I have discovered that the saying, “You can never have too much gear,” is especially true for those of us who enjoy fly fishing in saltwater.
This really becomes apparent if you are fly fishing in a location that does not have a fly shop within 100 miles. Therefore, if something breaks, or gets lost, never having too much gear becomes a trip saver. For me, this is where the power of two becomes an absolute must.
Let’s start with the four most important items for any fly fishing trip: rod, reel, line and backing. I have confirmed, once or twice, that fly rods are magnetically attracted to closing screen doors and ceiling fans. Hence, I always take two, and sometimes three fly rods. It is amazing how expensive the rental for your best fly-fishing buddy’s extra rod gets.
Reels also have an interesting characteristic, they don’t float. This is usually discovered while attempting to put a reel on your rod in a wave-pitched boat. So, in addition to having a reel for both of my rods, I also have a spare with me. An extra line and spool of backing is something most fly fishermen don’t think about bringing. Fly line, similar to fly rods, has a magnetic quality. Only it is drawn to props turning at high speeds. Backing usually becomes separated from the reel because of a poorly tied knot or sharp coral. Lose one, or both of those, and your day comes to an end. Take your extra line and backing on the boat.
Polarized sunglasses are a must. Even sunglasses hung securely around your neck by a Chum can come loose. And like reels, they don’t float. If purchasing two pairs of prescription polarized sunglasses is a budget buster, get a pair of fitovers or flip-ups to use with your regular glasses. Being able to see that 10-pound bonefish is important.
Sun protection for areas some people never think about protecting is very important. I always wear sun gloves and a buff. If a glove flies out of the boat while running to a flats area, or your laundry bag eats your buff, a backup is needed. Gloves and buffs are light and easy to pack; I might go to the power of three for these. Hats fall into the sun protection area. I wear a baseball cap while the boat is taking me to a fishing location, and then switch to a big floppy straw hat to fish. Again, taking an extra ballcap is easy to do.
Wading on the flats is a great way to fly fish. You’re not stumbling from one polished rock to the next, and the water is warm. But, in order to do this, a pair of flats boots is necessary. Flats boots come in two styles: One has a zipper on the side; the other laces up. If you have the zippered style, you’re OK with only one pair of boots. If you have a pair that laces up, an extra pair of laces is needed. Trying to replace a broken lace with leader is not satisfactory.
I am always amazed how heavy solid objects don’t float. And, if you are able to retrieve the non-floating object, it won’t work. Such was the case with my cigar lighter. Matches don’t work in high winds; I will have a spare lighter on my next trip.
While going to the power of two won’t guarantee a successful trip, it will help. Just remember, it’s easier and more fun to unpack something you didn’t use than to talk to yourself on the long plane ride home about how you should have brought something that was left safe at home.
Reach Don Oliver at email@example.com.