A while back, Pops published an article about getting into bass fishing for $200.00 (read that article here). I was very intrigued by this idea—getting people started in a great sport for a minimum initial investment. I wanted to do the same thing with fly fishing, but was a little stuck.
$200 for a good fly fishing set up was just a little too ambitious. When I started looking at equipment, and playing with the numbers though, I realized it could be done for less than $500. Fly fishing requires a few pieces of equipment that bass fishing does not, and thus the slightly higher price tag.
After figuring out that $500 was possible, I then looked back at my initial investment when a good friend introduced me to the sport. I spent over $900 on my initial investment.
When you look at it that way, $500 seems much better! So here it is, a way to get involved and learn fly fishing without breaking the bank!
Fly Rod And Reel: St. Croix Rio Santo
I have reviewed the St. Croix Rio Santo in the past. I don’t just give it my endorsement based on it’s affordable $200.00 price tag. I actually own one, and use it 30+ times per year.
When you purchase the combo, you are getting a lot for your money. Not only do you get a quality St. Croix rod and reel, but you also get backing, line, and tapered leader—along with a good travel case.
This really is a great way to get started, and will serve you on your fishing adventures for many years to come. So, our current total is $200.00.
Waders: Bass Pro Whitewater Waders
Waders are a funny thing. They can range in price from under $50, all the way up to nearly $1000.00. In fact, I have written about waders in different price ranges before (read that fly fishing waders post).
When you are just getting started, you don’t need to take out a mortgage or save up your money for months on end to get a quality product. The Bass Pro White Water Wader is a great solution for a reasonable price. At only 99.99, they fall into a very affordable end of the spectrum, yet still give you good enough quality to last several seasons of fishing.
So with the Rio Santo, and these waders, we are now up to $300.00.
Boots: Simms Freestone Wading Boot
Boots are one place I don’t pinch pennies. Since you are going to spend your entire fishing day on your feet, and usually wading in rivers, you need a pair that will be comfortable, and at the same time provide good traction on slippery rocks.
I’ve used dozens of boots over the years, and any time I’ve tried to skimp on this expense, I’ve paid for it. I’ve fallen in the water, gone home with hurt feet and crunched toes, and generally just had a great fishing trip ruined.
I now use Simms Freestone’s exclusively. At 129.99, they aren’t the cheapest out there, but where them on one trip and you will see why I feel so strongly about having great boots.
With this investment, our total is now $430.00.
Odds And Ends: Flies And Accessories
Now, we have $70 left to play with before hitting our $500.00 ceiling.
Spend that money on things like flies, tippet, and extra leader. It would be impossible for me to tell you exactly which flies to buy, because your area of the country may have different hatches than mine. Spend a little time at your local fly shop learning about what fly patterns are productive, and when they are productive.
Get a few stand by’s that seem to work every where like Wooly Buggers, Clouser Minnows, and Parachute Adams’.
Try to get flies that are not overly specialized at first—invest in flies that will work most of the time. This can be tough, but usually you will find a few patterns that work well in multiple seasons. When a fly pattern overlaps certain seasons and remains effective, this is a great fly to get.
So there you have it, follow this little guide, and you are ready to go for less than $500! If you decide to jump into fly fishing, I will definitely see you on the water!
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