When it comes to fly fishing, it can be easy to get wrapped up in the glitz and glam inherent in the sport. Many fly fishermen can afford the highest end equipment, and there is nothing wrong with having nice equipment, but don't let some of the price tags discourage you from getting to what is important, and that is simply; fishing. Today let’s discuss some affordable options to fish the great waters we have here around Tampa.
When purchasing fly fishing equipment, mostly rods, reels, and fly lines, I recommend getting the best that you can afford. That doesn’t mean I recommend taking out a second mortgage on your home just to be able to purchase the nicest gear. It means that it is important to get equipment that is going to last you but also won't break the bank. There are many rod and reel manufacturers in the market today that offer quality but affordable equipment. Here at our shop, we offer a full range of gear, from beginner outfits to the highest end equipment someone could ask for. The key here is just getting what you need to get out there.
Another challenge we feel that people tend to face is the cost of owning and maintaining a boat. We hear a lot of folks that come through the shop and say, "well I don't have a skiff, so I can't do this or that."Not everyone can afford a $65,000 skiff", and that is ok. There are more affordable options out here to get you on the water. One option is your feet. Wading is a super simple way of getting out there. Granted, not all locations are conducive to wading, but many places in Tampa Bay are. A good pair of wading boots and some type of pack to carry your stuff are all you need for a successful day of fishing. Not only do you not have to worry about the cost and responsibility of owning a boat, but you also avoid the headache at boat ramps, and the time involved in rinsing and cleanup. Wading also allows you to slow down and observe what’s going on around you. Another option is some type of cheaper watercraft. A used canoe, kayak, paddleboard or even a Jon boat are all relatively affordable options instead of a poling skiff. I personally just purchased a used Jon boat for about $400 that has everything I need for a full day on the water. A few valuable resources are websites like Craigslist, Facebook marketplace, and Offer Up, which you can typically find some type of inexpensive craft to get you to those places you can’t get to on foot. Remember you don’t need the fanciest or prettiest thing on the market. The fish don’t care what your rig looks like, as long as it functions for what you need it to do.
The bottom line is that it is easy to make excuses as to why we can't do anything. If fishing is important to you, it shouldn't take the back seat for the small obstacles that we all face. Nothing is going to make you better and allow you to learn besides putting the time in on the water. I hope that this will remind you that you don't have to have the fanciest things on the market. If you have it, use it, if you don’t, there are more affordable options. Let’s try to focus less on what the guy or gal next to us has, and focus on fishing.
Captain Keaton Anderson and Kris Smythe