All that fishing gear
What's in your bag and how much does it all really weigh?
Have you ever wondered how much weight you carry with you when fishing? Or have you counted how many items you need to remember and take care of. After a long day of lugging it all around with you, miles away from
anywhere, you just might start to feel the weight on your drained body. Check out what our Toni has on, and with him, and his thoughts on continuously optimizing it all for the future.
All laid out
The dry weight of all the equipment I need for fishing is 8.5 kilos at the moment. That is pretty much, especially if you think it does not contain other essentials like backpack and its contents: camera, smartphone, meals, food preparation stuff, cigars, and chocolate. Moreover, after a damp rainy day or racy wading, most of the items will become wet and more heavier.
Roll over the interactive image above to see what's what.
Obviously, you can't do a lot without the basics like rod, reel,lines and flies. But in reality, if you really want to do serious fly fishing, you'll need to have almost fifty other items on you. Or at least I do. Boots and waders are needed for wading and getting the most out of your surroundings. Proper underwear and layering to keep you warm. Waterproof jacket is needed for rainy days, and a mosquito net is needed for, well, mosquitos. To secure the potential catch, you need a landing net, spare leaders and extra tippet line. On top of all these, you need dozens of other small stuff for more special needs.
Optimizing the weight
As the basic set up (above) is pretty much fixed, the number of things you carry on or with you cannot be decreased significantly. This means you should focus on optimizing the weight and size of each article you carry or wear. In my experience, the heaviest items by far are the wading stuff: the stick, waders and boots. These also offer the most possibilities in terms of cutting down the weight. For example, I replaced my old boots with new lighter ones, managing to cut-off 498g of dry weight. As the boot material absorbs less water, the actual difference in use is even higher.
The next item I'm planning to replace is the Vision wading staff, which in my opinion is too heavy for what it is. If I can find significantly lighter one - the potential for weight saving is quite big.
The carry system for flies etc, although not really a weight issue, is something I have been fine tuning probably for as long as I have been fishing. I use a chest pack at the moment, but feel that it's probably going to change to something else soon.
Flies and boxes
Luckily, the most numerous items, flies, are practically weightless. However, with flies, the challenge is how to organize them. I'm too lazy to rearrange my flies every time I go fishing, so I have quite an arsenal always on me.
The Four boxes, I carry, are organized by the contents of them. For streamers and leeches, I have a plastic transparent box. For bigger dry flies, like my favorite fly Nalle Puh, I have an aluminum box with separated compartments. My coolest box is made of bamboo, and it holds smaller wet flies, like nymphs and pupas. Since I fly quite lot in the Northern waters, I need lots of small dry flies. That is the reason why I have a specific box for them. Currently, it is occupied mainly with superpupans and the like.
The choice of carry system for flies and tippets (mentioned earlier), for me at least, is limited by this need for several boxes. -They are just too numerous to be carried, for example in my pockets.
Like in trekking, hiking and so on, layered clothing under the waterproofs work extremely well for fly fishing.
When I started fly fishing, I was wearing mostly underwear made of cotton (T-shirts and the like). I noticed it being a huge mistake -the moisture did not go anywhere, and I ended up freezing cold more often that I wanted. These days I'm wearing modern layered synthetic underwear and mid-layer clothing. The base layer made of synthetic fabrics handles the moisture, and the second layer (fleece) insulates me from the cold water and weather.
These modern (technical)clothes for layering are light and pack down to a small size when not needed - I Highly recommend!
So, Have a look at how much stuff and weight you carry with you when fishing. Do you have more than my 8.5 kg on you? Is it too much?
The next time you are replacing or upgrading your gear down the local fly shop, have a think about it....after all, less weight is less weight!