.
Buying a decent waterproof wading jacket or 3/4 length fishing jackets are a good way to combat this. Then looking after them and re-applying waterproof solutions at the end of a season or two will keep them in good order.
Onto waders, the things that are supposed to keep our legs and feet dry. More often than not when climbing down the banking to our favorite fishing spot a slip or thorn bush will puncture a nice wee hole into our breathable chest waders unknown to us.
Then when we step into wade we feel that cold wet feeling down one or both legs. This can be unpleasant but will not stop you fishing. However with a small patch kit you can do a bankside repair that will stop the leak getting any worse.
I think we have covered most or our gear for things that can go wrong and possible ways to fix them however what about ourselves. It’s all too easy to slip on a wet rock or bankside and fall down to cut or graze ourselves or worse. I think it’s important when more than 20 mins from home to have a decent medical kit for such eventualities.
A pack with gauze, plasters, cotton wool, scissors, and medical tape will go a long way to getting you cleaned up and back fishing if you can. There are many types on the market but you can easily put a small one together if you need to and place in a waterproof fly box or tin.
Now onto items that may help in improving the day. When starting out in the sport it will take you some time to get all the items covered (unless you have a big wallet) but here is a list of things that will help make the sport more pleasurable. We have already mentioned a spare rod and reel with spare fly lines. It is also a good idea to keep extra flies and fly boxes. Spare leader materials and poly leaders to help with depth control.
Then we are down to the tools, forceps and scissors, a locking knife, a set of nippers, a fly patch, leader straightener, dry and sink solutions to add to our flies, strike indicators, sunglasses, fly vest or backpack to carry it all in. We have mentioned spare clothing and a dry sack to keep it in. If we are going for some time you will also need a selection of food and a thermos for your drink.
Please remember at all times to take any garbage home with you as one of my pet hates going to a fishing spot to see a tin of beer or empty snack packet laying around is very annoying and so easily remedied.
So there we have it a list of fly fishing emergency kit that will hopefully get you out of trouble and fishing for longer. I have put together a list on Amazon which you can view here to see what you are missing from your own kit. Please let me know if there is anything that should be added also as I’m sure it’s not complete. Tight Lines! Mark