With so much gear out there, getting started in fly fishing can seem a tricky task but buying a starter outfit is a lot simpler than you might think. We caught up with England Youth Fly Fishing team member, James Penwright, and asked him what kit he would recommend for beginners of all ages and the reasons why you should have this kit in your tackle bag.
James’s Top Beginner’s Fly Fishing Tackle
Shakespeare Sigma Fly Fishing Kit
I chose this ready-to-go kit because it was the very first kit I used myself. It’s one of the best beginner‘s kits out there – great value for money, strong and versatile. I’ve had one for seven years and, although I have a lot more rods now, this one’s still in my collection!
Abu Compact Telescopic Folding Fishing Net
Fold-up nets are great and super convenient. They fit into the car nicely and you can carry them around all day without dragging the net on the ground. The Abu Compact is a great quality net at an affordable price. I wish I still had mine, but I lost it in a lake! Maybe it’s time to get a replacement!
Drennan Subsurface Green Monofilament Tippet
Tippet is a very important item for fly fishing because there is no way you can attach your flies onto your main fly line without it. Drennan Subsurface is strong, inexpensive and the 6lb breaking strain should be ideal to get you started on most stillwaters.
Sigma All Round Stillwater Set andSigma Dry Fly Set
I chose these two fly sets because they are versatile and they have just about everything you need to get started to cover as many conditions and environments as possible. They include buzzers, daddy longlegs, bloodworms, dry flies and lures. I’d buy both the dry and the stillwater sets as a starting point.
It’s important to have this when fishing dry flies. Run a bit of this mud up your leader to make it sink and prevent leader flash so the fish don’t see the leader and get spooked whilst coming up to take your dry fly. A great tactic!
This little bottle will also be pretty useful when fishing dry flies because, when applied to the fly, it won’t sink. This will allow the fly to sit in the surface film nicely – enticing the trout to come up and gulp it in. Watching fish take a dry fly is really exciting, especially on a summer evening!
James at the Sportfish Game Fishing Centre in Reading
Leeda Profil Fly Box
These are great starter fly boxes for two reasons – Firstly you can choose which colour you like and secondly, they have a clear lid so you can easily see which flies you want to use instead of opening the lid each time. Very useful to stop you dropping and losing flies until you get used to handling them!
Sportfish Gold Loop 5.5in Scissor Plier
I’ve chosen these scissor pliers for when the fly is hooked in an awkward place and is tough to get at. These are easy to handle, and if the fish has taken the fly deep you can get it out without injuring it. They have scissors behind the pliers to help you cut leader material and change flies too, so are two tools in one.
Fish Pimp Strike Indicators
I’ve put these on my list because they work great with some of the flies that come in the Sigma pack e.g. buzzers and bloodworms. When these patterns are fished static, or moved slowly, an indicator means you are able to see the actual bite and to keep your flies fishing at the right depth. This makes it very exciting to watch and is a great technique for beginners or people moving from coarse to fly fishing.
Sportfish Guideline Keel Sunglasses
These are a MUST when fly fishing for two reasons. Firstly, to keep your eyes safe so you don’t end up with hooks in them and secondly, to allow you to see the fish better through the water thanks to the polarised lenses. Glasses for safety should always be worn when fly fishing, even if you’re an experienced angler.
Aquapac Waterproof Keymaster Pouch
I put this item on my list because a lot of us kids these days have very expensive phones! Keep any valuables like phones, money and keys in here and BAM! – they are instantly waterproof!