What's your favorite fly-fishing innovation?

I was rummaging through some of my grandfather’s old fishing tackle the other day, and it got me thinking about how technology has changed the sport of fly fishing. Sure, some of the basics remain the same as they were generations ago, which is why many of us love the sport in the first place. But how many of you have actually fished with a silk line?

I came up with a top-five list of innovations I am really grateful for (even though they tend to empty my wallet), and wonder how that would stack up against other thoughts:

  • Aerospace graphite in fly rods. Granted you don’t need a super-fast action rod to catch fish. You don’t even need it to cast a fly line pretty far. But it sure is fun, and relatively easy with some practice, to toss tight loops on the target. In my case, I’d say most of the difference between my cast now and when I first started has more to do with hours on the water than dollars spent at the cash register, but technology sure doesn’t hurt.
  • Gore-Tex waders. And jackets, and other stuff, for that matter. I think my first pair of waders were a bio hazard after one summer.
  • Polarized sunglasses. I like sight fishing most of all, and cannot imagine doing so without some good lenses. Of course, you go to the Bahamas and a junior guide can spot a bonefish hundreds of feet further away than you can, with the naked eye.
  • Coated fly lines. I have a hard enough time washing and drying my socks after a day of fishing, let alone doing that to an entire line after every day of fishing.
  • The stand-up paddleboard. No longer a trend, in my mind. The key to mastering flatwater fishing with a fly rod. That’s highest on the to-do list for the season ahead.

Other nominees?

— Kirk Deeter

By Chris Hunt.