51 - 9 Top Fly Fishing Travel Tips

9 Top Fly Fishing Travel Tips

Travelling with your fly rod this year? Whether it’s a dedicated fly fishing holiday, or filling in some gaps while the family are on the beach, here’s some timely advice, along with a useful fly fishing check list to hit the road with.

  1. Have a rough plan, but stay flexible

Part of the fun of any trip is to do some research and explore those daydream scenarios. Equally, though, you’ll want to keep a close eye on things like licences and locations. Uncle Google can often provide the answers, so do a bit of homework on your chosen destination. That said, no trip will ever be just as you imagine it, so avoid fixed expectations. You can over-plan as well as do too little, so the best policy is often to flesh out some details but be prepared to roll with it, which takes us to our next point.


  1. Local advice and guides are priceless!

As great as the internet is, there is no substitute for real world info when you’re on the road! If there is any kind of tackle shop where you are going, make it your first port of call, even if it’s just to pick up a day ticket. Unlike secretive local anglers, a good shop wants you to have a great trip so you’ll come back and spend more money. That said, they’re unlikely to have a huge choice of flies and other particulars, so stock up on those personal favourites and smaller items well before you go- and don’t forget to take spares of those favourite fly patterns!

Guides are also a great investment on just about any away trip. Indeed, when you might only have a day or two of fishing, being able to tap into years of local experience is worth every penny. If you’re on a budget, you could see if the nearest guide offers half-day sessions, to get you started on the right foot before going it alone. The alternative is often guesswork and a less than successful trip!

  1. Take realistic expectations… and a plan B

So often we look at guidebooks and promotional content and assume fishing will be easy where we’re going. Seldom is the reality so predictable, so set realistic goals and be prepared to adapt. You might dream of dry fly fishing, for example, but if nothing is rising you’ll be glad you packed some nymphs and streamers.

Similarly, it’s easy to focus on your dream outcome but forget other, less enjoyable but more likely wins. If you’re salmon fishing but the weather is dry and hot, you’ll be grateful you took trout and grayling flies. Always have a second idea as an insurance policy! Very often on a family holiday, success is about making the most of what’s available, whether that’s carp in a campsite lake or bass from the beach.

These days, carp and other species can be as important as trout for summer holiday fly fishing.

  1. Early and late trips keep the family happy

If you’re on a trip with family, don’t blow your brownie points by eating into precious shared time. Instead, see if you can get out when they’re having a lie in or the kids have gone to bed. One hour at the best time of day is so often worth several at the wrong time- and nobody will moan if you’re back for breakfast in a good mood after an enjoyable start to the day.

  1. Watch the sun!

These days, you needn’t travel to far flung locations to get seriously singed in the  summer heat. This includes even the cooler bits of the UK! Sunstroke and long-term risks of skin cancer are no laughing matter, but for so many anglers, protection is way too low on our list of priorities. “I’ll be ok” and “my skin doesn’t burn easily” are lines we hear time and again on this. Do yourself a favour, therefore, and make sun protection a priority. Besides a decent hat, a hoorag (below) is a great, versatile way to protect your head, face and neck from sunburn.


  1. Leave your comfort zone

Travel should be all about expanding horizons and new experiences. On this basis, it pays to be brave and try fresh avenues. Perhaps your destination has fish species you’ve never caught or methods you seldom use? You might not become an overnight genius at saltwater streamer fishing or Euro Nymphing, for example, but if that’s the best approach for your destination you’ll be wise to go with it. That way, you’re also likely to take home new ideas for your local fishing once the holiday is over.

  1. Pack with care

Airport luggage handlers, customs officials and the family dog are not the best friends of delicate fishing tackle. Preparation and packing are therefore key. Most four-piece fly rods will fit snugly a suitcase, safely protected by a hard tube. Bubble wrap is another inexpensive way of padding out anything delicate. Another great shout is a waterproof holder for your phone and car keys if you’re doing any wading! Don’t forget to put things like flies and tools in your hold luggage if possible, to avoid bored customs officials raising a stink.

A nifty bit of kit to have packed away in the car are the Cortland rod kits. These kits come in a range of sizes and weights to suit most waters and are ready to go with a pre spooled reel with backing and line.  Not only are these kits well suited to traveling in the car they are also good kits for the kids to disappear with and mess around with on the water.

Cortland Rod Kits from 69.99 GBP

  1. Dependable basics yes, kitchen sink no!

Perhaps the deadliest affliction for any travelling angler is “what if” syndrome. What if the trout are feeding on something weird? What if I need that third choice rod? Reducing your clutter is an artform at the best of times, but when travelling it becomes even more vital. See if you can dispense with the superfluous and really knuckle down on the basics.

Some flies, like a classic black Klinkhamer, will catch the world over!

    Flies are an excellent example of this and a good travel selection includes universally useful patterns that cover a lot of bases in just a few flies. A few basic categories will cover you for almost any trout location in the world for example. These would include:  Dry Caddis, Dry Olive, Emerger, Beadhead Nymph and General fit streamer. Flies like the KlinkhamerElk Hair CaddisBeadhead Hare’s Ear and Woolly Bugger will catch anywhere on the planet. Sure, there will be specific hatches, too, but any local guide worth their salt will fill in any gaps.


Elk Hair Caddis

Hares Ears Beadhead

Woolly Bugger


One excellent solution to take the headache out of fly selection on any trip is to grab a Turrall Fly Pod (below). Organised by theme, from salmon flies to grayling favourites, you’re guaranteed an effective, well organised selection of patterns!

  1. Make a check list of fly fishing equipment and essentials!

One of the great benefits of fly fishing is that the gear doesn’t require a ton of space. Most four piece rods will fit in a suitcase, while a wading vest, fly boxes and other sundries are pretty compact. Nevertheless, it’s always sound policy to have a list of gear to make sure you don’t forget that key item!  Here’s our own rundown of essential fly fishing tackle and accessories… feel free to steal it and add your own must haves!

  • Fly rod (with tube for protection)
  • Reels and fly lines
  • Leaders and tippets
  • Floatant and leader sink
  • Forceps and line snips
  • Fly boxes
  • Waders – or possibly just old shoes/crocs for wet wading if space is tight!
  • Landing net
  • Polarising sunglasses, hat,
  • Sunblock, water bottle, insect repellent
  • Waterproof case or bag for phone and car keys
  • Emergency bag with spare dry clothes and bottled drinking water

Make sure you have all you need. Check out our accessories to stock up on the essentials.