Packing: Fishing Gear

The decision to steelhead fish my way down the Pacific coast by bike means I'm bringing many things a typical bike-tourist wouldn't pack. Luckily, I prefer to swing flies when fishing for steelhead, a method that doesn't require a ton of gadgets and gear. Here's a rundown of what I'm packing.


Echo 3 7110 Switch Rod

If I was traveling by car rather than bicycle, I'd probably carry three different rods, reels and lines to accommodate the wide variety of water I'll encounter. The fact that I'm only taking one rod means I need a single fly rod that works from the Olympic Peninsula all the way to California's small coastal rivers. When the folks over at Echo heard about my trip, they were eager to make sure I was dialed in. We decided on the Echo 3 seven weight switch rod. It's got the backbone to lift heavy sink-tips and Intruders, yet short enough to string up a nymph setup on coastal creeks (if I stoop to that level). It's light in the hand, looks great and packs a lifetime warranty.

While I haven't gotten it out on a steelhead river (we're severely lacking those here in Wyoming), I have done a number of test runs on the Yellowstone River and Yellowstone Lake. Throwing 10 feet of a T-8 sinking tip and a heavily weighted streamer was no problem. The winds on the Lake can be severe, yet the Echo 3's fast action generated fast enough line speed to cut through these high elevation gales. I'm sure it will take me a few hours to get back into the swing of casting this heavier weight two handed rod, but experience tells me it won't take long. I can't wait to feel that first tug of a steelhead at the end of this rod!


Airflo 450 grain Skagit Compact shooting head

  • Shortish: 25 feet
  • Looped on both ends
  • Chucks the big meat
  • Perfect match for the Echo 3

Airflo Skagit Flo sinking tip set

  • Sink tips used to get flies down near the fish
  • Color coded and labeled makes it possible to identify each tip. Nice!
  • Looped at both ends for easy swapping.
  • Integrated 2 feet of intermediate line make for a smooth transfer between floating skagit line and sinking tip.

Lamson Guru 3

  • Solid, good looking reel.
  • Functional disc drag
  • Built in Idaho


I've been twisting up Intruder flies for a few years now, and finally have gotten to a place were I'm pretty happy with the final product. Let's hope the fish are equally impressed!


  • Patagonia Rio Gallegos
  • Patagonia Ultralight wading boots
  • Fleece pants


  • Tippet in varying weight
  • Nippers
  • Multi-tool