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Beginner Fly-Fishing Gear: Redington Topo Outfit

I’ve never tried fly fishing, and it's hard to find a buddy who's willing to show me the ropes. What’s the best way to get started?

Redington Topo Outfit.     Photo: Bob Parks

A:The Redington Topo kit comes with a good variety of mayflies, caddis bugs, and beetles that will raise such cold-water fish, and its tippet, or graduated leader line, goes from a thick monofilament to a gossamer thin strand that won’t spook a trout when it hits the water. The kit includes a spare tippet in case you tangle with a tree, and a little pair of metal nippers to cut lines and prep new flies. The rod itself has a fast to moderate action, which worked a little better when I cast it on a lake than when I was trying to angle in a cramped brook. When I was a kid I used a Pflueger, which had more of standard feel—more flexible and forgiving.

At a little over a pound in total weight and under three feet long, the Redington packs well. Setting everything up took a few minutes—you push together the four graphite segments of the pole using the handy alignment dots, then screw the reel tight. It’s not completely idiot-proof—the first time I screwed the reel on backwards—but it was easy enough to figure out.

The review kit was due back exactly one week from the day it arrived, and that was my deadline to catch dinner. On a rainy late afternoon, with big droplets making a racket on the canopy above, I hooked one fish that I was unable to land. Suddenly I was fighting a trout, and then an instant later, it was gone. I had a few other bites, and did land a sunny in the lake but threw it back. Not exactly Brad Pitt under the Montana sky.

Besides the hassle-free setup of the Redington, a highlight of my fishing week was finally having a proper fishing vest, which I’ll get into after the jump.

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