Fly rods and tackle

The equipment needed for fly fishing is unique and quite unlike other fishing tackle. What is an extremely important aspect of fly fishing is to ensure the fly line and the fly rod are compatible and are matched.

Fly rods

A fly rod is a highly engineered piece of equipment that is capable of casting a very light weight some distance and with a high degree of accuracy. Most rods are now made from carbon fibre though some manufacturers still use fibreglass and split cane.

Commonly rods come in 4 sections making them easy to transport. It is also advisable to always transport rods in a rod tube to protect them as they can easily be broken. Unlike spinning rods, the reel seat on a fly rod is located below the hand grip.

Some rods come with a spare tip as this is the part of the rod most likely to break. Many rods now carry substantial guarantees against breakage though there usually the cost of postage back to the factory to be paid.

When choosing a rod think about what type of fishing you will be mostly doing, your skill level and the conditions you are likely to encounter.

See section on how to choose a fly rod.

Fly reels

Fly reels are comparatively simple in design. They are used to hold the line and are not used when casting. Most are designed now with a wide spool that lessens the compression on the flyline when not in use.

They also have a drag system which is needed when a fish makes a run as the drag will help ensure that the delicate leader does not break. When choosing a reel ensure that the drag system is smooth. 

See section on how to choose a fly reel

Fly line

The fly line is what is used to give the weight to propel the lure forward. Flylines come in many types, weights and colours.

When purchasing a line it is important to know what type of fishing you are intending it for (dry fly, nymph fishing, wet lining etc) and to ensure the line is perfectly matched to the rod you will be using.

Tippet The tippet is the thin line that is used to attach the fly or lures to the fly line. It is usually around 9 feet or longer and made from nylon or fluorocarbon.
Flies and lures

The fly is possibly the cheapest but most important item of equipment as this is what will be presented to the fish. Flies are designed to imitate insects, small fish and other trout or salmon food. There are endless variations but most are different configurations of a few basic patterns that imitate the common foods of trout.

See the variety of common flies used on New Zealand waters.


It is unlikely that many anglers use only one fly during a fishing trip and so such items as a fishing box is important. A good fishing vest is also useful to carry such items as knives, spare tippet, the fly box etc.

And do carry a landing net. Many fish are caught in difficult places and a net can be vital to land a good fish. is the complete guide to New Zealand trout and salmon fishing.

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