How much stuff does one really need on the water? If someone was to buy all the gizmos and gadgets sold on the market today, that person could be carrying close to 15 pounds on the water with countless appendages tangling in the bushes. Yvon Chouinard, founder and CEO of Patagonia, argues that the mark of the master angler is simplicity--carrying only one fly box, a pair of nippers, and hemostats.
I appreciate this sentiment, but have to disagree with the one fly box. A lot of anglers simply like flies and even if one does not need to carry an armada of flies to river, it is fun to tie and fish different patterns. Plus, it is rewarding to precisely imitate the natural insect that the trout are feeding on. I also believe in carrying some survival gear. Water, a means of purification, a knife, matches, a rain jacket, and a whistle can help you a lot if you get stranded in the backcountry. Drinking water is also critical for avoiding dehydration, which can lead to injuries and create an unpleasant trip. Besides survival gear, I carry a multitool, floatant, a net, split shot, and a few strike indicators in case I go nymphing. A net is a big help for catch and release fishing.
What are your thoughts? What is truly "necessary" on the water? What do you carry?