hope you're all excited to get the season started and are busy organizing and sorting through your gear so you're ready to hit the water. I was doing the same a little while ago and thought I might share a few essentials I bring on board every day I'm on the water. Admittedly a boat makes bringing stuff a lot easier than wading but hopefully you'll find a few of these ideas good enough to try for yourselves.
1-superglue. This is an invaluable addition that's great for repairing damaged flies, coating knots and even sealing minor cuts. I've used it for everything from fixing broken sunglasses to gluing back together an appetizer platter on our overnight trips (three years ago and still going strong). I personally like the brush on zap a gap because the brush is great for applying the right amount into little spots and the formula doesn't react negatively to tying material like other super glues can. Make sure to store it in a ziploc or similar to make sure it doesn't leak if you don't tighten the cap enough after use.
2-permanent markers. I keep a wide selection of markers with me so that I can effectively match any hatch I encounter. Changing an adams to a bwo, or a pmd to a mahogany only takes a couple seconds. We've found customizing our hoppers, stoneflies, and streamers with markers to be the difference makers on many days. They can be really helpful in changing parachute post or indicator colors in flat light when white or even fluorescent colors get tough to see. While basic sharpie colors are great I'm often looking at fly and craft shop selections for more specific buggy colors. "French toast" is a great hopper color!
3-tip top repair kit. Some guys go their entire lives never breaking a rod. Those guys never seem to fish with me. It seems like I'll average about a dozen breaks a year. I like to keep a simple bag with the stuff needed to glue a tip top back on so we don't have to stop fishing for more than a couple seconds. It's important that I keep a few sizes of tip top because rod model, weight, and where the break occured can cause the blank diameter to vary greatly.
4-bodkin or sewing needle. I am very leery of nail knots, Chinese finger heat shrink loops, or any other knot that grips the coating, not the core of your fly line. Clients arrive with all manner of set ups and while the welded loop is standard on almost all current lines, many older ones require more rigging. The bodkin allows me to tie a quick needle nail or Albright knot providing stronger connections. It took a couple big fish break offs to make rerigging standard if I'm not sure on the set up. The bodkin is better for knots but a sewing needle can be more helpful if you're more apt to have a button fall off your shirt. I keep both on me.
5-thread and bobbin. Down to the last of a particular fly the fish are just pounding and it's starting to fall apart? Harness your inner Carrie Stevens and repair it in hand. Often just a couple securing wraps and a drop of super glue will keep it going the rest of your day. I only carry white and use my markers to color a section of the thread to match the fly. I'll also use the thread with my sewing needle to stitch anything up that needs repair (gear and people if necessary).
6-brush. Good for school picture day, good for fly fishing so you can look good for your grip and grin. I'm kidding about that but really these little brushes are great for teasing out tangled synthetic winged streamers and dries or getting those poly yarn indicators puffy and floaty.
7-rubber twisty tie. These little wire coated twisty ties are great for all kinds of uses. I primarily use them to keep halved rods together for transport in the truck or boat and always use them to lash loose gear down to my raft frame. They're available in a ton of lengths and can be found at most hardware or outdoor stores.
8-air duster. These cans of compressed air dry off your dry flies incredibly fast and easy. They work especially well for those tiny CDC dries that get waterlogged after a fish or two. This is my first step in drying a fly off before then reapplying the appropriate floatant. Treating a soaking wet fly with floatant does nothing to help the fly it's vital to get it dry first. While a bit bulky in a vest I've found that these cans slip in great to most lumbar packs that have water bottle holsters. Many bags have a couple holsters so you don't have to choose between water (or beer) or the air can.
Hope me these ideas are something you like and try out. Our season got started up a couple weeks ago here's some pics from some of our days on the water so far!