Tackle and Gear

I guess there will be the odd angler who doesn’t care much for talking about tackle, but I’ve not met many. Given half a chance I can bore with the best for hours. I’m not a collector though. I readily pass on equipment I no longer need, want or isn’t getting used.

Although I’ve fished all my life, I came relatively late to the fly, so you won’t find me out with a favourite 20 year old 6ft split cane brook rod. One day I may get around to trying cane.IMG_0652 Neither am I a young competition warrior, master caster or the type who will trek for two days to a hidden mountain stream (although the idea appeals the body would probably moan).

When it comes to my fishing kit I’m not a hard core traditionalist but I do air on the conservative side.


For regular rivers, such as many in the Usk and Wye catchment, I have recently switched back to Hardy and a Zephrus 9ft 4wt. It casts very well and I’m looking forward to the coming season. I’ve long admired the Sage SLT and now I feel privileged to have the 8ft 4wt version – also a wonderful dry fly rod to cast.

When I want to fish nymphs I use a Hanak Superlight. It’s a superb rod for this technique but will also cast a reasonable dry, so it’s a versatile choice.

My final river rod is a lovely little 7ft Streamflex XF2 that is perfect for small brooks and streams. It loads well close in but has the backbone for the odd surprise.


My favourite is probably the Hardy Ultralight and I’ve a few Orvis Access mid-arbors that I really like.  For the brook rod I have a little Battenkill click & pawl or a small Hardy Duchess.

I pair the Hanak Superlight with the Hanak Superlight reel. I guess the clue is in the name, but it really is ridiculously light!

Fly Line

I’ve tried a lot and have become very comfortable with the lines that Mike Barrio sells, particularly his Smallstream line. Excellent lines, excellent value and excellent service. I also like the Snowbee High Float+ and Wulff tt line.

I have tried various specialist nymph lines but now prefer monofilament. For more detail on the set up take a look here Troutbitten.


Travelling Light


For those who do not tie their own, I recommend buying from Richard at Barbless Flies. A great selection for the river angler and excellent service.

I have a preference for a small collection of ‘go to’ flies rather than a huge collection. Give me some Klinks, F flies, Emergers and a variety of  PTN’s and I’m fine.

Other Stuff

I like to use tapered leaders from Leeda or Hardy or I make up my own. For close dry fly work on small streams I’m a convert to furled tapered leaders. Most of the time I use either Stroft or Maxima for tippet and I love the little Stroft 5 spool tippet dispenser.

I’m in the anti-fluorocarbon camp and convinced for my type of fishing, it offers no advantage. Just expensive marketing hype.

If you are interested in good quality clothes including breathable waders and jackets at reasonable prices, check out the Taimen site, as I’ve been very pleased with several purchases.

Over the years I have flip flopped a lot over carrying tackle. Sometimes preferring a traditional vest and then trying chest packs and slings. I now use Patagonia’s Hybrid Pack Vest for most day’s on the river. It’s very light weight, easily carries my minimal approach and combines a small back-pack for some extra kit, a jacket or lunch.

Tackle is all a personal choice and I’m frequently reminded that the fish don’t care what you’re wearing or what you’re holding. It’s all about the presentation……

Mr Notherone

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