Essential items for summer trouting
Summer trouting can be challenging but the weather and surroundings are at their best. Here are a few essential items we think you should have with you by the water.
The essence of summer fly fishing for trout to us at at Fish&Fly is being able to travel light with just the right amount of gear to be comfortable whether fishing or just taking a break.
Putting the selection of your favourite rod and reel to one side as that depends on the size of water and fish you are expecting to catch of course, what else would you typically take along with you for a days fishing? We asked our friends at Sportfish - Online Fly Fishing Superstore this same question and together came up with this selection of items to help make the perfect day on the water!
Trout bag - whether it is a classic Hardy style, one of the very similar Brady line of bags or even a more modern equivalent, if you are long-in-the-tooth like some of us then you will have probably have started with a bag like this to carry all your bits and bobs with you. Fly vests are great but come summer they are another layer to trap heat and they cannot typically carry larger items like the flask listed below. Sling a bag over your shoulder, pile everything in large and small and you are off! Look after them well and they will last for years.
Sunglasses - we all know the potential perils of sharp hooks flying around in the air and so a pair of sunglasses is a must-have item for any angler full stop! Polarised sunglasses are of course preferred, reducing glare and reflections and allowing us to see and target our quarry more efficiently. There are now a wide variety of price levels and even a relatively cheap pair will do a reasonable to good job these days, but for the top quality in optics and polarisation you really do get what you pay for. Try and compare brands if you can at a store like Sportfish in Reading where you can walk down to the lake right outside the door and see the difference - literally.
Hats and Caps - Nothing stops you getting a hook in the top of your head like a hat! Brimmed or baseball cap style, they also help shade your face from the sun (although always use sunscreen anyway). Top tip - if you fish from boats get yourself one of these very handy cap straps and never lose another hat overboard again!
Flask - what's the next best thing to actually fishing? Why taking a short break to reflect, refresh and regroup that's what! That's where a flask comes in handy. Just as good for carrying a chilled drink and keeping it cold as it is for your hot tea or coffee, we don't often leave home without ours.
Priest - if you are fishing for the pot or pan then you will need a priest to administer those last rites! There is a nice selection these days of the traditional weighted-horn types and more modern brass or steel varieties to suit all tastes and budgets. Just remember to give it a quick wipe on the grass or a towel afterwards to stop it stinking up your bag.
Bass bag - once you have your fish then what? You need to keep it cool and damp until you get a chance to get it home and you don't want it just sliding around in your fishing bag with all your gear. A bass bag is the answer and they are very affordable (don't use plastic grocery bags as they do not breathe and your fish will suffer in the summer heat. Put the fish inside and then you can leave it in the water preferably in a shady area, or wet it before placing it in the shade somewhere else while you carry on fishing. Just to be sure to keep it damp to help keep your catch fresh. When you are ready to head for home just have a plastic bag you can then slip the rolled up bass bag into and it can then go into your fishing bag without causing any mess.
Leader and Tippet - the choices are too many and varied to list as are opinions on which brands are best and it seems as if a new brand pops up every other month or so. Just be sure you have a variety of sizes/diameters/breaking strains in your bag to suit both the environment you expect to be fishing in but also to counter changing conditions or even having to go somewhere else than planned and turning up under or over-gunned.
Flies and Fly Boxes - having a good choice of flies to choose from always help most fly fishers to feel they will be likely to find one that will work on the day. There are others though that suffice with just a mere handful of patterns no matter what the weather or conditions throw at them. In either case keep your fly box(es) stocked up from time to time with your favourites (whether you buy them or make them yourself) as there is nothing worse than having the perfect hatch happening and not having your go-to pattern to use.
Fishing Net - while not an item for the bag, we all know that the best fish always come along when you don't have a net with you. Choose one that will suit the majority of your fishing and sling it on your belt, over your shoulder or off a D-clip on your bag or waders. You might not always need it but one day you'll be very glad of its extra security when netting that trophy fish.
What would you add to the list of "essential items" that you always take summer trouting?
Please add your thoughts in the comments section below and let's see what else you would add to the bag!
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