Written by: Robert Morselli
The first time, I took along the correct rods, but wrong reels and lines. Real smart, I know. Yes, I fished, but felt like a complete dope the entire day.
The second time, I arrived at my fishing destination—far, far away from any supply shop—and discovered that I didn’t have a single tippet spool with me. In full panic mode, I rushed to see if I had left anything on one of the two the reels I brought and. . .yes! . . .there was a bright, shining leader on one of them: almost seven-and-a-half feet of what was originally a ten-footer. I fished that day, knowing full well that I wouldn’t be changing my fly anywhere near as often as I’d have liked to (four or five changes, total). By day’s end, I was fishing a pitiful six-footer that could barely fit any but the largest hook eyes. I caught a few fish, but it was a very frustrating day.
Lesson learned: forgetting even small items, such as leaders, can really mess up your day.
Some people just take everything with them all of the time and never have anything missing, something I’m not entirely opposed to, except that I fit in the middle-of-the-road category of anglers, when it comes to gear. I’m not a minimalist, but I try hard to lighten the load of my vest or pack; my personal limit is 36 ounces (1,000 grams). So I took three minutes to type out a checklist that I now take one minute to review every time I leave the house. It’s sixty seconds well invested. Believe me now, or believe me later…
Some items are optional or do not apply, but they’re all there – whether you’re boating or wading.
spare fly rod
sling pacl/fishing vest/chest pack
split-shot / indicators
tippet spools (with tippet material wound on!)
forceps/needle nose pliers
towels (one wet/one dry)
contact lens stuff
cooler + icepacks
extra socks, underwear, pants, t-shirt
compact camera (battery charged up?)
food & drink
And don’t forget to check your vest/pack supplies regularly: pulling that last 9.25 inches of tippet from a spool is frustrating. No – scratch that – make that infuriating.
Robert Morselli is the research director for the television show “How It’s Made.” A compilation of Robert’s fly fishing articles can be found at Fly Fishing Insider.