How Much should one spend on equipment?
How much should you pay to start out fly fishing? In an issue (8/06) of Fly Fishing Trade the editor, Kirk Deeter makes the following observation at page 8.
Fly fishing Costs Too Much.
So I took this as a challenge. In our area there is a lot of excellent gold medal public access water and the price of a license is $9 for the first day with an additional cost of $5 per day. So if you are already here I don't consider access an issue. You just have to get yourself here. The next question was whether we could equip a brand new angler sufficiently to get on to our rivers and catch a fish.
If you live close by any pond, lake or river which has some trout it should not be a difficult matter to get yourself started in fly fishing. First, always bear in mind that fly fishing is meant to be fun. In order to enjoy the fun it should not cost too much. Many of the products sold to fishermen are unnecessary to enable you to start off fly fishing. By this note we want to demonstrate how reasonably one might get into the sport with good equipment which will be perfectly serviceable for a beginner's needs. But first a few opening observations.
1. Should you talk to a fishing guide about equipment? Understand that guides get their equipment from various manufacturers at a fraction of the cost that you will have to pay, therefore they are generally not going to be giving you advice about equipment where they have stumped up their own cash to buy it. In addition, some guides will be paid a commission from a shop to sell you particular equipment. So bear these facts in mind when a guide is purporting to tell you what you should be buying. That is not to say that a guide may not give you good advice. Just bear these facts in mind as part of your due diligence when making your initial purchases.
2. In addition when talking to a guide remember is that his requirements for equipment won't be the same as yours. I fish at least 150 days a year. Sometimes for just an hour or so, other times, when floating I will spend a full day on the river. I knock equipment about a lot. I break several rods a year. I lose a lot of flies. And I don't guide. The full-time guides in our shop are even harder on equipment, particularly as they make their equipment available to their clients. So my requirements for equipment are going to be totally different compared to a person who likes to fish maybe 10 – 30 days a year.
So try to be as realistic as you can in assessing your equipment needs. If you are just new to the sport, then consider the type of equipment discussed in this article and work up from there. In time you will develop different preferences depending on the conditions in which you fish. Then when you have a little experience you can try out different equipment and then make a better informed decision when making a purchase.
I gave 2 of our guides a challenge. To see if they could come up with a realistic package which would completely fit out a new angler for under $500. It had to be complete enough to enable the angler to be able to catch fish in our water without having to buy another item except a fishing license. The 2 guides went through their vests and listed every item which they considered essential without exception.
We have just updated this list [April 2012] to reflect current prices and note essentially that in 3 years it is still possible to buy a complete setup for less than $500. Thus the cost of going fly fishing has largely remained unchanged from an equipment purchasing view for 3 years. In addition the quality of the rods available have increased quite dramatically.
What is even more remarkable is that since we started this list, the prices have actually reduced. The Wildwater rod package has a lifetime guarantee which offers a remarkable deal to the starter. It is amazing.
|Rod and Reel Package with line.
We have now introduced a new rod
package from WildWater. It contains
a rod, reel, fly line, backing, leader,
rodcase and small fly box with a life
|Waders. Adams Bilt. Breathable.
|Fish Pimp- Fly Sauce
|Pinch on Strike indicators
|Tippet. - #4, #5 and #6 Ump -
|2 zingers to hold your nippers and
forceps onto your vest
|Vest. Pacific Fly
|Boots. Chota; Abrams Creek
|Split-shot - super doux selection
|Flies. $2.00 a piece. For your first purchase, assume that you will buy 1 dozen flies. In our shop we do a bakers dozen meaning that you would get 13 flies for the price of 12.
|Net. Adams Bilt
With the foregoing the only other things you will need to start fly fishing is a license, a pair of Polaroid sunglasses and maybe an extra lightweight jacket in case it rains. But we would assume that you would already have serviceable items which would suffice. If the weather gets colder you will need other layers for warmth. Those items can be purchased as you need them. However the object of this is merely to demonstrate that for a very reasonable sum of money you could equip yourself adequately to go onto our rivers tomorrow and catch good trout.
Now a simple question. Is the foregoing a reasonable way to start buying fly fishing equipment? I suggest there is an easy answer. Simms have waders which retail for about $700. Scott have a bamboo fly rod which will retail for about $2650. So for $3,350 you could have a rod with no reel and line and a pair of waders without the necessary boots. Or if you bought the entire package noted above, you would have enough money left over to buy yourself a (very) cheap second hand car with enough gas to get you to the river and back.
All the best.
"the best in Colorado Fly Fishing"