The Best Fly-Fishing Gear of 2022
Leave the heavy lifting to these pieces
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Fly-fishing isn’t pipe smoke and tweed anymore. Nor is it sunburned behinds and poetic license. Modern fly-fishers are just as apt to float lazily down a popular river among scads of other anglers as they are to hike in five miles and fish a secluded headwaters stream. Their fishing gear needs to be comfortable, reliable, and easily able to carry their flies, tools, and foul-weather equipment. These items get the job done and more.
Simms G3 Guide Stockingfoot Waders ($600)
After months of bushwhacking through heavy brush, crawling over logs, and sliding down steep banks, the G3 emerged with nary a tear. No surprise: a new four-layer Gore-Tex fabric on the lower portion increases puncture resistance by 23 percent. These sturdy, versatile waders are perfect for shoulder-season outings and cooler summer days. (men’s XS–XXL / women’s XS–XXL)
Loon Outdoors Ergo Quick Release Tool ($19)
This 6.75-inch tool makes it easy to release trout and other midsize fish without touching them. Simply slide the notched cylinder down the tippet to the fly and twist your wrist, freeing the hook. If you’re likely to drop it in the water, opt for the easy-to-spot yellow-handled version.
Redington Aurora Boots ($160)
These lightweight women’s boots have added rubber on the toes for extra abrasion protection. For more traction, the sticky rubber soles can be enhanced with studs. (You can also opt for felt.) A somewhat rigid ankle and a tight lacing system offer excellent ankle support.
Redington Trout Field Kit ($390)
The star of this affordable beginner kit is an easy-casting graphite rod that handily delivers small dry flies and nymphs at distances of up to 60 feet. Be warned, however: this medium-fast action rod won’t launch size-two Sex Dungeons into a devil wind. A lightweight aluminum reel with a powerful carbon drag system and Rio’s weight-forward, frictionless SlickCast line round out the kit.
Patagonia Stealth Sling 10 Pack ($159)
The Stealth Sling is constructed from fully recycled nylon ripstop fabric with a protective polyurethane coating. Two magnetic and two Velcro fly-docking stations keep flies handy, while four interior pockets fit leaders and fly boxes. Three zippered storage areas offer enough space to stash a rain jacket and lunch, and an adjustable shoulder strap allows right or left orientation.
Fishpond Sagebrush Pro Mesh Vest ($160)
This mesh vest keeps you cool on the hottest summer days. It has 17 pockets, an easy-access net sleeve, a simple hands-free rod-carry system, and a drop-down silicone fly bench. It’s also compatible with several of Fishpond’s backpacks—you can remove the front of the vest and clip it into the pack straps—for days when you need a little more carrying capacity.
Simms Flyweight Access Men’s Boots ($250)
Rubber-soled wading boots have never competed with the superior grip of felt, until Simms’s Lightweight Access came along. It incorporates Vibram’s sticky sole technology, which latches onto rocks just as well as felt. The only disappointment: no women’s sizes (yet).