What do you really need for a day of Chalkstream fly fishing?

When fly fishing is as central to one’s life as it is to our full time fishing experts, it is not uncommon to receive many fly fishing focused or related gifts at this time of year. But what do you really need for a day on the water, and what you can go with out. So forgetting about the obvious things one requires to fly fish (rod, reel, line, etc) here are our must haves for a day on the chalk streams.

Must have a net:

Now, this may sound silly as one would presume that this would be in every fly anglers arsenal. However, increasingly we see people fishing without them. Some argue that its easier to land the fish without if ones wading, or you can put the fish back faster, anyway the list goes on. The simple fact of the matter is that it is always quicker to have a net, you don’t find yourself lunging to grab a tail of a fish, or end up trying to beach it. If you are practising catch and release as we so often do, having a net is vital for the safe and quick return of your quarry.

We like: http://www.guideflyfishing.co.uk/product/nomad-native-net/

Leave (some) flies at home:

We are not saying to leave all your flies at home and fish with a bare hook. We all love having thousands of flies, it looks good and gives you something to buy in the tackle shop when you own everything. But for an enjoyable day on the water, it can be counterproductive. Faced with a large selection of flies one can spend more time deciding what fly to use than actually fishing. In reality, one only needs a few select patterns in varying weights and sizes to catch fish. We suggest picking out your favourite flies that you have confidence in and leave the rest at home.

If you want something to hold your favourite patterns and keep the weight down, we suggest: http://www.c-and-f.co.jp/c_and_f_e/accessories/fly_chest_patch/fly_chest_patch/cfa_50msf.html

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Must have good floatant for CDC:

With more and more dry flies featuring cul de canard as a primary material, having a good floating and knowing how to dry your fly can make a significant difference to the number of fish you catch.   Firstly stay well away from liquid floatants and CDC oils the reason CDC floats so well is due to the structure of the feathers, as soon as you put any kind of liquid on there it sticks the fibres together and warrants the fly fairly useless. When your fly does become logged with water we recommend first roughly drying the fibres with a piece of cotton (you can just use the shirt you are wearing) once the fibres look all nice and fluffy again apply a powder floatant and your good to go. If your fly has been in the mouth of a fish, then follow the same steps as before, but first wash the fly off in the water to get all of the mucus off. 

We recommend: http://www.huntsoriginal.co.uk/product/hunts-original-floatant

Leave your fly vest, sling pack, or anything similar at home:

We believe in the minimalism of fly fishing; it is one of the things that makes the sport so great. Yet we seem so quick to burden ourselves with bulky packs and vests which we feel the need to fill to the brim with things we simply don’t need. In reality, almost all fly fishing clothing whether it be waders, a wading jacket, or even a fishing shirt has enough storage for everything you need for an enjoyable day on the water. By cutting down what you take with you, you will find yourself feeling lighter and spending less valuable fishing time digging through pockets to find your favourite fly.

For a summers day on the water when you want to leave your wading jacket behind we like: https://www.simmsfishing.com/shop/shirts/guide-ls-shirt-marl-s17.html for men, and for the ladies: https://www.simmsfishing.com/shop/womens/women-s-big-sky-ls-shirt-2.html

A good pair of forceps should be to hand at all times:

Whether you are removing barbs from hooks or unhooking a hook that has taken the fly too well forceps are a must. (We find they are also extra useful for removing flies when caught in stinging nettles.)

If you don’t want to ruin your teeth and expose yourself to nasty water diseases then get yourself some nippers, don’t spend loads of money. (There is no point - a pair of nail cutters does the job just fine.)

We like http://www.orvis.co.uk/p/large-loop-scissor-forceps/5e59 they double as a pair of scissors which can be used instead of nippers.

We hope you find our haves and have-nots useful the next time you head out on the water, and if you take anything away from this we hope that it is to think about what you take with you on the water. Discard anything non-essential and we are convinced you will enjoy more quality time on the water.

If you want to know more about the exciting chalk stream fishing we have available, then don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Oscar Boatfield