This is the third year I’ve prepared a wish list for fly fisher’s. If you read prior year’s lists, there are several items remaining, because I really believe these are great gifts! I hope you find something useful on the 2018 Fly Fisher’s Christmas list.
Many of these items can be purchased at your local fly shop and I encourage you to do so. But if you can’t find the item, here are links to Amazon (affiliate links) or websites where you can locate these products.
Ideas under $50
Frog’s Fanny (Retail $6 – $8) – This is the floatant I use. People always ask “will (fill in the blank) work as well”? I don’t know…I only use Frog’s Fanny. I like it for two reasons. First, the powder is very fine. Second, it comes with a brush to push the silica into the fly’s body and hackle to better float the fly. I explain how to use Frog’s Fanny in my RiverKeeper Soft Hackle Cripple fly pattern page.
Tippet Material and Holder (Retail $40) – Every fly fisher has a favorite leader brand and I’ve used Rio leaders and tippet for several years. When changing flies, the end of the leader (tippet) is removed and after several flies are cut off, the tapered leader is shortened and the end becomes larger. Tippet spools allow the fly fisher to replace the end. I use a lot of 6X tippet. (See my post Make your fly fishing leader last longer)
Mag eyes (Retail $20) – I didn’t used to need extra magnification to thread the leader through the hook eye, but these certainly help older eyes. Clipping them on the hat keeps them close, but out of the way.
CliC – reading glasses (Retail $30) – Here is another great option. I have four pairs of these glasses in different magnifications…from 1.75x to 3.5x. These glasses have magnets between the middle of each lens and can be found in 1.25 – 3.5 power. They fit around your neck so they’re always handy. The frames come in different colors as well. If you click on the link, it takes you to the 2x version. Other magnifications are available.
Net knots cards (Retail $5) – If you don’t have an opportunity to fish a lot, you might need assistance remembering how to tie a specific knot. Your new fly fisher will appreciate these cards, which fit in your pocket to assist with the popular knots.
Brass knot tyer (Retail $16) – My wife uses this tool every day she fishes. A great tool to have on a cold day too!
Hareline Amadou Fly Drying Patch (Retail around $20) – This is my newest, favorite accessory. Amadou is a natural tree fungus which quickly dries your flies. It works great for CDC flies as well. Squeeze your fly between the leather covered patches and the moisture is pulled from the fly. Your local fly shop can order the patch for you from Hareline.
Measure Net (Retail $40) – This light weight net takes the guess-work out of measuring fish. The “0” mark is in the middle, so just add two numbers together for overall length. Several sizes are available. I prefer the aesthetics of a wooden net, but this is a good choice for the price.
Suncloud Sunglasses (Retail from $49.99) – I always wear sunglasses when fishing and I’ve used Suncloud for a few years. I wear the brown lens for all my fishing, rain or shine. It works well in low-light conditions as well. I have a “normal” pair as well as a bifocal pair with 1.5x magnification.
Water Filter Bottles (Retail $35) – I’ve used a filter bottle for several years. I like the convenience of not packing several pounds of water, but I can fill the water bottle at any time to keep hydrated. Everyone should use one!
Nippers (Retail $8 to $16) Nippers are an essential tool I use every time I fish. There are many styles to choose from. Here is a larger nipper with rubber grips. And add a zinger to keep it handy on the vest.
Dr. Slick Mitten Clamps (Retail $22) – This is the tool I carry to crimp barbs and remove hooks from fish. This year, I lost the one I’ve carried for a long time. I think I placed it on the ground to release a fish. I’m replacing the lost one with a new one.
Gift certificate for fishing license – This gift is priceless! A fishing license is a gift that keeps on giving every day of the year. A great stocking stuffer!
Ideas from $50 – $200
Fly Line Gift Certificate (Retail approx $75) – Your fly fisher probably needs a new line, but is too cheap to purchase one themselves. There are too many to choose from and they probably have a favorite, so the gift certificate from your local fly shop is the best way to go.
Fishpond Medicine Bow Chest Pack ($70) – I normally fish with a waist pack and I’ve used it for several years. If you are looking to become more minimal, this is a pack to consider. It easily holds the basics – a fly box or two, leaders, tippet spools, and all your fly fishing tools. Check out other Fishpond fly fishing packs. I like packs this size for steelhead fishing.
Simms Wading Staff (Retail $100) – A wading staff is a necessity for many fly fishers. This fits into the category of “required” when wading deep or in the winter. Many fly fishers will not purchase one because of the price. Be sure to order the Wading Staff Retractor ($25) as well. It connects to your waders so it won’t float away. Other companies carry them, but be sure to get a sectional staff with a retractor attached.
Korker Wading Boots (Retail $199) – There are several great brands of wading boots available for the fly fisher, including Korkers, Simms, and Patagonia. These manufacturers have multiple boots and price points available. I’ve been using Korkers for several years and wear the Devil’s Canyon boots. I bought them 3 years ago. It’s time for a new pair after 300 days of use! I really like the BOA lacing system and ability to change soles. Yellowstone National Park has banned felt soled boots beginning in 2018. With my Korker Wading Boots, all I need to do is switch to a non-felt sole and I’m good to go. Most days, you’ll see me wearing my studded felt soles ($40). These boots are lightweight and comfortable.
Fishpond Cimarron Wader/Duffel Bag (Retail $170) – Wader bags are a wonderful way to store and keep track of waders, boots, and other fishing gear. There are a variety of bags (and price points) and this one does it all. It includes a separate bottom vented compartment for wet waders and boots. The top will hold clothes, packs, and vests or whatever else you pack along for your fly fishing adventures.
Snake River Net ($120 – $185) – Your fly fisher might need to upgrade their old net. Snake River Net Co. makes 6 different custom nets, using exotic hardwood and adds a fish-friendly net bag. These are beautiful nets! In fact, I bought a new lake net this year from them.
Ideas Over $200
The sky’s the limit here, but here are a few ideas.
Waders (Retail $400 – $500 or more) – These are great waders and I’ve used both of these brands. I wear a pair of Redington waders these days. While they are good and I wouldn’t hesitate to get another pair, the Simms product is a little more heavy duty.
Simms G3 Guide Stockingfoot Waders Retail ($500)
Redington Waders (from $175)
Fly Reel (Retail $200 – $500 ) – So many choices here…Lamson, Sage, Hardy, Abel, Ross, and one of my favorites – Galvan Torque. Any of those brands are terrific! Again, a gift certificate from your local fly shop is the way to go.
Fly Rods (Retail $200 – $2,000) – “You can never have enough” fly rods! I’ve been fishing my Winston BIIX fly rods for several years. Best fly rod I’ve ever owned. The Winston BIIIX has replaced my tried & true rod, but there are other models as well, like the LS. As with fly reels, there are several great rod makers out there…Sage, Redington, Echo, Beulah, Scott, Orvis…the list goes on. Or try an old school bamboo fly rod. Select a price-range and there’s sure to be a good rod in it. Your local fly shop can help select the right one.
Bamboo fly rod from Bamboo Pursuits (from $1,400)
My friend Dave Dozer builds beautiful pieces of art which he calls bamboo fly rods. I’ve highlighted his rods in previous years, but he is a true craftsman and if you are considering a ‘boo rod, give him a call for the specifics of owning a classic. If you’ve always wanted to build your own bamboo rod, Dave offers a class to accomplish that dream. Contact him at Bamboo Pursuits.
Olympus TG-5 Waterproof Camera
This is a newer version of the waterproof camera I take on all my fly fishing trips. It takes terrific overall pictures. In addition, I’ve added a FD-1 flash diffuser for close-up photography. Most of the photos on my RiverKeeper Flies website are from this camera. The other camera I use is a Nikon D7100. It’s a great camera, but the Olympus fits in my pocket…
Ideas under $50
Hooks (Retail $5 – $25) – Whether your fly tyer uses Daiichi, Tiemco, or the new Firehole Sticks, pick up a pack in quantities of 25, 50, or 100. They’re a great stocking stuffer. I always need hooks!
Slotted Tungsten Beads (Retail $7 to $20) – These beads are used for many of the Perdigon style nymphs. They are very effective.
Dr Slick Razor Scissors (Retail $30) – These scissors are the best I’ve ever used. Sharp with large finger holes, I like the 4″ version the best. My guess is your fly tyer’s scissors are dull. They will love these scissors!
Sparkle dun deer hair and Zelon (Less than $10) – You’ll have to order these from Blue Ribbon Flies in West Yellowstone, MT, but your fly tyer will be happy. This is where I purchase my deer hair for the dozens and dozens of Sparkle Duns I tie each year. They will select the right hair. Order their Mayfly Brown Zelon, which I use most of the time. Give them a call and let them know you heard it from me! They offer great customer service.
Dr. Slick Hair Stacker (Retail $18) – These are used to even the tips of different types of hair…deer…elk…etc. Many tiers have the medium size, but if you tie a lot of small flies below #16, I like to use the small version as the hair doesn’t seem to get lost. These hair stackers come in small (1.75″), medium (2″), large (2.75″) sizes. I like the brass finish version.
Renzetti Tool Caddy (Retail $25) – This foam caddy with holes is a handy item for the fly tyer. It will hold scissors, bobbins, head cement, tweezers, or any other tool and keep them organized and close at hand. I use mine constantly.
Solarez UV PRO “Roadie” Kit (Retail $30) – I’ve used a few UV resin products and this is the first one I found that doesn’t result in a tacky finish. The kit includes a UV flashlight along with thin, hard, and flex formulas. I also like their Ultra Thin formula.
Ideas over $50
Verilux Natural Spectrum Desk Lamp for fly tying (from $52) – You have to see in order to tie flies and this is the first part of the equation for success – the second half is glasses. I use this light everyday I tie.
Whiting Fly Introductory Pack (about $70)
Fly tyers always need quality feathers and it’s especially true for beginning tyers. Here is an easy way to help them get the quality feathers they need. Select a grizzly and brown for the beginners wanting to get started.
Fly Tying Vise (Retail $170 – $200) – I would be remiss if I didn’t include a new vise for the fly tyer. There are several great brands to choose from including Regal and Norvise, but I tied on a Renzetti Traveler 2000 for several years and really liked it. I now have the Presentation 4000 model. Purchase one with the base and they’ll be able to tie anywhere. They make them in right- and left-hand models. Check out the Traveler 2200 or 2300 models.
Books are always a great present. Rather than provide a complete list of books here, check out my favorites on the Fly Fishing and Fly Tying page. Here are a couple favorites.
The Founding Flies ($25) – I received this book last year for Christmas! Mike Valla does an excellent job providing a history of fly tyers in America. He presents 43 American Masters and the flies they created. A great read. (For other book ideas, visit my Fly Fishing and Fly Tying Book page.) This book is one of my sources for Throw Back Thursday Flies.
The North Country Fly ($50) – Robert L. Smith provides the wonderful history of soft hackle flies. There are many color pictures and Smith includes fly pattern sheets as well as substitute materials to tie the classics. I really enjoy my copy! (For other book ideas, visit my Fly Fishing and Fly Tying Book page.)
Custom RiverKeeper Flies
Last but not least, order some Custom RiveKeeper Flies for your fly fisher or even yourself! I can help select the right flies. Contact me by leaving a Comment below.
That’s it for the 2018 Fly Fisher’s Christmas List. I hope you are able to share the list and get what you want this Christmas season. Your fly fisher will be happy with many of these items.
(John Kreft is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.)