We have a booth at the Puyallup Sportsmen’s Show, come by and say hi!

$2 off coupons for the show available at the shop!

Justin is doing a presentation on fly fishing Puget Sound Friday and Saturday at 7:30pm in Blue Theater.

New classes for 2017 have been scheduled and we have a few classes coming up!

We have a new robust program in place to handle booking classes online. We’ve been working on this for a couple months and are finally ready to roll it out. We hope you find it easy and intuitive to use. You can access it on our website under Learn or a few selected upcoming classes below.

Fly Fishing 1.1 – An Introduction to Fly Fishing – 1/21 or 2/4
Fly Tying 1.1 – An Introduction to Fly Tying – 1/25 or 2/8
Fly Fishing 1.5 – Puget Sound Beach Clinic – 1/21

2017 F3T Stoke Reel from The Fly Fishing Film Tour on Vimeo.


Thursday March 2, 2017

6PM – Live Music, Beer, & Silent Auction

7PM – Show

We’re excited to be hosting the Fly Fishing Film Tour for our 8th year in a row! We will raise money for the Coastal Cutthroat Coalition with this event with a silent auction and raffle item! The silent auction is before the event and raffle at intermission. Bring cash or a check book!

Tickets are available at the shop for $15 or online on our website for $18.


Living in the Puget Sound area we have a lot of fly fishing opportunity in our backyard. If you’re new to fly fishing, getting your feet wet in Puget Sound is a great idea! Success on the beaches of Puget Sound means it is essential to have the right gear.

Previously we discussed here about how to choose the right freshwater trout rod. We’ll frame our discussion here for Puget Sound rods with the same format so it is understandable.

When you’re just starting out fly fishing, there are a few factors when discerning the perfect rod for Puget Sound fishing: Length, Line Weight, Action, & Components.

Fly Rod Lengthdsc_2977

A longer fly rod is a longer lever. It moves more line. And moving more line means longer casts. Puget Sound is a big water and most of the time we are making long casts to cover a lot of water. The average fly rod is 9′ and for Puget Sound you won’t want anything shorter. For beach fishing we typically fish a 9’6″ or 9′ rod. For kayak and boat fishing we prefer just a 9′ rod as a longer rod makes landing large fish difficult.

Line Weight

Rods are designed to cast a particular weight of line that is measured in grains. So when we talk about the weight of the rod we’re not talking about its physical weight but the weight of line it is meant to cast. We have been asked more than once if there is a perfect rod for Puget Sound, there really isn’t. We have quite the diversity in Puget Sound fishing options. Are you interested in catching 10-18 inch sea run cutthroat trout? Or catching salmon such as coho or chums? The rod you use to wrestle with big chum salmon is not the same rod you would use to catch trout in the salt. A 5wt or 6wt rod is perfect for sea run cutthroat. 6wts are sometimes used for the smaller pink salmon but 7-8wt rods are necessary for the larger salmon species. If we had to recommend just one rod starting off, we’d recommend a 6wt.

Rod Action

How deep the rod bends has a lot to do with the cast. Rods that bend deeply in the cast have a slower action and are not good Puget Sound rods. It is difficult to make distance casts with such a rod. A stiffer, fast action rod is what you want for the Sound. Paired with the right shooting head line (and a little practice), a fast action rod can easily bomb casts you had only dreamed were possible! Rods with a medium-fast or fast action are perfect for fishing our saltwater backyard.


There are a couple additional things we look for in a good Puget Sound rod. Having saltwater resistant components on the rod like the reel seat and guides is good. But when a rod is designed for saltwater use it also usually has a full wells grip ( it swoops up on both ends) and a fighting butt (small extension below the reel seat).

In our Puget Sound Beach Clinic, I frequently have customers showing me their gear and asking if it is appropriate for Puget Sound. Even when it is not ideal I tell them to use what they got and see if they dig beach fishing. If they enjoy it they can gear up appropriately. But if you’re starting fresh and don’t have gear yet, don’t waste your time and money getting the wrong gear. Make sure the rod is an appropriate Puget Sound rod with the above attributes. We want to help you get the right gear for you. We even have a fly rod satisfaction guarantee. Purchase any rod from us and you have 30 days to use it. If you don’t love it we’ll exchange it for the right one for you.

Suggested Gear

Because Puget Sound is a fairly specialized fishery, combos are not readily available pre-packaged from manufacturers and they need to be customized and assembled for you.

5-6wt suggestions for sea run cutthroat:

For entry level rods under $200 the Echo ION XL 9′ 6wt and Redington Vice 9’6″ 6wt are both good options.

Excellent mid-priced rods include the Redington Predator 9′ 5wt or 6wt, Sage Pulse 9’6″ 6wt or Sage Motive 9′ 6wt, and Scott Flex 9’6″ 6wt.

For the best of the best we love the Sage X 591-4 or 697-4, Sage SALT 590-4, Scott Meridian 906/4, Scott Radian 906/4 or 956/4, and Winston B3 Plus 5wt.

7-8wt suggestions for larger fish:

For entry level rods under $200 the Echo ION XL 9′ 7wt or 8wt and Redington Vice 9′ 8wt are both good options.

Excellent mid-priced rods include the Redington Predator 9′ 7wt or 8wtSage Motive 9′ 7wt or 8wt, and Scott Tidal 9′ 7wt.

For the top shelf stuff, we love the Sage X 890-4, Sage SALT 790-4, Scott Meridian 908/4, and Winston B3 Plus 8wt.

There are a lot of different lines that are great for Puget Sound. Different conditions call for different lines but to keep this simple for those of you just starting out, we recommend starting with a Rio Outbound Short floating if you’re fishing cutthroat, and a Rio Coastal Quickshooter if you’re chasing salmon.

There are a lot of beaches around Puget Sound to explore. We have made it easy for you to start out. Check out The Neighborhood on our website for dozens of access spots.

So you’ve decided to take the plunge into fly fishing and you want to start with trout. Good choice! Pursuing trout on the fly is steeped in tradition and has a rich history in America. Many will argue that witnessing a large trout rise to your dry fly is the pinnacle of the fly fishing experience.

So where do you start with gear?

Selecting a rod comes down to 3 primary factors: Length, Line Weight, and Action.

Fly Rod Length

thumb_img_7810_1024Let’s make this very simple. Longer rods = distance, short rods = accuracy. A 9′ fly rod is the most common length. If you are fishing smaller streams and want a more accurate presentation, an 8′ or 8’6″ is probably the ticket. If you are fishing creeks, a 7’6″ might be even more appropriate. If you fish lakes or larger rivers a rod 9′ or larger is preferable. Many lake anglers use 9’6″ or 10′ rods. Just starting out a 9′ rod is probably going to be the best all around rod for you and will handle the most amount of fishing opportunities.

Line Weight

Rods are designed to cast a plastic coated line, specifically a line that weighs a particular amount measured in grains. Nerding out on the intricacies of grain weights for lines at this point would not be much help. So to keep things simple for all of us, the industry has adopted a line weight standard (abbreviated as wt). For now, just believe me when I say that a 6wt weighs more than a 5wt. Rods are designed around line weights, and so you don’t end up with a rod designed for tuna, make sure you get the appropriate trout rod that is rated for a trout line. The meat and potatoes of trout rods are between 3-6 wts with 5wts being the most popular. Almost every angler has a 5wt in their quiver. Once again, small creeks and small fish are best targeted with a 2wt or 3wt, where as big rivers and lakes with generally larger fish are best fished with a 4, 5, or 6wt.

Rod Action

img_6164Not all rods cast the line the same. Several different factors are at play. Some of these factors are the type of graphite used and the taper of the rod. If the rod has a deep bend, we call that slow action. If the rod barely flexes and just in the tip of the rod, we call that fast action. Slow action rods have a slower casting cadence. They’re very comfortable to cast and are great for a delicate presentation of small flies. Faster action rods create a lot of line speed velocity and can cast further than slow action rods. They’re great for punching flies into the wind, larger water when long casts are needed, and big flies. Anglers looking for their first trout rod should pick a rod that is a medium or medium-fast action. Not too slow, and not too fast.

At the fly shop we consistently have new customers telling or showing us their new gear and unfortunately only about half the time it is appropriate for what they intend to do. Hopefully this information helps you make purchases that don’t waste your time or your money. To ease your mind about your first rod purchase, we offer a 30 day fly rod satisfaction guarantee on all rods. If the rod you purchase isn’t perfect for you, we’ll exchange it for the right one.

Suggested Gear

The Redington Path Combo is a great way to start out and is easy on the budget. The 9′ 5wt rod configuration is what we would recommend and comes with everything you need.

If you are looking for more of an upgrade, the Redington Hydrogen, Sage Pulse, and Scott Flex are excellent mid-level rods. For the best of the best, we like the Sage X, Sage MOD, Scott Radian, and Winston AIR.

When it comes to reels with trout fishing, a sophisticated drag system is nice but not necessary. A lot of reels are available and the key to look for is size and weight. You want a reel for your line weight and a weight that balances the rod. For example, on a lot of 9′ 5wt rods we prefer a reel around 4.5-5 ounces.

For lines, the best all purpose trout line we’ve found is the Rio Gold. It’s exceptional for dry flies and will handle nymphs as well as small to mid sized streamers.

Now since you’re dialed on gear, you just need to find a spot to go fish! Check out the Neighborhood on our website for maps to all sorts of fishing spots.

We had a blast at our Christmas event Saturday night, thanks to everyone that came out! We had about 50 people come party! If you missed it, one of the activities we hosted was tying up some Christmas Tree Flies. Here’s a short 45sec video of the Christmas Tree Fly we helped everyone tie. This will definitely be an event we do again next year!

We are super excited to represent such a quality and fun brand. We have a big display of them down at Gig Harbor Watersports and we have the entire collection on the Fly Shop’s eCommerce site as well. You can shop below or the entire collection here.

Rainbow Sandals Men’s Double Layer w/ Premium Leather
Rainbow Sandals Men’s Single Layer Classic Rubber
Rainbow Sandals Women’s Premium Leather Flirty Braid

Kula coolers are super functional and durable and perfect for fly fishers, kayakers, boaters, and standup paddleboarders. Check out this creative video from Kula Coolers.

We’re super excited to be bringing in BOTE boards! We have their inflatable in stock right now and the hard boards are on their way. We are so impressed with their fly fishing specific boards I decided to take my wife to Belize to go try them out on the flats. You know, um, product testing!

We the BOTE products on display at our Gig Harbor Watersports store, just a half of a block from the fly shop in Downtown Gig Harbor.


BOTE in 30 Seconds from BOTE Board on Vimeo.

We’ve Added To Our Elite Program for 2017!

Join our 2017 Elite Program and get benefits at both the Fly Shop and Watersports:

– 15% off the regular price of Flies
– 15% off Fly Tying Materials
– 25% off all classes & clinics
– 25% off all casting lessons
– 50% off 1st three months of our Fly of the Month Club
– 25% off kayak/SUP rentals for you AND your friends
– 10% off kayak accessories

The program runs from 1/1/17-12/31/17.

Sign Up Here


Holiday Season Hours

Expanded hours to make sure you’re taken care of. Need to pick up after hours, no problem, just email us. Need something shipped, and fast? We’ll do that to just ask.Holiday Hours

SundayFriday 9-6

Saturday 8-6

Please note we are now open early on Sundays. Also Friday & Saturday Dec 16-17 we will be open until 7pm both nights. Christmas Eve we will close at 5. Closed Christmas Day.

Gig Harbor Fly Shop Episode 11 – Tips to Tying Better Intruders w/ OPST Ben Paull

After you’ve watched the video, below is Ben tying up an intruder with composite loops from start to finish. We hope you learn a few things from these videos and get inspired. We’d love to help you find the materials you need to tie some big nasty flies. Check out our website or give us a call 253-851-3474.

Wine, Appetizers, Live Music, Christmas Tree Fly/Craft, & more!

This Saturday 5-8pm

Join us Saturday evening for a fun Christmas event at the shop. We’re trying to make this a fun inclusive event so bring a spouse or a friend! It’s okay if they’re not a fly fisher!

We’ll be pouring some complimentary wine, we have some 5-star appetizers, and songwriter Ben Wysong will be providing some live music.

Last but not least we will be hosting a special Christmas Fly Tying activity, no tying experience necessary! We will help you tie up your very own Christmas tree fly. Use it as a decoration or a give it as a gift. We’ll provide all the materials, you just provide the willingness to try it!

This event is part of the larger Candlelight Christmas in the Harbor event. Several businesses will be open late. Come downtown for a hayride with Santa, lighted boat parade, falling snow, live Christmas music, and more! Guys, this is a perfect opportunity for a date night and sneaking in a trip to the fly shop!

Many of you have heard of our upcoming trip to the Zapata Peninsula April 29-May 6, 2017. 1 open spot by the way!

There are some other Cuba opportunities available that I can wholeheartedly recommend, and suggest you consider.

Jon Covich of Fly Water Travel is hosting a trip to the Gardens of the King and has two open spots. We had considered hosting a trip to that destination as well because of its spectacular tarpon fishing (plenty of bonefish and permit too!). The dates are June 24-July 2, 2017. For more information, check out Jon’s site or feel free to ask me any questions about it.

It’s that time of year again, the annual Christmas post, the one time a year I write about anything other than fish. If you ask anyone in my family, the only gifts they receive from me come from inside this shop, so I try to put a little thought into it. We all try to do three ideas for this post. The first two items on my list are the fishermens items, these items are for the men or women on your list that you say “man, they have everything, but I want to go big on fishing”. The last item is the fun gift idea for the person on your list that doesnt need much, but you want to get something that shows you thought of them! Here you go!


Number one!


Fisknat Nets are a Northwest staple, They are reasonably priced for their beautiful craftsmanship and they sure are beautiful! These are locally made, beautiful, and every fisherman has dreamed of them! Plus Robert over at Fisknat sure is a great guy! A new net is always a safe bet for a fishermen, If you know they have a net already try to get a look at the handle length and we can help you compliment it!


Number two! (two part)c2303-zoom-r-evolution-traveler

The Renzetti Traveler 2300! This is the most loved vise in the game, this is what most of us in the shop whip up our flies on and some of the best tiers in the world are tying on. This vise has many of the same features of the luxury vises on the market without the complicated or fancy features that make them $400-$700 dollars. The Renzetti traveler is made in the USA for the guy that loves tying flies!

Part two of number twomaster_vise_m6008

The Renzetti Master! Okay, I have to admit I am a massive fan of the Traveler 2300, and I have no real NEED to upgrade to the master. I do a lot of classes (2017 schedule coming soon) and I am fairly active on Instagram with my flies (@flyfishingjustinwaters) and this vise is just better looking than the traveler. The adjustable neck, the burley base, and the ability to tie down to a #28 and up to a size 10/0 saltwater fly makes this vise the best on the market, and the most beautiful finish on the market… It was on my birthday wish list and SOMEONE decided feeding ourselves was more important than buying a new vise. However this one is on my personal wish list.


Number 3!sw000171108-1-p


The Charley Harper Trout Socks!


Smartwool’s Charley Harper collection is a great addition to anyones sock drawer. They look great, feel great, and last for what seems like forever. They are technical enough to feel comfortable on a short hike with the dog, yet still make a great everyday sock for…everyday! Plus you can say you have trout toes!


Merry Christmas, Hanukkah, Holiday, or bar mitzvah to you and your family, and tight-lines in the new year!



Fly Tying Demos w/ Justin Waters


Free Fly Tying Demos w/ Justin – Saturday all day!

11am-12:30pm Fly Tying Tips and Tricks – Fly tying techniques that will greatly improve the fishability & durability of your flies. There will be methods in how to reduce bulk, time, keel your flies better, and make better looking, more effective flies for all sorts of species. Plus a few tying tricks and techniques that are just plain fun!

1:30-3:30pm Fly Tying for Puget Sound – Techniques used to make effective flies for Sea Run Cutthroat and Salmon in Puget Sound. We will discuss materials, methods, and how to fish these flies effectively. Feel free to ask questions about flies, techniques, or rigging for puget sound fishing.

4:30-7pm – Open Tie! – Come on down, bring your vise, adult beverages, some materials, and come fill some fly boxes! Feel free to ask questions, try some new materials, and watch some folks tie flies here at the shop! Winter is tying season and it has felt a lot like winter in the last couple of weeks…

We’re going to offer 10% off of all fly tying tools and materials. 25% off of all fly shop logo’d fly boxes and buy $100 or more and get a free high fives from Justin (50 cents value!).

We have been working our tails off for the past two months and are excited to announce the launch of our new eCommerce site! Quite a few of our items are on there (over 5,000 of them in fact). But we still have more to do! The site is functional and awesome. We will continue to fix, tweak, and add over the next several weeks.


Patagonia M’s Down Sweater Vest
Patagonia W’s Ultralight Down Sweater Jacket
Patagonia Black Hole Pack
Patagonia Stormfront Roll Top Boat Bag
Patagonia Sweet Pack Vest


Sea Run Cutthroat fishing has been solid through the fall and into this winter. Yet the short days and dreary weather makes us think forward to Spring of 2017. Chum fry, the days get nicer and nicer instead of shorter and wetter, fly boxes are full, the cutthroat are slapping bait off the surface… I for one can hardly wait! PLUS, with the chum fry we know that we are getting closer and closer to that Western Washington summer! Why not kick it off by getting a bent rod? Why not get half off a guided fishing trip? Why not do it while supporting a fantastic cause that benefits every Coastal Cutthroat you have ever attempted to catch and every fishermen that enjoys them all at the same time?


Well here’s what you need to do! Go here and read about the Coastal Cutthroat Coalition and donate $250 between now and Dec. 3rd and get entered into a chance to win a guided fishing trip with Justin Waters (@flyfishingjustinwaters) of Gig Harbor Fly Shop. With your donation you will get a Coffee Mug, a Decal and entered into the raffle for the trip. unnamed

Cheers guys, and good Luck!

Justin Waters

We had such a fun 2016 Cutthroat season, and it’s not wrapped up yet, but as the leaves fall and winter is creeping in I can’t help but reflect on what a great season it has been!
Fishing this spring started early and came on strong. Chum fry were out in full force from mid February and stuck around till the end of May! They were thick on the canal early and hung in the northern parts of the canal and sound later than in the past. All of this bait kept the cutthroat happy and fattened them up really quickly after their spawning season. This also had them frenzying after flies with a noticeable disregard for their well being.
Summer was nothing short of spectacular with noticeably larger fish being brought in all over Puget Sound and Hood Canal. We discuss this every season but there seems to be more and larger fish annually out here, and hopefully with the start of the Coastal Cutthroat Coalition we will have some scientific facts to back this up! It seems pretty obvious that the fishery is improving year to year due to catch and release and a great community of contentious fly fishermen and light tackle fishing.
Fall has just been crazy, our coho season was nipped in the butt by WDFW and the retention limits for anglers on hood canal crazy high with four wild fish! Although WDFW and the tribes did everything they could to ruin our fall season we managed to have a fantastic coho season on the canal and a even better one for Sea Run Cutthroat! From September-now we have seen big numbers and big fish pretty much every day we have been on the water! With the days shortening and the number of days on the water slowing down the fishing still remains strong! We are even starting to see massive numbers of Chum salmon rolling in threatening to break all of our gear!
Thanks for a great 2016 season, we hope to finish up the year strong and see you for winter steelhead and in february for the kick off of chum fry!