Sooner than you may think, the warm air of summer will begin to give way to the cool fall mornings and on into the bite of winter. At times I have to laugh at myself as I begin my change of season. Every year about this time, my wife starts to weed out her summer clothing that goes into storage and she begins to sort through her fall apparel to see what she will need to purchase as the season is upon her. I used to roll my eyes as I would watch her go through these complex gyrations…. trying things on, posing in the mirror…. It just seemed a bit well…. silly?
Well my hypocrisy knows no bounds…. As I prepare for the fly fishing change of seasons, I find myself going through the exact same exercise. What gear stays? What gear goes? What do I need to purchase? Bass streamers, carp flies and the like give way to trout boxes, tube flies, etc…
So why do I bring this up? So often we forget some of the most important things as the season changes until we get on the water and we are cursing ourselves for not being more prepared. So here is a list of things you might not have thought of that have at one point or another saved my day or burnt me to the ground.
- Fingerless wool gloves
- These are perfect for cold fall mornings. They are not as heavy and cumbersome as fleece winter weight gloves but are just warm enough to keep your hands from feeling the sting of cold water and cold morning air… buy two pairs!
- Standard buffs are not just for the sun. They do a great job keeping the chill off of your neck and face, especially if you are in for a long boat ride or standing in a stiff wind. Pull them up over your hat and they keep your ears toasty warm as well. Sun comes up? No worries, stuff it in your pocket or pack and you are ready to rock.
- Emergency Pack
- I never used to pay much credence to packing a ton of extra clothes until my buddy CW took a swim in the Yough when it was 20 degrees outside and he was fishing alone. I now keep an old back pack with a full first aid kit, old fleece tights and top, hat, socks, blanket, and base layer. I know it sounds like a lot but it serves two purposes. The first is the obvious… a poorly placed wading step can end your day if you don’t have it. The less obvious is someone always forgets something so if you have a spare in the car at all times, you are covered.
- Yellow Lens Polarized Glasses
- Remember, your days are getting shorter so the likelihood of fishing in low light gets greater and greater. Despite this, you will still need to cut glare as the sun rises and sets and eye protection is a must so if you don’t have these in your arsenal, you don’t know what your are missing. They are also stellar for those overcast fall days.
- Check the cleats on your boots!
- If you have boots with replaceable studs, make sure you check for missing or worn studs. Traction as things get frosty is your friend and nothing is more of a bummer than realizing that you took a swim because your studded boots weren’t so studded anymore.
- Old Tippet
- If you have mono that has been sitting on your vest or pack since last year, throw it away! Yes, I know money is tight these days, but mono degrades and breaks down. Don’t lose the fish of a lifetime over a few dollars. If you have flouro, you are OK to keep it as it has a much longer shelf life than traditional mono.
- Rusty Hooks
- News flash, waterproof fly boxes sometimes aren’t all that waterproof and even if they are, moisture has a way of getting into the darndest places. I pulled out a fly box that I hadn’t touched since last year and was a bit dismayed to find that most of my hooks were rusted and basically trashed. I must have waded deep, not realized it and forgot to air dry the flies at the end of the day. Sometimes you won’t even notice until you pull the fly from the foam. Check your flies!
- Hiking back to the car in the dark can be daunting, especially if you are out exploring new waters. If you already carry a small LED head light then you are ahead of the curve. If you don’t, get one. Make sure you check your batteries before heading out. As shocking as it may be, it won’t do you any good with dead batteries.
- Beanie Hat
- The great part about beanie hats is that they can be worn on their own or if it is super sunny out you can pull one on over top of your long brim fishing hat. My personal preference is a micro fleece lining with a stretch outer shell
- Fly Line Change Over
- All fly line will crack over time. Make sure that you have checked your line thoroughly. If it is not up to snuff, bite the bullet and switch it up. Also, if you fish warm water lines, you may want to explore cold water or all season lines as they will behave much much better for you as the temps start to drop.
- Hand Warmers
- I always carry a box of these in the car. They are relatively inexpensive, disposable, and a total life saver on a cold day.
- Repair any pinhole leaks in your waders
- It is one thing to have a damp foot in the summer. It is a whole other ball of tippet in the fall and winter. Take the time to test your waders and make sure you are not taking on water for something that can be a really easy fix. If you are not sure how to do this, stop up to the shop or give us a call and we are happy to help.
I’m sure there are a dozen things I’m forgetting, but this should give you a great start on getting your gear turned over for the cooler months. Remember, if you gear up correctly and dress appropriately, you can fish 12 months a year! Give us a shout or visit and we are happy to help with any question you may have.
Tight Lines and Loos Pants,