Gear Guide 2012: Fly-fishing Gear

An affordable starter kit for backcountry anglers

ROD AND REEL

LUMBAR PACK

FLY BOX

[rod and reel]

Redington Voyant Outfit


Choosing a rod, reel, and line can seem as boggling (and shockingly pricy) as assembling a home entertainment system. No more. Redington makes it easy to get into this notoriously complicated (yet ironically meditative) sport by offering complete kits, each including leaders and a cloth-covered rod tube. “The backing, line, and leader are prespooled too,” says our tester. “All I had to do was strap this four-piece kit to my pack and hit the trail.” Our tester praised the four-weight Voyant’s fast, snappy action after landing eight brown trout on Colorado’s Big Thompson River. All rods are nine feet long and available in four, five, six, or eight weight. Bummer: The rod tube is heavy. $300; 8.9 oz.; redington.com

[lumbar pack]

Fishpond Dragonfly Guide LTE Chest/Lumbar Pack


“It disappears in my overnight pack and can even pull double-duty as a waist pack for short dayhikes near home,” says our tester of this 300-cubic-inch-capacity fly pack. The main compartment swallows a fly box, tippet spools, tools, a shell, a camera, and snacks—the perfect size for a day on remote waters. Compression straps help dial in hip fit, while a shoulder strap prevents the pack from sagging; wear it front-facing for easy access or rear-facing to keep it out of the way. Killer feature: A stiff, zippered “fly bench” folds down so you can easily sort and change flies on the go. Nitpick: The two water bottle pockets are only big enough for bike bottles. $90; 1 lb.; fishpondusa.com

[fly box]

Montana Fly Company Plastic Fly Box


Never confuse a drab fly box with a fishing buddy’s identical model again. This series of brightly colored storage containers is covered with trout-inspired artwork by Tennessee artist A.D. Maddox. “But it’s more than just a pretty box,” says a tester who used one while fishing alpine streams in Rocky Mountain National Park. “It’s light, not much bigger than your hand, and its 12 foam rows and compartments hold enough flies, beads, lures, and weights to handle virtually any water conditions and hatch.” $20; 4 oz.; montanafly.com