In My Waders | Front Pocket Essentials

Fly fishing has become the most popular sport in recent years, drawing nearly 46 million Americans to the water each year.

For the new angler, knowing where to start with gear can be overwhelming! If you have ever walked into your local fly shop or a Bass Pro Shop, you will find endless isles adorned with small tools, flies, and multiple options for every single thing imaginable. The best advise I can recommend is to K.I.S.S. { Keep It Simple Silly } When you first start fly fishing, keep to the basics. Spend your money on what you need to get started and save the upgrades or more specific gear for later down the line. For every high end option there is a less expensive option that will do just FINE. 

Every angler has a different set-up or list of must have gear. Personally I choose to keep my must-haves in the front pocket of my waders. The less I have to access my backpack the better! Keep the things closest that you will need the most(est)... 


Here are a few of my recommendations 👇🏼

Fly Box... Two... or Three 

I have tried many types of boxes, from waterproof to sticky boxes. And I keep several types in my sling pack and boat bag. To me each box serves a purpose and some are better for certain situations. 

Midge Box: 

While touted as a “midge” fly box, this one is my go-to for my nymphs.  The slit foam strips on either side hold tons of nymphs up to about size 14. One box can hold most of the flies I need for a day on the river. The downside is that this box is slightly heavy and is more “water resistant” than “water proof”.

Tacky Fly Box: 

  • Holds flies tighter

  • Withstands extemes in temperatures

  • Light, sleek, yet extremely durable polycarbonate box

  • Clear lid for visible access to flies

  • Off-set slit design comfortably holds 168 flies

  • Latch-less magnetic closure system

    • Long lasting strength

    • Durability tested


Scissor Clamps & Nippers 


Mitten Clamps:

Same basic concept as mitten clamps, but with a serrated scissor mounted behind the jaws. This addition allows for cutting tippet/leader material, trimming flies streamside or opening your favorite snack when your hands are too cold. 

Cost Effective Nippers:

  • Are easy to replace if you misplace them, or they get lost.

  • Have minimal versatility, but if you fish a particular way, such as mostly fishing 2x-5x tippet will do just fine cutting tippet and leaders.

  • If you dont get out quite as much as you would like, they will last at least a season

  • Typically cost between 3-10 dollar

High Quality Nippers:

  • If you fish quite a bit, these will not need to be replaced as often and can last multiple seasons without getting dull

  • Have much more versatility. High quality nippers will be able to cut 40lb saltwater mono filament when your out chasing tarpon, as well as be able to cut 7x tippet fine enough to thread through a size 24 midge

  • Are generally more corrosion resistant. They wont rust out if you take care of them even after a heavy dosage of saltwater.

  • Typically companies such as Orvis, Abel, Simms, and Hatch are good about replacing blades if they do become dull, increasing the lifetime of your nippers

  • Typically run between 30-100 dollars


Leader & Tippet

Tippet is a specific gauge monofilament line that is attached to the end of the leader, to which you tie the fly. The tippet is usually the smallest gauge line on your rig and is virtually invisible to the fish. ... By tying on tippet, you can avoid losing taper. The fly is tied to the end of the tippet.





Air-Lock Strike Indicator

The Air-Lock is a new favorite strike indicator. It's super-buoyant, visible, durable, and easy to adjust. The best part about the Air-Lock Indicator is that it won't slip, kink, or leave your leader a mess. Easy on-and-off operation will make this your next go-to strike indicator. 

  • Secure, adjustable, and kinkless strike indicator won't slip or tangle

  • Easy on-and-off action saves time on the water

  • Simply loosen and slide indicator for on-the-fly depth adjustment

THINGAMABOBBER (my personal favorite)

Inspired by western guides using small balloons as strike indicators to improve buoyancy and sensitivity. The Thingamabobber combines all of the best strike indicator elements in one simple design.

  • Highly visible

  • Ultra sensitive

  • Casts like a champ in any weather condition

  • Easy to attach and adjust yet stays in place on your line

  • Never sinks and requires no floatant

Indicator descriptions were taken directly from manufacturers website.


& The Random Items

  • Chapstick

  • Snacks

  • Hothands

  • Cell Phone



Everything else goes into my Animas Watershed Dry Bag backpack. 

Need More? Read what I keep in my go-to dry bag for proper layering and what I keep on hand for emergencies.