Lanyards: Yea or Nay?

f1022.jpgI waffle back and forth on lanyards. On the one hand, they’re incredibly handy when you’re guiding (or pseudo-guiding, a situation I find myself in all too often). On the other hand, they tend to tangle, they rattle, they get hung in brush or hair, and they have just a whiff of pretension to guide status.
Lanyards are also frequently overkill. Most of us can make do with a couple spools of tippet, a pair of pliers or hemostats, and a nipper. For certain special situations, we might want to throw a wheel of split shot or some dry fly dope into the kit, but we rarely need both on the same day.
I’ve yet to find the perfect lanyard, but you can’t go far wrong with Mayfly‘s excellent models, which are made of coated wire (so they stay splayed out), and which have a pad for your neck. My Mayfly (a Christmas present), usually has a couple unused hooks, but I put them to good use by catching a tippet spool horizontally above the rest of my gear (they now make a model with this feature built in – pictured). For grab-and-go angling, it’s really the simplest method possible, and it’s definitely handy when working with people who tend to tangle or lose flies frequently.
Let us know your thoughts on lanyards generally–or special ways you’ve tricked them out–in the Comments section!

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  • robert morselli

    definite nay – they tangle, usually at the worst possible moment.

  • J. Blevins

    I have a hard time with stuff hanging around my neck plus I have a permanone soaked shemagh that I wear, so I’d be a nay.

  • Jon H.

    Pretension to guide status? Give me a break. Is wearing a vest pretension to guide status? How about carrying extra fly boxes just in case? Pretentious? I use a lanyard because it works for me. I prefer it to searching pockets or a pack for things I use most often. I rarely carry more than 3 spools of tippet, and I change them out depending on which kind of waters I will be fishing. I have a tube of Gink, nippers, hemostats, a closed-cell foam drying pad for changing out flies, and an alligator clip for holding it to my shirt, vest or waders so it doesn’t bang around as much (which I have gotten used to). Most importantly perhaps, it has a breakaway fastener on the the cable in case you get swept downriver so that you don’t get hung up on something and choked. I use one because for me it is very handy; I never even thought it might make someone seem to have “pretentions to guide status,” but thanks for letting me know. I’ll go burn all of my Simms gear now!

  • wayne hadley

    Why would anyone think looking like a guide was pretentious? I often wonder where they’ve left their shopping carts.

  • deerhawk

    I don’t wear one, never have. Don’t know of anyone who uses them WITHOUT either a vest or some other form of equipment to hold things like… oh, extra shitter paper for instance. And to me, that kind of defeats the purpose. I wear a vest and have it stocked, not overly, with all the essentials. If I find myself lacking in some area whilst on the water, I just make due till I get home. The thing I have happen most often is that I don’t have enough of a particular bug pattern that them wiley Truts like… and a Lanyard ain’t gonna help me there.

  • Brian

    Pretentious? I say not! Down here in the south they are the perfect warm water vest! An ultralight rod and reel in hand, a small box full of #18 foam ants or ‘bream busters’ in the pocket and a lanyard with a spool of 6x and 8x tippet, nippers, hemostat and floatant attached equals several hours of very enjoyable stream or lakeside fishing!

  • Mike

    A few months ago I purchased a lanyard from Rick of Water Walker Lanyards ( He offers a wide range of models for $25-35, each of which he will customize to meet the angler’s needs. On several hot days wet wading in Idaho back in August I was happy to be rid of my vest, with everything I needed on my lanyard. I am very happy with this purchase