I've always been a sucker for gadgets and accessories...With all of my hobbies, really. When it comes to fly fishing that's no different, but oh boy is there a lot to choose from! Whether you are a seasoned angler or just starting out, sometimes deciding what gear to buy can be overwhelming, trust me I know, I have accumulated a ton of fly fishing gear over the years! Some of which sits in my garage, collecting dust, and some that I use every time I'm on the water. In hopes of saving you the frustration of equipment malfunctions or having to spend money on trial and error product testing I have put together some of my GO-TO fly fishing accessories that I don't fish without! All three of these products have gone through extensive on the water use, testing, and wear and tear; in weather temperatures varying from 10 degrees to 90 degrees. Let's start this off with one of my favorite fly fishing accessories ever - the O'Pros Belt Clip Rod Holder. This might not seem like a "necessity" but after I started using it I understood right away why it's also called the "3rd Hand Rod Holder" - it is literally my third hand on the water! Whether I need to put my rod up to change my flies, use my wading stick while I am crossing a raging river, or even just for taking a photo, it is so nice not having to fumble around with my rod or hustle to the river bank. This can be attached to a wading belt but it's versatile so don't count out the 3rd Hand Rod Holder if you are wet wading or use a hip-pack, I use a hip-pack and attach it to the hip strap for quick access. I actually hadn't realized just how much I relied on this amazing accessory until I changed my hip-pack and forgot to move my Rod Holder over to my new bag- that was a rough day on the water!! I have become very accustomed to my "3rd hand" and love that the new version has a lock so that I have don't have to think twice while climbing a through a boulder field or running down the river to net my friend's fish!
Another must-have is from one of my favorite fly fishing brands, Yakoda, all of their gear is innovative, affordable and the quality is top notch! The first product I bought of theirs and one I recommend often are the Guide Laces. They are available in several colors and I love being able to add a little color and personality to my generic waders and boots. They also have two options for sizes, 72" and 84", I like the longer ones for my wading boots and the shorter ones for my hiking boots - ya that is right, I have a pair on anything big enough for at least a 72" lace - that's how much I love this laces! The first pair I bought I used for over 300 days on the water and the only reason I needed new ones was because a fish ran between my legs and my top fly in a tandem rig got caught on the lace so I had to cut it to remove it. My second pair is well into 200 days on the water, still working great and look brand new! Prior to using Yakoda Guide Laces I not only had to frequently replace my laces but a lot of times the laces would loosen and come undone as I walked or especially after getting in the water - which was particularly frustrating in the Winter - but with these laces once I tie them up I don't touch them again until I am taking my boots off at the end of the day.
Next up is the Simms' Taco Wader Bag, another item I didn't realize I needed until I got one! Not only does the Taco Bag comfortably hold my waders and boots, it also doubles as a dry area to stand on while changing in and out of my waders, protecting the neoprene on my booties from getting holes and preventing mud and snow from getting all over my socks or clothes. I have seen a lot of different techniques when it comes to changing in and out of waders, everything from doing the one-legged "pogo" dance, to DIY solutions such as using a door mat, to simply using fly fishing specific wader changing mats, but nothing has impressed me more than the Simms' Taco Bag, especially because it's multi-functional. If you are wondering why they chose the "taco" design (half circle) it's because when the bag is unzipped it opens up into a perfect circle, providing ample room to stand and change comfortably. There is nothing better at the end of a long day than to just hop on, gear down, zip it up, and throw the bag in the truck - keeping all of my wet gear in one place. If you are looking for a bag for your waders and boots I'd definitely suggest picking up the multi-functional Simms'Taco Bag that serves as both a travel bag and provides a dry, clean place to change in and out of waders.