On the fly: What’s in your vest?
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
BASALT – What is in your fly vest? I get asked this on a daily basis. The amount of gear varies from person to person and season to season, and here is a list of what I always have handy.
Flies – For this time of year, I don’t carry a huge assortment of bugs. All that is required during these colder months are midge dries and nymphs, baetis dries and nymphs, eggs, a small assortment of streamers, mysis shrimp and scuds, and a few oddball stonefly nymphs. Midge adult colors comprise of black, gray and creams in sizes 22 down to 26. The nymph colors I use range from black to zebra and red. Baetis dries and nymphs should be size 18 down to 22, in colors ranging from olive, gray and even black for both dries and nymphs. Egg colors vary from peach to orange to yellow. Streamers should be white, black, olive and rust colors.
For the summer months, I carry all of the above mentioned flies except for eggs, and add PMDs, green drakes, yellow sallies, more stoneflies, worms and caddis patterns. Our PMDs range in size from 16 to 20; colors are pinks and creams. Green drakes will be in sizes 12 to 14, sallies in 16 and 18, and stones will be sizes 6 to 10, in dark and light yellow colors. Caddis are sizes 16 to 18, and I always carry dark (peacock) to light colors. Caddis nymphs are invariably bright green, but tan works well around here, too.
Tippet – I carry no monofilament any longer; trout have taught me the joys of using fluorocarbon tippets exclusively. I always carry 1x down through 7x. Carrying this much tippet might sound a bit like overdoing it, but it’s nice to be able to build your own leader after your rig gets hung up in high branches. The advantages of flouro over mono are strength, invisibility and abrasion resistance.
Other stuff – I usually have sunscreen and bug repellent, a nail-knot tool, nippers and backup nippers (I’m sure none of you have ever dropped a pair or had them come off your zinger, right..?) hemostats, scissors, various sizes of split-shot weights, extra leaders, throat pump, floatant, dry shake, seine, empty bug bottles, a section of 40- or 50-pound mono for rebuilding butt sections, strike indicators, and a stream thermometer.
I carry a large landing net with a soft rubber bag always, as they are easier on the fish and easier on your nostrils while driving home after a long day’s fishing. I usually have a light rain jacket rolled up in the bottom of my vest, as well. Gloves and dry backup gloves are a life-saver on bitter cold days, too. Polarized sunglasses are something I never ever fish without. Carrying a small yet powerful magnet can pick up or help you find flies that are dropped at your feet. I wear a Buff around my neck and face, which really helps take glare off the water and protect me from harmful UV rays.
Rods – For the Fryingpan, I just love a light 2- or 3-weight rod. I usually carry a 6-weight on the Colorado, and a 4- or 5-weight is just right for the Roaring Fork. I suggest the Circa rod from Sage for light presentations, the Scott G2 for 4- and 5-weights, and the G Loomis NRX for those windy or long-casting days in the 6-weight category.
What I leave at home is my cell phone and all the world’s problems. They’ll be waiting for me when I get back.
I agree wholeheartedly with Robert Traver, who said: “In a world where most men seem to spend their lives doing things they hate, my fishing is at once an endless source of delight and an act of small rebellion; because trout do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed or impressed by power.” How true! I’ll see you on the river.
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