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What Accessories are needed to Fly Fish? A Beginners Guide

What Accessories are needed to Fly FishRookies at fly fishing can be pardoned for being overwhelmed by the amount of tackle and gear available to buy.

Shopping for basics like fly rods or fly rod combos is an entire task that can be daunting without proper guidance and research.

Thousands of mouse clicks across hundreds of websites might still have them purchasing the wrong basics.

Novices and a few amateurs are almost uninterested in buying more fly angling gear after getting complete rod outfits that work for them.

To aid these buddies to negotiate what can be the bewildering maze of angling stuff available, I have put together a simple guide to essential accessories any fly angler should have.

Prepping this guide in alphabetical order can create a mini anglers’ dictionary, which isn’t my intention.

I know there is so much stuff in the accessory bracket that an angler can have – some that I have read about, seen but not used before, but today’s focus is on the ESSENTIALS!

Must I buy everything as a beginner?

Not at once!

When it comes to fly fishing, my advice is to invest in quality and not numbers.

I know a bunch of buddies who are hoarders of cheap polarized sunglasses, sun hats almost falling apart, and crap that should have been disposed of decades ago.

While there are a few you can do without in the beginning, especially when using a new fly fishing combo, there are others that can make you have a lousy to terrible time fishing – even worse, not fish at all.


Basic Fly Fishing Accessories


Fly Fishing Nets

It is challenging to land larger fish than a tiny panfish without a fishing net.

Imagine tagging into an averagely-sized Northern Pike without a fishing net.

Landing it will be impossible, and in desperate struggles to beach that buddy, your tippet snaps and the fish happily swims away.

A net is mandatory for catch-and-release fishing as you can easily land the fish, remove the hook and release it into the water.

Get a light, medium-sized high-quality net since you will be wearing it when you are casting.

SF Fly Fishing Landing Soft Rubber Mesh Trout Catch and Release Net with Black Magnetic Net Release Combo
2,474 Reviews
SF Fly Fishing Landing Soft Rubber Mesh Trout Catch and Release Net with Black Magnetic Net Release Combo
  • SF catch and release net features a soft, clear rubberized net material that's gentle on the fish and won't tangle, rot, or mildew. The clear color won't spook fish because it virtually disappears underwater.
  • SF fishing landing net has a solid and sturdy wooden handle and frame, the frame is made from laminated bamboo and hardwood.
  • Perfect nets for fly fishing on your favorite river, lake, or stream. Handle about 9", Hoop 9.5 x 16", Deep 10". The bottom end of the handle with a 360-degree copper swivel ring that can match with a coiled lanyard and magnetic net release which keeps your hands completely free and avoid losing your net.
  • Stretchable spring-cord length 35 cm(13.7inch) and extends to a maximum length of 2.5m(100 inches). Multi-functional uses more than a net release. Use it with pliers, nippers & other tools are also perfect.
  • Magnets made of Aviation aluminum are less prone to rust and have the strongest powerful magnetic strength. The sturdy carabiner clip is also made of aviation aluminum. Zip ties 5.9 inches with a self-locking Fastener Design, strong durable powerful lock, easy handling, you can tie the magnetic net release to any position you like on the fishing net.

Magnetic Net Release Holder

A magnetic net release holder is used to attach the fly fishing net to your fly fishing vest.

The magnet will exert about 12 pounds of force and secure the net while making it easier to detach when you grab it to land fish.

Without a holder, an angler struggles to grab their net.

Piscifun Magnetic Net Release for Fly Fishing Magnetic Release Fishing Net Holder Green
258 Reviews
Piscifun Magnetic Net Release for Fly Fishing Magnetic Release Fishing Net Holder Green
  • Ultra-strong Magnets - Up to 7.7lb magnetic power. 2 super-strong magnets that close tightly, ensure your net stays safe & secure, even when you're wading through brush & thickets.
  • Sturdy Carabiner Clip - A handy carabiner(our exclusively), so you can easily clip your net to the D-ring on your vest, pack or boat.
  • A Retractable Coil - A bungee coil that keeps your net attached & expands up to 59''. It easily catch your fish and never worry to lose your net or other fishing gear.
  • Durable & Convenience - Premium magnets offer exceptional strong power to keep your stuff safe. You can also use it with fishing pliers, nippers & other tackles.
  • Warranty - You have no worry to try Piscifun magnetic net release.

Fly Dressing/Fly Floatant

A fly dressing helps keep a fly buoyant, and for dry flies, they remain floating on the water’s surface.

The dry flies become slightly waterlogged after use without the dressing and won’t float properly.

Flies that don’t float well will definitely be ignored by trout.

Use the dressing on a completely dry fly.

Spray or apply it to the fly and allow sometime before use.

Hackle Armour Classic Dry Fly Dressing 2 Pack - Long Lasting Floatant
235 Reviews
Hackle Armour Classic Dry Fly Dressing 2 Pack - Long Lasting Floatant
  • This classic NON-SILICONE BASED FLOATANT floats flies longer than silicone-based gels. This clear paste liquefies at room temperature and becomes a semi-solid again when immersed in cold water, repelling moisture from your dry flies or streamers.
  • Hackle Armour's formulation has been FIELD TESTED AND SOUGHT AFTER by famous fly shops and professional guides and outfitters throughout the United States.
  • SAVE MONEY by buying this 2 pack of high quality floatant at a discounted price.
  • All Hackle Armour floatants are ENVIRONMENTALLY SAFE and leave no oil slick. We have the utmost confidence that you will enjoy fishing with Hackle Armour products, and that they will impress you and enhance your time on the water. That is why we GUARANTEE them. Proudly MADE IN THE USA.

Polarized Sunglasses

Polarized sunglasses cut through glare, and for fly angling, they allow you to see through the water glare clearly.

There are more benefits of having polarized sunglasses, and I have a whole guide on the site that you can check out.

On most occasions, if fishing without one, you are probably fishing blind.

Sunglasses are considered personal items, and you can spend as much as you want on whichever style of design you fancy.

However, for fly angling, the stylish and trendy types aren’t needed, and sometimes the cheapest polarized options could still work well and cut through the glare.

You want a pair with scratch-resistant lenses because wayward branches or flies will strike them sooner than later.

The primary thing is to prevent eye and lens damage.

Durability is another primary factor as you will squish them into pockets five or ten times a day, bang them around and occasionally drop and ignore them.

Sale
Fishoholic Polarized Fishing Sunglasses (8 Color Options) - Free Hard Case & Pouch - UV400 - Great Fishing Gift for Dad Son (GB-BLU)
2,850 Reviews
Fishoholic Polarized Fishing Sunglasses (8 Color Options) - Free Hard Case & Pouch - UV400 - Great Fishing Gift for Dad Son (GB-BLU)
  • FREE Hard Case & Lens Cleaning Pouch w’ Gloss Black / Blue Mirror. UV400 means 100% UV Protection. Fishoholic Polarized Fishing Sunglasses are Lightweight to be worn All Day, Wide Sides to reduce Side Glare, Not too dark & you'll see through the glare on water surfaces as well as any $100 pair! We've tested in morning, noon & evening in Lakes, Rivers & looking at the Ocean - also Tested on Road Trips, at Baseball Games, outside Concerts & Brew Festivals!
  • Manufacturer's 180-day Guarantee (contact us directly). Wear these Fishoholic Sunglasses with PRIDE! And tell good stories!! See our Face Mask Neck Gaiter, Gloves, Hats, Visors, Beanies, Tumblers, Tees, Hoodies and more by searching Fishoholic.
  • Great Gift for Friends, fishermen & women, business gifts, your Grandpa, Uncle, Buddy, Niece or Nephew. Fresh, Salt, Ocean, under Ice, Warm, a top Kayak at Sea, gone tackle hunting w' fly rod on boat, or huk your best camo lure, for men, small youth, kids, girls, boys, dads, funny uncle & lucky grandpa, age 13 - 99! With our MANUFACTURER's 180-day Guarantee (contact us directly), Get Yours Today!

Fishing Hat

Summer calls for hats, and fly anglers aren’t exempted from the heat and light protection even if they will be on the water.

Fishing hats prevent heatstroke and sunburn, allowing your polarized sunglasses to work better.

This doesn’t need to be fancy or costly.

There are numerous designs in the market that you can choose from depending on your style.

Some crucial aspects to consider, though, are the fit and performance.

Don’t forget they also protect your head from a stray cast and the possibility of embedding a hook in it.

Fish Lure Trucker Hat - Adjustable Baseball Cap w/Plastic Snapback Closure
391 Reviews
Fish Lure Trucker Hat - Adjustable Baseball Cap w/Plastic Snapback Closure
  • HIGH QUALITY - Made with 100% cotton twill front panels and mesh back panels this trucker hat is lightweight, breathable, and provides a secure fit for everyday use.
  • DESIGN - This is stitched with a simple fishing lure design.
  • 8 OPTIONS - This trucker hat is available in 8 colorways each featuring a silhouette of a fishing lure: Olive with Tan Mesh Feat. Dry Fly Lure, Black with Tan Mesh Feat. Dry Fly Lure, Black with White Mesh Feat. Dry Fly Lure, White with Brown Mesh Feat. Dry Fly Lure, Camo with White Mesh Feat. Dry Fly Lure, Charcoal with White Mesh Feat. Spinning Bait Lure, Brown with Tan Mesh Feat. Vintage Lure, and Navy with White Mesh Feat. Spoon Lure.
  • STYLE - This trucker hat is a structured shape with a slight pre-curved visor and contrast construction stitch.
  • ADJUSTABLE - The plastic snap closure allows you to dial in the perfect fit. Standard Adult - 56-59cm.

Leader Straightener

Leader straighteners are built to keep the leaders of fly fishing rigs straight.

A fisherman/woman draws the leader through the straightener, and as friction generates heat, it allows the leader {likely bent from the effects of storage) to straighten.

Straight leaders are vital for successful angling, and these tools are inexpensive to buy.

SAMSFX Fishing 2 in 1 Leather Leader Straightener Fly Line Cleaner with Zinger Retractor
94 Reviews
SAMSFX Fishing 2 in 1 Leather Leader Straightener Fly Line Cleaner with Zinger Retractor
  • Attach this gadget to your vest before you go fishing, extend the life of your leaders and tippets
  • Come with 360 rotation snap hook and zinger retractor, easy to hang on your lanyard, wader, vest or backpack
  • High quailty leather coated outside, design of soft felted sides and EVA foam sides, meeting more needs
  • To straighten your leader, just pull it through the EVA sides until it is nice and straight
  • Add drops of line care solution and pull the line through the felted sides to clean and remove the memory in the line

Fishing Clippers/Nippers

Fishing nippers almost resemble toenail clippers (basically, the name is fancy) and are for cleanly cutting excess tippet material from when attaching flies to tippets.

It doesn’t mean that getting toenail clippers will work well when fly fishing.

Fishing nippers give cleaner cuts and easily cut through tippet material.

Save your teeth from biting tippet and get some nippers.

SAMSFX Fishing Quick Knot Tying Tool 4 in 1 Fly Line Clippers with Zinger Retractor Combo (Black)
7,371 Reviews
SAMSFX Fishing Quick Knot Tying Tool 4 in 1 Fly Line Clippers with Zinger Retractor Combo (Black)
  • Multi-function of 4-in-1 fly fishing mono line clipper, come with oval retractor, 60CM / 24" nylon cord
  • Comfort non-slip & red river grip made of rubber keep nipper steady even with gloves or wet hand
  • Durable 420 stainless steel construction, 4 in 1 design consolidates gear into one easy to useful quick knot tool
  • Features hook sharpener, line clippers, jig eye cleaner / line knot picker and knot tyer combo, D-ring use for easy attachment
  • Great for clear hook eyes, mono line cutting (not for braid line), honing hooks and smart nail knot tying tool

Fly Line Dressing

Fly line dressing cleans the fly line and keeps your lines slick.

Slicker lines allow you to cast easily and smoothly pick up off the water when backcasting.

If you will be dry fly fishing, this is necessary to maintain and preserve your line.

Scientific Anglers Fly Line Cleaner One Color, 4oz
9 Reviews
Scientific Anglers Fly Line Cleaner One Color, 4oz
  • Scientific Anglers Fly Line Cleaner

Strike Indicators

Strike indicators are mainly used when fishing nymphs.

During nymph fishing, the nymphs disappear below the water surface, making it difficult to see (even if you have the best-polarized sunglasses on).

Hence strike indicators are attached a distance from the fly but on the leader.

Instead of an angler watching the fly as it is done in dry fly fishing, they watch and study the strike indicator.

When the strike indicator makes a sudden move, the fish has struck a fly and you should immediately set the hook.

AVENTIK EUPHENG Riverruns Yarn Strike Indicators 3 Colors 3 Sizes Hand Tied Floating Fly Fishing Nymphs & Dry Fly
279 Reviews
AVENTIK EUPHENG Riverruns Yarn Strike Indicators 3 Colors 3 Sizes Hand Tied Floating Fly Fishing Nymphs & Dry Fly
  • Aventik Reply to Some Neg Feedback Yarn indicators are made of Yarn and O-ring. The total product is close to water density. With application float-ant will secure perfect performance.
  • Yarn Strike indicators 3 bright fluorescent colors, orange, red and green in 3 sizes, total 9 pieces in one pack. Rubber O-ring attachment, height re-sizable with easy, no knot needed, no damage on the line.
  • Light like a feather, great nature presentation no effect on your casting, no spooking fish.
  • Excellent floatablity with nature floatant coating, ultra sensitive to strike, connecting you with more fish. Floatant Application Requested For The Best Effect
  • Excellent for Dry and Nymph fishing.An American professional fishing guide runs family business since 2008 recession. Product info service hot line +1 626 554 4053, west coast time 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, 7 days per week, By American For American.

Non-immediate Accessories


I wouldn’t term this section below as accessories to avoid; instead, those beginners shouldn’t buy straight out of the gate unless there are unique scenarios peculiar to them.

You can get them if you have been in the sport for a few months now.

Fishing Rod Racks – Rod racks are mainly used at home – in the garage or basement to store fishing poles.

I find rod tubes that come with the fly rods working pretty well, in fact, better since they protect against dust and accidental damage.

While the rod racks look fantastic, they aren’t an absolute need.

Waist Pack – Guides and anglers who carry a lot of stuff to the water might need this, but a high-grade fly fishing vest is the best starting point for novices.

Packable Trash Container – Large Ziploc bags work well too and smell better.

Entomology Kit – This is awesome if you are an advanced fly angler to help identify bugs.

But as a novice? Forget it for the first few months.

Wading Boot Cleats – Unless you are using handed down or second-hand boots or are in rip-roaring faster currents or in conditions that need cleats, you have no business buying them immediately.

General Wading Staff – Will you be fishing in fast-moving waters?

If you are, these are mandatory, but if you are casting in ponds and creeks with easier waters, save some more for a higher-quality set for when the wading time comes.

Fly Tying Stuff – Some anglers get anxious and feel like they need everything involved in fly fishing, including fly tying.

It is ideal to focus on learning how to cast and the basics of fly fishing when starting.

Later, you can worry about fly tying.

Bug Nets – You need an excellent net but at least not for bugs at the start.

Landing Gloves – Trout handling doesn’t need you to have gloves just make sure your hands are wet; get them when you are ready to chase fish with teeth.

Streamside Thermometer – You will eventually need one; however, save it for a later date.

Stripping Basket – Unless you plan to make hundreds of foot casts, starters don’t need other things hanging on the shoulders.

Headlamp – Though a necessity for night anglers and those who cast on days with poor visibility, learn to fish when it is bright first.

Forceps – These are a debate, but for your first angling days, when the main focus is on learning how to catch trout, you can do without it.

Bring them if you will be fishing species with teeth.


Wrap Up


Fly fishing is a fascinating sport, and for beginners, anxiety could hit and get you on a shopping spree to get everything a fly angler could ever need.

Save that money for the best combos and reels when you have improved your skills.

There are 70+ accessories for fly fishing.

Some are essential and mandatory from the first day of casting, while you might never get to use others.

Likewise, others can be improvised and substituted unless you are the perfect type of guy that needs the required tool for a job.

From my compilation, the first items to get if you can’t get all the listed are polarized sunglasses, fishing net and nippers, then the rest as you go up the list.

Note that items in the ‘Not-Immediate’ list come later after you have mastered the basics of fly fishing.

Overall, prioritize the essentials first!

Last update on 2022-10-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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