This is our 5th in a 6 part series; Fly Fishing From The Ground Up and today we discuss jackets, rain gear, quick dry materials….how to stay dry, warm and cool. There may be no more important piece of equipment than a good rain jacket and with today’s use of modern materials there is really no reason to be wet and at the same time, no reason to be hot or cold either. If you have ever tried to fly fish in the rain and were not successful in staying dry, you know how miserable it can be; the truth is once you get cold and get chilled your ability to focus and cast well will drop and you will not be near as successful.
I own a Cabela’s fishing jacket that didn’t break the bank yet at the same time….it does a very good job. I like to wear the jacket over, on the outside of my waders, thus keeping the water out of my waders. This sounds simple but I often see others wearing their jackets under or inside their waders and that doesn’t make sense. Rain gear has come such a long way since I was a kid. Years ago to stay dry meant you would have to melt and be uncomfortable but that shouldn’t happen today. I particularly like the Cabela’s Dry-Plus Wading Jacket, for around $100 dollars you will be happy with this product; the extra pockets up front allow for carrying of phones, keys, etc…
For me my summer materials are just important. The past few years I have fallen in love with the new quick dry fabric…while I like cotton it gets wet and tends to stay wet and heavy. There are a number of shirts out there on the market ranging from $30 to over a hundred a pop. I have a few shirts in various colors made by Columbia; at times I love long sleeves and at other times a short sleeve is the way to go. I do a lot of creek fishing here in southern Indiana for smallies and at times it can be stifling hot; these light weight shirts are not only good looking they are a bonus on a hot day.
Let me add here that the past couple summers I have wet waded exclusively and love the Columbia convertible pants, (around $80 dollars). These pants are great and allow you to stay cool and keep your legs covered. You may not care about your legs being covered but I have many times strolled up beside large snapping turtle and while the small piece of pant material may not do much, it gives me some peace of mind and that is important.
The other half of this discussion is simply looking good. Now…don’t get me wrong, I am not out there trying to win a fashion show but looking somewhat presentable will and has made a difference when the time comes to ask for permission onto a private section of a stream. I like to find places to park my vehicle so that while wading I can calculate how long it will take me; this requires a knock on the door and most folks feel better about someone who looks like they care for the stream.
So, if you are needy, save your Cabela’s bucks and get ready for the upcoming season. If you fish a sundry of weather conditions like I do…you have a few choices, suffer and keep going, don’t go at all or be prepared and that means having a few items that will keep you dry, warm or cool.