Using a Fly-Fishing Lanyard: We all love our fly-fishing vests. When Lee Wulff created the first one, it was little more than a shirt with a couple of cargo pockets sewn on. Nowadays fly-fishing vest are far more elaborate. Hell they might have a dozen pockets or more. Man, that makes vests very handy and capable of carrying a ton of tackle. But that’s a problem too. Vests can hold so much stuff, we end up tempted to lug around every fly and gadget we own – way more gear than we actually need. In fact a fly-fishing vest can balloon into something so big you need a Sherpa to help you around!
Recently, after a long day on the stream, my vest was killing me. It felt like I was carting aton of brick. So the following day I weighed it. Lordy, lordy, it was a shade over 8 pounds! And its only a “shortie” vest. Now 8 pounds might not sound like a lot, but over the course of day it takes a toll, believe me. Especially if the load doesn’t land exactly right. It needs to be out on your shoulders, not around your neck.
Several years ago I purchased a fly-fishing lanyard. Frankly at the time, lanyards were new to the marketplace, and I wasn’t sure how valuable they might be. But they looked worthy of a try.
Well, it turns out I like lanyards. They are light, and quite comfortable. I opt to use mine during the warmest months, when typically I fish with a reduced selection of flies – a few dries (including terrestrials), a few nymphs, and a few wets or soft hackles. A lanyard is perfect for the dog days of summer.
Using a fly-fishing lanyard forces you to be a minimalist. After all you’re paring down to the bare essentials. Less has to be more. So plan ahead accordingly. As you can see in the photo, I have one small fly box (You can carry another one in your wader pouch, if you like, along with your nippers.), floatant, forceps, a couple of strike indicators, leader straightener, and the necessary tippet spools. (A small LED light can be put on the brim of your hat.) That’s it! Total weight you ask? Ounces not pounds. And its cool even on the hottest July day.
When using a fly-fishing lanyard, its important to balance the gear on the right and left sides, such that the lanyard hangs with the metal clip straight down. What clip am I referring too? At the base of a lanyard is a
small metal clip you connect to the top of your waders (Or your shorts if you’re wading wet). This clip may not look like a big deal, but it is. If you fail to use it, when you bend forward to land and release a fish, the lanyard swings out in your face. A real nuisance that can be easily avoided. By all means use the clip.
Overall I highly recommend you give lanyards a try. You’ll enjoy them. If you’re the handy type, you might even make your own, not a big deal. Be sure to add a little padding in the neck area. Use a strong enough chord, so it doesn’t let go a midstream. And if possible find stainless steel snap rings and a stainless clip.
PS: My Orvis fly box has a convenient loop built in, but one can be added to any plastic box with a little ingenuity. I’m sure you’ll figure it out.