What’s in your guide’s bag?
Most of the guides we know tote around a pretty massive boat bag full of all their crap. Besides the standard stuff like a huge fly selection, tippet, leaders, versileaders, a variety of floatants, first aid, sunscreen, forceps, nippers, extra sunglasses etc, there are a few things I like to carry that are helpful and not as commonly found in every bag.
Scissors – I like to carry a pair of tying scissors. I use them constantly for cutting tippet, trimming wings and posts, or making other mods to store bought flies that are overdressed. They come in handy for all sorts of things.
Super glue – Here is another item that gets used all the time. It’s great for saving the last one of that random fly you tied that just happens to be working better than anything else that day. Use it to beef up fly heads, secure loose hackle, stiff’n up foam fly under bodies, and best of all, it’s great for sealing up cracked hands.
Mucelin/Albolene – These are the best for making floatant and dressing lines. I prefer the Mucelin for both but it’s not nearly as cost effective as the Albolene. Either one of these will work as the secret ingredient for Fly Agra or Jet Fuel or whatever you want to call it. It’s 1 to 4 Albolene/mucelin and Ronsonal lighter fluid. Combine them in a small nalgene bottle, heat the bottle with hot water to dissolve, and you have your own home made Fly Agra for a fraction of the cost. Again, I prefer the Mucelin but it’s way more expensive and starts to solidify faster in colder temps. Both of these products are messy so find some tiny Nalgene bottles for storage so they don’t leak all over your bag. Also, find an old bottle of Fly Duster or Frog’s Fanny and put some of your home made floatant liquid in there for smaller applications. The brush applicator is a lot less messy and wasteful. And you won’t get all the little waterproof spots all over your Patagonia puffy…
Cheap fluorocarbon – Guides are using fluoro almost exclusively these days for its strength and the fact that it’s invisible to the fish. The fly fishing manufactures fluorocarbon is really expensive though. A great alternative is to take an old spool down to your local sporting goods store and have them fill it with bulk P-line. It’s 6¢ a yard so you can buy a ton for $10. The only downside is the diameters are greater per tensile strength so we mostly use it for building leaders, mid sections, streamer fishing and high water applications. But at 6¢ a yard vs 45¢ a yard, it’s a no brainer.
RIO Fly Line Cleaning Towelette – These are 99¢ at your local fly shop. They make your line last longer, cast better, and float higher. Use them often…
Tippet Rings/micro swivels – If you nymph at all you should use these. RIO is now making them. Use them to build your own nymph leaders using the cheap fluoro discussed above and make your leaders for about 50¢. 3ft of butt section(30lb maxima) to a ring, then 5ft of 10lb fluoro to a ring, then 3 ft of your choice tippet. Adjust lengths and line strength to fit your own situation. Simple and cost effective.
Markers – Every heady Zoo-Town foamie junkie I know has a pile of markers in there bag. Add polka dots to hoppers, a quick color change on some dubbed bodies, color that egg sack on the back of your rogue stone, turn a tan chubby pink or orange or red…
Paraffin wax – My friend Uncle Brent turned me on to this a few years back. Throw a small block of this in your bag. Rub it on your oar sleeves/oar rope, oar lock shafts, and donut stops once in a while and be VERY happy. Smooth as butter…quiet too.
I’m probably missing a few so let us know if you carry any must have boat bag items that are essential to your daily fishing routine.