TACKLE Although rods are a matter of personal preference you will probably find something between 8′ and 10′ gives you the best control over your fly, loaded with a line between #4 and #6. Because, most of the time, you will be fishing reasonably short casts you may find a weight forward taper helps you. Double taper lines are better for roll casting and for fishing wet when you can “mend” the line more easily. Sinking lines may be necessary in the early season when the river is high and cold and the fish are down deep but for most of the season a floating line is best for either dry or wet fly. Some members use cane rods but most graphite. If you want to fish a cane rod longer than 8’6″ you’re welcome to it, the days when this writer could, and did, fish with a 10′ cane rod are past, and my wrist is glad of it! If you have the choice then a short rod, 6’6″ 8′ will be easier to manage on the Wye where you are fishing between trees.
Reels are another matter of personal preference. Some fishermen simply regard them as something to store the line, others get satisfaction from a piece of fine engineering. Choose one with a decent brake or check system and keep it well maintained!
LEADERS AND TIPPET MATERIAL Anyone trying to control the accuracy of a fly with an untapered cast is making life much harder than it needs to be. Furthermore many people use a cast, which is too short. In clear water anything less than 12′ is going to limit your success because you will put fish down. The most successful fisherman use anything between 12 and 16′ or more. (The exception is when fishing with Czech or similar nymphs). Although fluorocarbon has high strength it also sinks and can drag a dry fly under. Superstrong nylon such as Orvis, Dai Riki etc, carefully knotted and checked is a popular preference. Beware fishing with 2lb points, the chances of leaving a fly in a fish are high and many think it lets dry flies twist the cast too easily. Superstrong nylon of .005″ in diameter (approx .013 mm) has a breaking strain of 3.5lb and if trout are deterred by .005″ they are also put off by anything less. Few of them are equipped with micrometers.
A net will come in handy for the bigger fish although, as we all know, the chances of catching a fish that needs a net seem to go up exponentially when you don’t have one with you. The net will, of course, keep attracting your attention by catching bank side vegetation and generally making a nuisance of itself. Your net must be of knotless mesh to comply with the law.
A pair of clippers is a must if you value your teeth.
A priest is essential if you are likely to kill fish. Please give the fish the respect it deserves by dispatching it quickly and efficiently, landing net handles or hunting around for a stick are not good ideas.
A pair of forceps or long nose pliers will help you to pinch down the barbs on your hook and, if you don’t have a “ketchum release”, remove hooks that you can’t get at with your fingers. If you have hooked your fish deeply, or in the gills and it is bleeding don’t put it back to “take its chance” it will die so put it out of its misery quickly and treat it as part of your bag limit.
A woven bass is very preferable to a polythene bag for keeping fish in, especially on a hot day when trout in a plastic bag will spoil rapidly.
HOOKS barbless hooks are mandatory, they hook better and you won’t lose as many fish as you might think. In fact if you take into account their better hooking ability you probably won’t find any difference. But the fish notice! If you break off in a fish they have a much better chance of ridding themselves of the fly.
WADING AND WADERS The river is hard to fish effectively without waders and increasingly members are using chest waders, which are permissible within the rules. Waders are, of course, a great joke on us by the tackle industry. Those that keep water out effectively also keep it in equally effectively and whilst it might be river water on the outside and your body fluids on the inside you still get wet! Neoprenes may be good while the weather is cool but once it warms up then you get very wet on the inside.
Wading should be carried out with great care, in many places the bottom is either very uneven or very soft. There are several places where there is an abrupt drop off, which will see you in over your head. This writer uses a wading staff at all times and feels the safer and more secure for it. He also uses either studded rubber or studded felt soles. Felt on its own will have you tobogganing down the banks on your backside when the grass is wet and rubber on its own is very slippery when the bottom gets a coating of algae in the summer.
Be sensible and courteous to other fishermen near you when you are wading. Do NOT wade past another fisherman, nor wade across the river immediately upstream of a fisherman (unless he is fishing wet fly and working down stream)
John Norris of Penrith, suppiers of outdoor clothing and equipment
Sportfish, equipment, materials and clothing for fishing