Fly Fishing Christmas Gifts No One Will Hate Pt-1

Halloween costumes and Pumpkin-Spiced Lattes are now behind us, while Christmas Decorations and Peppermint Mocha have taken their place.  For most folks somewhere between the sugar buzz from the 31st subsiding and carving the Thanksgiving turkey, Christmas gift planning starts to churn in the backs of our minds.  If you’re buying for someone in your life that casts a fly rod, you might be dreading that purchase.  Why?  Maybe you feel like fly fishing gear costs too much, or maybe you know that person to be picky with their gear.  You’ve come to the right place.  This post will focus on introducing someone to the sport of fly fishing.

Something for ANYone:

This is a no-fail gift option: Amazon Prime Membership, $99. There are a lot of upsides to having a Prime membership, but the best one is the free two-day shipping on all products that are Prime eligible.  I get nothing for sharing this with you, but if you’re shopping for the guy/girl who has everything this is a guaranteed hit.  A Prime membership is more than just free shipping too.  Free TV, free music, free books, and Prime Now lets you buy things and have them delivered in as little as an hour after you ordered it!  Sorry, I don’t want to sound like an Amazon Prime ad, but this is a pretty great gift idea.  My Prime membership pays off in spades during the holiday season because I can get almost ALL of my gifts purchased and shipped quickly without costing extra.  With the money I saved I can afford to have them gift-wrapped as well. In the spirit of saving money, I am going to include the link to Amazon for as many products as I can.

Introducing Someone to the Sport:

Has your gift recipient been dropping hints about wanting to try fly fishing?  Great!  This section is full of introductory gifts for that aspiring angler!

  1. Knot Tying Tool.  I am partial to the Nail Knot.  It’s a versatile knot that can be used for almost every fly fishing connection.  Making the nail knot even more simple is the use of a tool, like this silver one for $7.99
  2. Nippers.  You can spend big money on a pair of nippers from reel companies.  I mean, $50-$100 is too much to spend on something I have used a pair of nail clippers for almost my entire fishing career.  Unless you’re buying for a fly-fishing guide, I’d steer clear of those.  Nail clippers work just fine, and if you take the little arm off them, they even look the part.  That said, This post is for gifts no one will hate and if you gift wrap a pair of nail clippers for that beginning angler in your life, they certainly will.  More importantly those “nippers” are missing something vital to anyone that uses head cement on their flies, a little needle point. However, these nippers don’t cost much more than a set of clippers from Walgreens, have the little needle point that clears head cement or untangles wind knots, and they are dressed respectably for any angler.  The guys from sell THESE NIPPERS on Amazon and bonus, they’re Prime™ eligible. That means you don’t pay for shipping, leaving them at a cool sub $10 price point.
  3. Hemostats/Forceps: No angler can hit the water without a way to safely remove hooks from the mouths of small fish, pinch barbs of flies, tie some knots, and stop arterial blood flow.  Enter the hemostat.  Also dubbed forceps by many manufacturers, they are extremely handy tools on the water.  They can also be very expensive.  Dr. Slick is the industry standard and most recognizable name.  Their product will run about 20-30 dollars depending on the bells and whistles.  Orvis makes a nice pair for below $20. A quick internet search will also return many viable options.  Just look out for two things; they need to be stainless steel, and they need to lock shut.  Try these for $6.99 (prime eligible too)!
  4. El Poquito.  This little guy from SmithFly ($25.00) is the perfect way to carry all the above mentioned tools.  It is their flagship product, their first push into the retail market, and arguably their most adaptable product.  All the things I’ve mentioned so far fit nicely in this little pocket.  From belts, to waders, to larry chairs, to cargo shorts; the Poquito will adapt to keep those tools accessible and away from fly line entanglement.
  5. Fly Rod: For beginners and seasoned anglers alike, I’d suggest this rod, the Eagle Claw Featherlight. This particular one is the 5/6 weight 8 foot rod which almost feels like an 6/7 or a whippy 8 weight.  I can’t speak to the rest of the models.  It looks like they changed the design of the offerings this year, and while they are listed as the same rod, there are some pretty big differences in appearance that would alter the performance.  A little ebay searching led me to find my favorite, the 6’6″ 4/5 weight.  If you’re looking for a rod that stows away in a toolbox, rides well in a kayak, or need to cast under a canopy, that’s the rod to use. Fly Rod: My first rod was an Okuma Crisium 4/5 weight.  It’s a traditional two-piece graphite rod with an up-locking reel seat and a medium-fast action. It’s also a true 4/5 weight. Don’t over-line this rod, it will effect the action negatively.  It served me well for a very long time.  I finally hung it up because its sentimental value was worth more to me than fishing the rod.  I strongly recommend this rod for anyone looking to expand their collection.
  6. Fly Reel: If you’re looking to keep it cheap, or you’re buying for a kid, a new Martin Clicker is the ticket and balances well with the Eagle Claw.  They are pretty simple in design and operation, enabling them to take a lot of abuse and keep clicking.  If you want to spend a little more, provide them with a lifetime warranty, or just want them to have a “Name-Brand” reel, the Ross Eddy is only $48.98 with shipping.
  7. Fly Line: If you’re rounding out the package on the 5/6 Eagle Claw, then this is the line for you.  Scientific Angler’s Frequency WF-6 Line in the Magnum taper. At $49.81, this is pretty cheap where name-brand line is concerned.  If that’s too steep, then WF-6 Air Cell line from SA is only $23.07.
  8. Flybox:  Every angler needs a way to keep their flies. If you go to a big-box store, you can find several choices.  Tacky Fly Boxes are the best crafted packs out there. $19.94 makes these good stocking stuffers.
  9. Wading Boots:  I use these by Chota for cold water/winter fishing.  They are simple, durable, and cheap.  They are felt-soled which aren’t allowed in some states.  Felt soles can carry invasive species from one water body to another more readily than other styles.  The plus side is they have the best traction on free stone rivers and streams.  When you’re fishing in the saltwater, I recommend a pair of Converse Chuck Taylors.
  10. Waders:  I don’t know much about all the different waders out there.  Honestly in central Texas I hardly ever need them.  I know Magellan waders from Academy last about a season before they need to be repaired, and so did my discontinued Simms.  Whatever brand you find buy waders with reinforced knees, a belt, and neoprene feet.  Similar to these Frogg Togg waders.

Stay tuned for the next installment soon!

2016 Christmas Fly Fishing Gift Giving Guide for Beginners

Solutions For Low Cost Fly Lines Without A Spool

Most of the low cost fly lines out there come with no spool and are usually just wrapped with 2 twisty ties and put in a bag. When I read reviews for these cheap lines the most common complaint I read is the line gets all tangled and knotted while trying to put the line on a reel.

Here is my simple solution but it may require the purchase of a previous line that came with a spool unless you can scrounge one from a friend. (editor’s note: Fly shops generally have a few on hand, too.) The fly line spools are usually able to be split apart.
open spool and inexpensive fly line

Simply place your new spool-less line onto the spool like so…
line on spool

Be sure to place it over the larger side of the inner spool so you do not squish your line.

Boom. Now you can put it on your reel nice and easy.
(Or sell it on ebay. I am kidding do not rip people off on ebay.)
cheapo or SA Magnum?

Thanks for reading,

Small Dollars, Big Fun.

The Most Expensive Part Of This Rig Is The Line.

And even the line was cheap.  Here is the breakdown.

Rod: Eagle Claw Featherlight $29.99

Reel: No name ebay single action Net Cost $3.75

Leader: Umpqua Freshwater Shorty $2.65 ($4.99 minus $2.34 store credit)

Line: Scientific Angler Frequency Magnum $49.95

Tippet: Orvis Mirage Fluorocarbon 3x $5.00 (Normally $14.95)


That means, with sales tax included this rig is $98.87.  Fully fishable, out the door, and less than the cost of an entry level St. Croix Rio Santo ($109, rod only)

This is a great set up. Overlining the Featherlight really helps it come alive. The click of the single action is a war cry when a fish has earned being put on the reel.

I’m also impressed with the Frequency Line from Scientific Angler.  They are offering some tapers previously relegated to the higher end series of lines. I was able to cast across the river with relative ease and minimize false casting. The line shot out so easy; forgetting this was a bargain setup was inevitable.


The best part? It caught fish. Lots of them too. Come to find out, they weren’t disappointed to not see “Sage” or “Thomas & Thomas” on the rod that subdued them. Fish don’t check the price tag of your gear.  The performance is what matters and this set up has it.  I will be hanging onto this rig for a while.

custom cheap fly fishing rig









Budget Set Up


Find the Best Fishing Spots in a New Area

How to get insider information while traveling, Cheaply

People have told me several times, If you want to get some good fishing spots in a new area, hire a guide.

Problem is, hiring a guide can be anywhere from $400 to $600 in most areas. Justifying that cost is an onerous task for most of us.  Blindly going to different spots and casting can be incredibly discouraging and every unanswered cast only serves to amplify your inner critic. Most fly shops run their own guide service or the people behind the counter are guides.  If neither is the case, they are still not inclined to give you any insider information for free. What can you do?

The cheapest resource is found online.  In my experience, this is the most unreliable option.  People are unreliable, and the advice you get is likely to be the fishing equivalent to suggesting Chili’s as a local food option.  That may not always be the case, but you get what you pay for more times than not.

The other option is my favorite.  Find a local fly shop and buy some stuff. Spend anywhere from $20 to $50 on flies and other light tackle, and THEN ask for advice.  They aren’t going to give you their best spots, but they will give you better advice than they will the next guy.  MY favorite approach is to spend $20 one day and chat them up.  Then I come back and drop a little more money before asking them about somewhere to fish.

Some places have guides that do “DIY” trips.  They’ll take you out for 1/2 to 1/3 the normal price and row you around, but that’s it.  They’ll put you on the water, but you do the work.  Your gear, your flies, your trip.  I haven’t done one yet, but I know they exist. Ohio’s Donnie Knight offers these trips, for example.

What are your thoughts?  Have anything to Add?  Comment below!

One Hundred and Fifty Bucks

A quick search on the internet will find several articles about budget fly rods

Our problem with a lot of them is the names and prices they are throwing out.  Sage, Orvis, St Croix, Thomas & Thomas, Mystic, etc…  With prices ranging from $70-$300.  Most of the posted rods seem to fall on the $150 plus range.  That’s crap.  So sorry, but a rod shouldn’t cost much more than a nice dinner to be considered budget.

Here at the Fly & Dime, we are setting a cap.  A high-end rod on this site caps at $150.  That’s as high as we will go.  Same for fly reels, waders, wading boots, vests, packs, basically any big money item we frequently use. “Sage is offering 65% off the Sage X today!” That’s great, but that price is still four times higher than anything we will advertise on this site.  We aren’t going to spend that kind of money, we won’t suggest you do it either. This is Five & Dime Fly Fishing, folks.  We keep it cheap here.

One Hundred and Fifty Bucks.  That’s our cap.