Rockagator Contributor, avid fly fisher and bow hunter Bridget Fabel details how she organizes her backpack for the perfect day out on the river.
Fly fishing is a beautiful sport that requires practice and skill. I’ve been hiking and fly fishing for many years now and have always been in search for the perfect fly fishing pack. When hiking to fish, you need something that will carry all your gear and protect it simultaneously.
Keep Your Options Open
I’m the type of person that brings every fly that I own with me, every time I go fishing. Sometimes fish are picky, and I’ve learned that the second you leave one of your fly boxes behind you will wish you had that one fly from it with you because you know it would work. Because of this, I often have about 12 different fly boxes on me while hiking and fishing.
After that, I bring tippet. Ninety percent of the time I use 5x tippet, but just in case I usually have spools of 6x to 0x on me, as well as various pre-tied tapered leaders.
Indicators can also be very important for nymphing. Depending on the weight and style of the nymph I’m using, different indicators may work better than others. For heavier, tungsten bead head Nymphs I use larger, more bobber style indicators. For small, weightless or light weight Nymphs I use sticker indicators because they cast easy and create less of a vibration when they hit the water.
Lights, Camera, Action
A non-negotiable to my pack is camera gear. Since I’m active on YouTube and Instagram, getting the right “shot” is important to me. I always have a handheld camera, GoPro, and tripod on me while fishing. Sometimes I bring spare batteries or remotes as well.
Rod and Reel
Nine times out of ten my go to is a 9 foot 6 weight fly rod and reel set up with floating line. If I’m kicking around in a float tube I always have a second rod behind me next to my pack, a 9 foot 7 weight with type 3 sinking line. Again, keeping my options open so that I'm ready for as many situations as possible.
Last but not least, a net! A good net with a long handle is one of the most important things to have on you while fishing. Landing a fish on tiny flies and light line is way more difficult than getting him to eat. Having a net on you at all times helps insure a smooth landing for your fish.
Pack it Up!
All the items above slide right into my pack. There was one time this spring where I was even able to carry my float tube on my Rockagator Hydric Backpack. All the gear listed above holds tons of value. In order to protect your gear you need a pack that will hold up against all of mother nature’s most brutal elements.
I’ve lost cameras in backpacks to hailstorms and rainstorms before I owned a waterproof backpack. I’m often fishing around 11,000 feet in elevation where Mother Nature changes her mind, quite often. One minute it’s sunny and 80 degrees, the next there’s close lighting and hail the size of golf balls! Weather in the mountains can be unpredictable and it’s important to be well prepared.
I love fishing with a water-tight backpack because I can use it to protect the items that I know cannot get wet. Warm clothes to survive the storms are no good if they are drenched in water. Having a water proof pack to protect your valuables through any temperature or form of precipitation is necessary.
Enjoying the outdoors is about what makes you comfortable to stay out longer. Dry clothes, food, and gear all help the cause.