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New fly fishing accessories can be shadowed by the hype of the best new rods and reels each year. Everyone loves hearing about the big-ticket items, but a good piece of gear can help make the difference between a good day and a great day on the water. They maximize your precious time and keep you off the bank and in the water fishing.
Sorting through the endless “new releases” to differentiate a good piece of gear from a gimmick can be a hassle. We sifted through new fly fishing accessories and found several pieces of gear that are functional, innovative, and built to last for years to come. One of my top picks is sure to help keep you fishing longer and catch more fish.
Having fished throughout the United States and abroad for just about anything that can be caught on a fly, I’ve learned a lot about what to look for in gear. Solid and functional equipment has been a crucial part of my success. New fly fishing accessories must solve problems anglers may have on the water while still being convenient to fish with all day.
I evaluated my selection on the following criteria:
- Innovation: What problem does the product solve that others don’t?
- Durability: Is the product built to withstand all fishing conditions and function as it should?
- Materials: Are the materials selected the best for the fishing conditions present? Ex. Type of glass for sunglasses.
- Fishability: Is the product designed with anglers in mind to make it easy and convenient to carry and use?
- Value: Is the product cost justifiable for the job it does?
- Longevity: Will the product continue to be relevant or will it become dated quickly?
The Best New Fly Fishing Accessories: Reviews and Recommendations
Best Fishing Pliers: Simms Flyweight Plier
Why it Made the Cut: A compact and versatile plier, Simms built this product with fly anglers in mind to fish longer and rig faster.
- Dimensions: 5.75″ x 2″ x 3/8″
- Weight: 4.25oz/ 0.266lb
- Colors: Simms Orange, Titanium
- Lightweight and compact for fishing all day
- Built in cutters
- Holster to attach to waders and packs
- Plier jaws can be too big for small fish
The best fishing pliers go a long way in the fly fishing world. We use them to unhook fish, add split shot to rigs, and cut line. Simms knocked it out of the park and gave us a product that does it all in a compact and lightweight size. The Flyweight Plier is one of the most versatile pliers to reach the market in recent years. At just over four ounces, this lightweight plier is easy to carry all day on a wader shoulder strap or fly fishing pack. Its unique shape keeps a small profile while still allowing plenty of leverage to clamp down hard on flies and weights. The back part of the jaws features a built-in line cutter that helps speed up rigging. Made of aluminum, these pliers will not rust and are a great addition to any saltwater or freshwater angler’s pack.
For any plier, the real test is how it holds up over time. Some of the best fishing pliers work great out of the box, but after several trips, the line cutter will be dull, or the jaws will be out of line. This is not the case with the Flyweight Plier. Despite being lightweight, these pliers are rugged and have held up to anything I have thrown at them. These pliers do everything from big tarpon flies and heavy tippets to mountain streams and small flies. My favorite feature is the holster designed to attach to nearly anything. They keep your plier secure and accessible for easy access.
Best Fly Fishing Sunglasses: Costa Fantail Pro
Why it Made the Cut: A new edition to Costa’s long line of fishing sunglasses, the Costa Fantail Pros are designed strictly with hardcore anglers in mind.
- Lens Type: Polarized Glass
- Frame Colors: Matte Gray, Matte Black, Matte Wetlands
- Lens Colors: Copper Silver, Gray, Green, Sunrise Silver, Blue
- Glass lenses are crystal clear
- Adjustable and vented nose piece
- Built-in lanyard ports
- Slightly on the heavier side
Costa Del Mar is known for making the best fishing sunglasses designed for anglers who live on the water. Their new pro series of glasses epitomize Costa’s dedication to innovation with various options fine-tuned for the hardcore angler. The Fantail Pro sticks out above the rest. Based on the original Fantail line of glasses, the Pro series fine-tunes everything an angler would want.
The frames are built with thick sides that wrap around the whole face. This helps block out extra light and minimizes glare to cut through the water and see more fish. Costa chose only to offer these glasses in their patented polarized glass lenses. While glass lenses may be slightly heavier, their benefits outweigh the cons. They are crystal clear and offer amazing scratch resistance compared to plastic lenses. Another impressive feature is the adjustable nosepiece. It is moldable, so anyone can form it specifically for their nose, and the large vents allow ample airflow. The increased ventilation is what I noticed the most, where other sunglasses will fog up—the Fantail Pros have no issue staying clear for when it matters most.
Of all the lens types, I have found the green lightwave to be the most versatile. The green mirror coating helps cut glare drastically on the water. The base of the lenses is an amber color which is great for all conditions to help find more fish.
Best Fly Box: Tacky Pescador
Why it Made the Cut: The newest fly fishing accessory from Tacky and Fishpond combines all the features we love from the original Tacky box in a great new package.
- Size: 7.5”x4”x1.2”
- Color: Baja Blue, Burnt Orange
- Capacity: Holds 210 flies
- Patented Silicon Fly Slots
- Large Capacity
- Can’t see into the box when closed
The Tacky Pescador box is the best fly box for fly fishermen looking to securely hold their flies and keep them dry. It’s offered in several different sizes, from a day box all the way up to a boat box for long river floats. The box combines the features I loved from the original Tacky box while fixing issues with the first rendition. The new boxes feature a waterproof gasket that the original boxes lacked. This prevents water from getting into the box even if you take a spill in the river. Keeping water out of a fly box is the key to keeping them rust-free.
Additionally, the waterproof seal also keeps air in the box, allowing them to float if dropped in the river. Like all Tacky products, the box features its patented silicone inserts. Whether a size 20 or a size 2, the insert will hold the fly securely in your fly fishing box.
Fly anglers are always looking to maximize the number of flies they can carry and minimize the space they take up. Being a double-sided box, the Pescador series holds up to 210 flies which is more than enough to cover everything an angler might need. If that still is not enough for some reason, Tacky offers leaflet inserts for their large and XL Pescador boxes. These inserts add a full two rows for a total of four sides of fly storage.
Best Fly Fishing Sling Pack: Orvis Chest/Hip Pack
Why it Made the Cut: This new pack from Orvis is just the right size for everything you need for a day of fishing. This fly fishing accessory is lightweight and can be worn in a variety of ways.
- Storage Capacity: 3 liters
- Size: 9½”W x 6″H x 5″D
- Color: Gray
- Made of recycled materials
- Can be worn as a chest, shoulder, or hip pack
- Ample storage for day trips
- Not waterproof
The Orvis Chest/Hip Pack is just the right size for day trips and features three liters of storage to hold plenty of fly boxes and accessories. The main storage pocket has a fly patch to dry off your flies before putting them back in a box, or just keep your favorite patterns close. In addition, the pack has a handy tippet bar that is recessed into the pack to keep your tippet accessible while not taking up too much space. Like other Orvis packs, it has a place to clip a pair of forceps and a nipper for quick access to make fly changes that much quicker.
If your style of fishing requires quick fly changes and easy access to essentials like split shot and indicators, this is the best fly fishing sling pack for you. I find this pack works great for traditional trout fishing as well as European style nymphing. The pack is well-balanced and lightweight. You can fish all day and not even realize it’s there. Having the ability to switch between a shoulder, hip, and chest pack is a great option for a pack this size. It is even Bug-Out Backpack compatible, allowing anglers to clip it to Orvis’s bigger backpack for trips deep into the backcountry.
If you are just getting into fly fishing, there is an option to buy this pack fully loaded. This gives you everything you need including tungsten weights, floatant, tippet, and all the tools needed to rig and unhook fish. I am thoroughly impressed by this pack and highly recommend it for new and experienced anglers looking for a compact pack designed purely for fishing.
Best Innovative Product: Scientific Anglers Regulator Spool
Why it Made the Cut: This innovative product from Scientific Anglers offers a solution for anglers looking to use multiple lines, making it easy and efficient to unspool and respool fly reels.
- Size: Standard Fly Line Spool-Sized
- Compatibility: Can be used with any fly line size
- Color: Scientific Anglers Red
- Easy to use
- Compact and collapsible
- Works on any size fly line
- Easier with a second person to hold the reel
Forget hoarding old fly line spools. There is finally an easy way to change and store fly lines. The Regulator Spool is based on the same platform that lines are spooled on in the factory. It consists of two plates and a center to wrap the fly line around. With removable winding handles, it’s easy to unspool a fly line and get it ready to be stored. Previously, we would keep our lines on old spools, which are bulky and take up space. The Regulator Spool offers an ingenious fix to this problem.
The spool comes apart with a quarter twist allowing you to pull out the spooled-up lines and use twist ties to secure it. Lines stored without the bulky plastic spools allow you to store them in a line wallet similar to shooting head wallets. This takes up way less space and keeps your lines organized and together. When it comes time to re-spool the line, the Regulator Spool can be used to put the line back on in a simple way that prevents tangles.
This is one of those products I didn’t know I needed but couldn’t be happier it exists. Spooling and unspooling fly lines has never been easier, and this small, portable contraption can be used in the garage or out on the water. If you fish in different conditions but don’t have the extra reels laying around to store those lines, give this a try. It will keep you organized and ready to tackle any conditions on the water with a quick line change.
Things to Consider Before Buying New Fly Fishing Accessories
While each year’s new gear is exciting, discerning between gimmicks and functional products is important before making decisions. Knowing what fly fishing accessory suits your style of fishing is a good first step in buying new gear. Think about how you fish and what problems you might run into on the water. Then you can start to look for new products that will fit you best.
When making your final decision, take into account the reputation of the companies who create the products. This can also help steer you in the direction of quality gear that will last and perform. Gear is not everything when fishing, but key pieces of equipment can definitely help. So, gear up and get out on the water—the fish are waiting.
Q: What supplies do you need for fly fishing?
When getting into fly fishing, it can be intimidating sorting through all the gear and accessories. To keep it simple, you need a pack or vest to store everything, a fly box, flies, a nipper for cutting line, and forceps for unhooking fish. These are the basic pieces of gear that will allow you to fish comfortably. As far as terminal tackle, a couple of spools of tippet, some leaders, an assortment of split shot, indicators, and some flies is all you need. This basic tackle is perfect for getting started catching fish and won’t overcomplicate things. Once you learn more about the sport and understand what works for you, start looking into new gear and tackle to suit your fishing style.
Q: Do you need a bobber for trout fishing?
Bobbers for trout fishing certainly are useful but are not a necessity. When fishing nymphs, anglers like to use a small bobber or strike indicator to allow them to see when a fish eats the nymph. Strike indicators are small enough to detect soft takes from picky fish and can drastically improve the number of fish hooked and landed. They also help anglers extend their drifts longer by keeping the leader perpendicular to the water and minimizing drag from long casts. While they work well, you do not always need to use one. In certain kinds of fishing, like European style nymphing, it is far more effective to use no bobber and keep a tight line to detect subtle bites from fish.
Q: Is Simms fishing gear good?
Simms Fishing Products is known for its ruggedness and quality. Based out of Montana, they started in the 1980s making high-quality waders that outlasted all the competition. To this day, Simms is still making some of the best waders that are the choice of many guides and professionals in the fly fishing community. Now, more than just a wader company, they make every fishing accessory imaginable, from packs to tools. They are still dedicated to making the same quality gear they were founded on and have something to offer for every angler.
Final Thoughts on New Fly Fishing Accessories
If you’re a fly fisherman, chances are you love gear. Choosing between purposeful gear and eye-catching gear can mean the difference between an enjoyable day of fishing and a frustrating day with ineffective paraphernalia. When I organize my pack for a day on the water, I make sure every piece of gear serves a purpose to help me catch fish. You don’t want to overload your bag or pack and lug around unnecessary equipment all day. The fly fishing accessories above are all pieces that have helped land more fish and something I recommend anglers to add to their arsenal.