Fly Fishing Gear For Beginners – What you Will Need

fly fishing gear for beginners

Hello there, thanks for checking out this article about fly fishing gear for beginners. If you here then your are probably considering taking up the great outdoor sport of fly fishing.

You will need a few fly fishing items to ge started and you have come to the right place.

This article will go over the basics of what you’d need to take your first excursion out into the uncharted waters. The basics are a fly rod and fly reel, fishing line and backing, tippet and leader.

Of course you’ll need flies which are a hobby of their own if you tie them at home. Fly fishing is a great sport that will challenge you in a good way, here’s what you need to know.

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What Will I Need to Fly Fish?

As we have already stated above there are a few items that you can not go fly fishing without.

  • Fly Fishing Rod
  • Reel with Backing and Line
  • Fishing Flies and Fly Box

These are the must have fly fishing gear for beginners to get you started. Lets break these items down a little further so that you can have a better understanding of each.

Fly Rod Setup for Beginners

The options for just the fly rod and reel are so numerous and come in a range of prices, the cheapest being around $50 up to $1000 and more.

The important thing to know about this is the specifications of weight and lengths, which are all different based on the environment you will be fishing in.

A great starting place could be buying a graphite rod. These are standard as opposed to fiberglass.

I would highly recommend getting something along the lines of a fly fishing combo. My first fly combo cost $200 and I still find myself using it to this day.

I have a whole article on choosing a fly rod if you need more information.

pinterest image fly fishing gear for beginners

The reel is far less important than the rod in fly fishing. You could always buy an inexpensive reel in the beginning and upgrade later.

The most reliable type of reel is a metal reel. The rod and reel must be matched by weight and you can buy a full set fly rod that has a rod and reel matched already and at a discounted price at certain retailers.

The numbers for the fly rod and reel correlate to the size of the line that will be used with it. The lighter the line (smaller the number) the lighter the rod.

Recommended Fly Rods for Beginners

The fly rod is the most important piece of fly fishing gear for beginners.

The following fly rods are ones that I have used before. These are not the only good options for beginners, there are many great option on the market. These rods are in no particular order.

1. Redington Fly Fishing Combo Kit 590-4 Crosswater Outfit with Reel 5 Wt 9-Foot 4pc

Redington fly fishing combo kit

Redington makes a great fly rod no matter the price. These rods come in a 4,5,6,8,and 9 weight setups ranging from 7’6 – 9′ in length. This comb also comes with a spooled reel already. All that is needed is to tie on your leader and fly and get to catching! This Redingotn also comes with a limited 1 year warranty.

2. Wild Water Fly Fishing 9 Foot, 4-Piece, 5/6 Weight Fly Rod

Wild Water fly fishing combo kit

Best used for trout, pan fish, and bass, this 5/6 weight fly rod is another great option for beginners. Not only does this fly rod setup come with a few more extras than the Redington, but its slightly cheaper also.

The Wild Water fly fishing combo kit come with a spooled reel, leader, flies and a fly box. The ultimate value of these items does not equal much, however, this setup comes ready to fish right out of the packaging.

3. MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch Extreme Fly Fishing Combo Kit 3/5/6/8 Weight

maximimcathc fly reod setup

The Maximumcatch is the most wallet friendly pick of the three fly rods here. This fly rod comes in a 3,5,6, or 8 weight options. Like the Wild Water fly rod setup this one comes turn key and ready to catch fish. The Maximumcatch also comes with many accessories including flies, a fly box, and rod holder. What I like the most about this option is the aluminum reel. Aluminum is light weight allowing a beginner fly fisherman time to build up the arm strength without tiring out too fast.

What is Fly Line – Backing , leader, and tippet

Where as the reel may not be vital in fly fishing, the fly line is. it is one of the key elements involved in the cast.

There are varying types of fly fishing line for various types of flies and fishing techniques.

Fly Backing

Fly backing is used to fill the reel behind the fly line. This attaches directly to the arbor on the fly fishing reel.

fly line backing

Backing adds some weight to improve casting but also Strategically the weight of the backing is designed so that it can be cast further into the water.

It is usually made of a floating material called dacron and in some cases is highly visible.

Fly backing is also a very strong material. When fishing for larger species that tend to “run” on us, we sometimes find ourselves relying on the backing to fight the fish.

Fly Fishing Line

The next most important component after the line backing the line itself.

Fly fishing lines come in a variety of sizes 1-14. The higher the number the more the weight.

Piscifun fly fishing line

Simply put, the smaller the line weight the small the fish. As an example, 1wt Fly line would be used for small pan fish or small native trout in the 4-8 inch range.

Consider if you will need floating line, weight forward, or sinking line. This will be based off of the types of flies you will be using and there applications.

Fly Fishing Leader

Fly fishing leaders are often misunderstood. Too many times have I seen anglers using the wrong fishing leaders and it gravely affects the cast.

Fly fishing leaders are made of monofillament or fluorocarbon materials. As your starting out use monofilament. It is easier to work with.

Now leaders come in varying sizes but they do have one common trait. Fly leaders taper from the base that attaches to the fly line, down to the tip that attaches to the fly.

The last 2-3 feet of a fly leader has a uniform diameter. This is to allow the fishing fly to act natural during the presentation. The smaller uniform diameter also helps disguise the fly line.

Rio fly fishing leader


Fishing Flies for Beginners

Here is where the rubber meats the road!

An article about fly fishing gear for beginners would not be complete without including some flies.

When talking about fishing flies there are three main kinds to be concerned with.

  • Dry Flies
  • Wet Flies
  • Streamer Flies

Each has its own purpose. Learning what flies to use will be integral to you fishing success.

Dry Flies

Dry flies are iconic in the world of fly fishing. The most popular by far by many fisherman because you can visually see the fish take the fly. This provides for instant gratification when first starting out.

royal wolf fishing fly

These flies consist of mayflies, caddis flies, stone flies, grasshoppers, and midges just to name a few. They imitate these creatures very well when conditions are right.

They are best used in dry weather conditions, which also allows them be seen sunny weather. Warmer weather, even if its just a warm spell in fall, can sometimes trigger a hatch.

If you have ever been out on the water and noticed a lot of the “bugs” flying near the water, chances are you are witnessing a hatch.

Simply Identify the size and color of the hatch and do your best to match that with your fly. This is referred to as “match the hatch”.

Wet Flies

Wet flies are also known as nymphs. Often times nymphs resemble aquatic creatures such as larvae.

Nymphs may not be as popular as a dry fly when it comes to notoriety. Wet flies however account for catching much more fish that dries.

march brown wet nymph

A fishes diet will consist of 90 percent insects. Many of these insect live below the surface of the water and cant not be seen by simply standing on the bank.

Wet flies can be beaded or non beaded and come in a variety of sizes.

Some of my favorite flies include,

  • Copper John
  • Prince Nymph
  • Midges
  • Hairs Ear Nymph
  • Pheasant Tail Nymph

These are universal flies that tend to work well everywhere I have fished.

Streamer Flies

Streamers are designed to imitate some of the larger life forms in the water. They can imitate smaller bait fish or leaches. Because of this streamers tend to be a big fish fly.

woolly bugger fishing fly

Streamers can be fishing in a multitude of ways.

  • Strip
  • Drift
  • Jig
  • Swing

One fly that most fly angler will agree that catches fish is the woolly bugger. This simple streamer has been catching fish for years and will continue to do so into the future. This is most likely due to its simple design that allows its small tail like portion to move in the water column.

Try fishing a woolly bugger on your first fly fishing adventure. Vary good chance it will land you your first fish.

Recommended Fishing Flies for Beginners

The following are three flies that I will always have in my box. Obviously there are more flies than just these three that catch consistent fish. You will have to learn and experiment as your learn how to fly fish and see what works best for you.

These Flies will work in almost any freshwater conditions.




Surface fly that works great for all species of trout. 

Sub surface fly great for freshwater fishing. 

Sub surface fly imitating larva.

Fly Fishing Gear You Should Wear

If you have watched anyone fly fish chances are they had some for of wearable fishing gear on.

Like a carpenter needs his tools, so does a fly fisherman.

These various tools will include

  1. Fishing Waders
  2. Fly Fishing Lanyard
  3. Tippet Keeper
  4. Fly Box
  5. Fishing Net
  6. Sunglasses

These are just a few of the items really. I know it can seem overwhelming but these items will help you in the long run.

Conclusion – Fly Fishing Gear for Beginners

pinterest image fly fishing gear for beginners

Now that you have a basic understanding of the basic fly fishing gear for beginners, we can begin to move on to other topics such as Fly Casting Basics and How Does Fly Fishing Work.

Do you have some essential fly fishing gear that was not mentioned in this article? Drop a comment down below and let us know.

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