Essential Gear to Pack for a Fly Fishing Trip
By Patrick Pendergast

Everyone has a different idea of what essential items you should pack for a fly fishing trip, whether it’s a freshwater or saltwater trip. We’re talking about things that are in addition to what you’d normally pack — these are the items that just might save another person’s life or maybe yours.

We asked our travel experts what 10 essential items they always pack in their kits when they head out on an international fly fishing trip. In the first of this series, The Fly Shop’s Pat Pendergast gives us his list.

Headlamps are indispensible on trips1) Headlamp –
You can’t fix what you can’t see, and headlamps direct the light where you are looking and free up your hands.

2) 25 feet of parachute cord –
I love this stuff … clothes line, wading boot laces, making a splint, outboard motor cord, the uses of parachute cord seem to be endless.

3) Pocket knife –
I carry a pocket knife every day of the year, and there are few days I don’t use it for something. Make sure you pack it in your checked bag, as TSA will not let you board a plane with one.

4) Leatherman/multi-tool or pliers –
This is a super handy tool. Most have a file, knife, pliers, bottle opener, awl, screwdriver, etc. It may replace your pocket knife, so make sure it is a locking blade. Last time I used mine was fixing an outboard motor at the mouth of the Copper River in Alaska. The guide forgot his.

Duct Tape is a must have on fly fishing trips5) Small roll of duct tape and small tube of Zap-a-gap
Duct tape is about the handiest adhesive ever invented, and the uses are endless. I once watched a bush pilot in Alaska repair the skin on a wing that got gnawed on by a bear and flew us out. In a pinch you can use it to repair a torn wader, bandage a blister, and more. Zap-a-gap is amazing and is great for sealing a cut, fixing a fly, or gluing your fingers together (try to avoid that).

6) 10 zip ties –
Gosh, these are so handy, I always keep some in my truck as well. I have used zip ties to strap a reel to a rod, splint a broken finger, pull a zipper, attach a luggage tag, and secure zippers on my duffel bag. They are light, don’t take any room and are essential.

7) Lighter –
For a variety of reasons, having a lighter in your kit just makes good sense. If you don’t want to pack a lighter, at least invest in a magnesium fire starter.

Binoculars can give you views of things you wouldn't normally see8) Small pair of binoculars –
In addition to being a fly fisher, I like to hunt and view wildlife. Several years ago, I started packing a small set of binoculars, and I can’t tell you how much enjoyment my buddies and I have had using them; they make a trip better. They are also great for spotting tails on the flats.

9) Cipro –
When you need it, you need it. Cipro can save a trip from being absolutely miserable. I don’t leave for an international trip without a bottle of Cipro. I learned the hard way.  (Note: This will require a doctor’s prescription.)

10) Rain jacket –
I guided and worked in Alaska for many years, and since then, I don’t leave home without one, no matter where I’m going or the forecast. In my mind, it’s the most important item in your entire kit.

Rain jackets are important in all fishing