Shopping for an angler that "has it all" can be stressful to say the least. We get emails and phone calls every season about what fishing gear we recommend for people's friends and family. Hopefully this guide will be a good starting point. If you have any questions, feel free to call us 828-355-9109.
Accessories, Fly Tying, Stocking Stuffers
Pack - Packs are always a personal preference. One person will like a hip back, another person will love a sling. One complaint we always hear about a hip pack is how it does not slide around your body. Well, Fishpond has come up with a new system where the pack actually slides on a wading belt so moving the pack around your body is a breeze. Introducing the Switchback Wading Belt System ($99.95). This system allows you to easily access your pack. It also has a built in net holster. FIshpond has a plethora of new accesories to "kit" this belt out.
Fly Tying Vise - The Peak Rotary Vise ($160) is a great upgrade for anyone that has been tying flies for a while, or a great choice for the fly-tyer that is wanting to buy a vise that they will not need to replace anytime soon . This vise is what all of our guides use. Seeing that these boys are tying a few thousand bugs a season each- it is safe to say that this vise has been tested a ton. It's sturdy, smooth, and it holds a size 22 hook like it's nothing. If they are serious about tying, this is a great gift! It definitely has our seal of approval.
Fly Tying Kit - We get the question a lot about buying a premade tying kit. The kits that some companies put out are basically left over scraps from packaging fly tying material. We can take a budget and put together a kit that will allow them to get the most bang for your buck. Allow us to build a kit for you so that your angler can tie the most bugs for your buck! Our kits are customized for the waters that you fish- not what fly tying companies have left over.
Fly box of flies - every angler always needs and appreciates flies. We can put together a fly box with as many flies as you'd like. We'll hand pick flies that we have personally fished and tested across a broad variety of waters so your sepcial someone can get the best angling options without the hassle of trying to figure out what they need.
Rods, Reels, Outfits
Beginner combo - for the person that's been toying with the thought of learning to fly fish but doesn't want to break the bank to get going, a beginner combo is the best way to get them into the sport. We recommend either the Redington Crosswater Combo ($169.99) or putting together a combo with the Fenwick Eagle ($99.95) + a pre-spooled Redington Crosswater Reel ($89.99).
Small stream outfit - living in Boone we fish a ton of small, little wild creeks. We love chasing those small, wild, aggressive fish. The set up we recommend for that type of fishing is the Redington Classic Trout 7' 6" 3wt ($149.99) + Redington Zero Reel 2/3 ($89.99) + Rio Creek Line ($79.99). The Classic Trout is a tested rod that we guide with and use in our rental program, paired with the Zero, which is a click and pawl reel, makes for chasing those small trout perfect. Rio released its Creek Line this year. The taper on it was spefically designed with roll casting in tight areas in mind. You'll be dodging in and out of those Rhodos like it's nothing.
Tailwater outfit - the Watauga and South Holston tailwaters are just over an hour away from Boone making for some of the best fishing in the Southeast. With tailwaters, comes big, heavy fish that can fight like no other. For fishing the tailwaters we recommend going with a litte bit more of a faster action rod and a reel that has a little bit more of a drag to it. The first pairing we recommend is the Hardy Demon 9' 4wt or 9' 5wt ($449.95) + the Hardy CADD 3/4/5 ($275) + ARC 99+ ($84.99). This outfit is as smooth as butter on a roll at Paula Deen's Thanksgiving dinner. The Demon is a rod that feel meaty but you can cast it all day long with perfect loops, paired with the ARC 99+ which is really about a .5wt heavier makes that line just sing through the guides. If you are looking for a work horse outfit- Redington Vice 9' 4wt or 9' 5wt ($199.99) + Allen Trout II ($149.99) + ARC 99+ ($84.99). The Vice will handle a small streamer and a heavy nymph rig, paired with the reel, which has an amazing drag system - you'll be hauling in big fish easily.
All around, all purpose outfit - if you're an "all a rounder" meaning sometimes you fish small streams, medium delayed harvest water and the tailwaters and are looking for something that will fit the bill look no further than the Hardy Shadow 9' 4wt or 8' 6" 4wt ($349.95) + the Hardy Ultralite FWDD 3/4/5 ($219.00) + ARC 99 line ($89.95). A few of our guides have this set up and have been very pleased. None of them are speficially "TN guides" so their gear needs to be great all around and they've picked the Shadow and FWDD as the winning combo. You'll bounce from a brookie stream, to a stocked stream, to the tailwaters and never have to think about changing anything but your fly.
Here's a little bonus for everyone checking out the Hardy Shadow - the 8' 6" 4wt just won the best mid-priced 4wt rod in the Yellowstone Angler shoot out. For $350 you can have one of the best 4wt rods currently on the market in the USA (Not to mention the best expensive rod was the Hardy Zephrus and inexpensive rod was the Fenwick Aetos, all of which we carry).
Waders, Boots, Apparel
Women's Waders - Redington Women's Sonic Pros ($299.99). The features on these waders have the woman in mind that might be wearing these. They are a 4 layer wader, which will provide extra protection when you accidentally brush up against those thorn bushes and if you fish in the cold, you'll notice the difference between the 3 and 4 layer wader. One feature that is really nice is the elastic band around the chest of the waders. It allows you to sinch in the waders closer to your body so they don't feel quite as baggy as most waders do.
Women's Boots - Hands down the Redington Siren boot ($149.99). These boots feel like you're wearing tennis shoes in the river. They have penty of support in them and the added feature of having a cork insert in the heel, makes them feel even lighter in the water. You'll wear these all day and never once complain about your legs or back hurting.
Men's Waders - There's no doubt that living in the Boone area we fish in the cold. This November alone we've spent days guiding where it's below freezing outside. It's important for us, and really our clients to have good waders. We recommend investing in the Hodgman H5s ($229.95). These are 5 layer waders that are virutally bomb proof. Our guides waders take a lot of wear and tear on them each season and so far we have been very pleased with the results of the H5s. Bonus - they come in tall and longs so they have a fit that will work for anyone.
Men's Boots - A lot of people love the Korker's boots where you have the interchangable sole but the number one complaint that we hear about them is the durability of the sole, and also that it pops off a lot. Hodgman recently released a line of boots to solve those issues. The newly release Hodgamn boots offer interchangable soles that have a very unique key hole system on them. It allows for the sole to be secured to the boot in 6 different areas. These boots could go through a nuclear bomb and the soles would still be attached. The speific ones we recommend is the H5s ($149.95). They are some of the most comfortable and longest lasting boots our guides have ever worn.
Waterproof Guide Jacket - Here at Due South we are definitely on a Hodgman gear kick. They've come out with a completely revamped line a few years ago and we are loving everything. The jacket that we have in both men's and women's is the Hodgman Aesis jacket ($229.95). The price doesn't break the bank either. The fit is perfect and it has features like the gueeset sleeve that was designed to keep water out, making a fully subersible jacket. This jacket even offers a handy magnetic patch that you can throw flies onto. As with any jacket, over time it'll become less waterproof but so far, with multiple brands tested, this is still our favorite jacket.
All Around "Weatherproof" Jacket - Aftco has been a great salt water apparel company for decades, but in the last few years the company has really upped its freshwater game. As fly fishing guides, guides we are always looking for jackets that are going to be lightweight but warm enough for us to fish through the cooler months. The Aftco Horizon weatherproof fleece jacket ($118.00) has been the ticket. This jacket makes you feel like your mom just served you a bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup on a snow day when you were 10. If you can find a jacket similar for under $120, let us know.