5 Pieces of Fly Fishing Gear You Simply Don’t Need


Okay, let’s get real with ourselves for a minute. Every angler, whether just starting or turned pro is guilty of having a bad day on the water, then promptly heading down to their local fly shop and attempting to drown their sorrows in a shiny new purchase. “Perhaps if I had this new automatic line retriever 3000 I would have landed that monster trout”. No matter what the guilty purchase is, the internal dialogue the next day is usually synonymous with the liquid coping counterpart; “where did all my money go?”

where did all my money go
image courtesy of Jeremy Koreski

Well, we all want to be the best angler we can be, and sometimes we allow ourselves to think that by attaching a bunch of shiny new toys to our vest, we’re helping ourselves get there. It’s a flawed method of thinking…but hey, its OUR flawed method of thinking, and I doubt we’ll be changing our ways anytime soon.

So sit back, relax, and have a laugh at your own expense as you may find some of your “trusty” gear on this list. (And most importantly, this is all in good fun…you’ll probably still buy half these items).

1. Nippers that cost more than $30

expensive nippers
Image courtesy of Deneki Outdoors

Believe it or not, the nippers you can buy at your local CVS are most likely quite comparable to the $400 hand-pressed, Mordor fired, rare collectors edition nippers you can find on the shelves at certain fly shops. Whether you want to blow a month’s worth of groceries on some glorified toenail clippers is certainly your choice, but please don’t complain when the old men at the fishing club make fun of you.

2. Reel Color Sleeves

reel color sleeves
Image courtesy of Waterworks Lamson

While every angler enjoys adding their own personal touch to their otherwise run of the mill fly reel, the addition of a color sleeve is not only impractical, but practically invisible. Only compatible with one specific reel, this item seems to be more of something you might add to your online cart to bump up to free shipping qualification. Not only does this sleeve take up room where more backing could sit, but also serves 0 practical purposes. We’re not looking to be mean towards the creators of the product, but we see why they’re no longer on sale.

3. Bug Nets

useless bug net
Image courtesy of Amazon

Let’s be clear here. There are places in the world, specifically further north, where the bugs can be so bad, it may drive someone deep into depravity. For you long trippers, feel free to take this with a grain of salt. However, when it comes to the weekend warriors who brave the harsh conditions of the Pennsylvania Poconos, do yourself a favor and leave the bug net behind. While the pesky little buggers can be inconvenient, it never hurts to actually immerse yourself in the outdoors and experience what it’s like to get an occasional poke from a hungry squiter. Perhaps, by enduring such discomfort, you will grow deeper respect for the natural world you’re standing in, and maybe even enjoy such sights with more gratitude. You will also look less like a beekeeper in waders.

4. Fishing Knot Tying Tool

fly tying tool
Image courtesy of Amazon

Stop. Before you grab your pitchforks and torches, we understand there are people who need extra help tying knots as their vision or sense of touch begins to numb. For those of you to whom this applies…carry on, you get a pass. HOWEVER, for the rest of you who are trying to take 15 seconds off the time it takes to tie on a fly, or even worse, aren’t taking the time to learn your knots; We’re not mad…we’re just disappointed. One of the barriers to entry with this sport is struggling to learn these tiny and sometimes complicated knots, and learning them is a right of passage. By taking the easy way out and supplementing knowledge for a new toy, please reevaluate why you chose to fly fish.

5. Fly Line Connectors

useless connector
Image courtesy of Cabelas

In the world of fly fishing, it is easy to find a place for everything. This includes tippet rings, knot tiers (as mentioned above), and fly line connectors. However, it looks like the place for said connectors will have to be at number 5 on this list. Just like with the knot tier, this is a lazy, and ugly way of attempting to save a few minutes rigging, or worse, avoid actually learning your knots. Not only does this product embody an apathetic mentality, but it is dysfunctional in that it won’t fit through your guides, thus ending your day in a heap of wasted leader. Cmon folks, you’re better than this.

Well, there’s our list. In closing, if you swear by any of these products, or feel we were being overly scrutinous, that’s okay. At the end of the day, each angler is entitled to their opinion, and if you feel your choice in gear is justified, then power to you. Now get out and go catch a fish.


Cover photo courtesy of Nolan Dahlberg

This article was written by Flylords Team member Wills Donaldson

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  1. I could never geta nail knot to come out right until o bought the tool… I tried several different tricks and none worked for me

  2. If you’re in your late 60’s like me, with arthritis in your fingers, you will perhaps learn to appreciate the simplicity and ease of using cast connectors. I don’t know where folks get the idea they won’t pass through guides. Perhaps they got the wrong size. If you get the orange ones it can double, somewhat , as a strike indicator. I can think of a lot of stuff to leave out of my fishing vest that didn’t make your list, but plastic connectors will always be in mine.

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