It is a daunting task to pack for a week’s fishing in a country or destination you have never been to before. Questions start going through your mind: how hot is going to be during the day? Does it get cold at night? Do I need to get vaccinations? What power plugs do I need? What are the baggage weight allowances? What visas or fishing licenses do I need? Do I tip the staff and how much? Do I need to take my own first aid kit? How many sets of clothes do I need?
Holy-moly! If you thought booking and paying for the trip was the hard part, now you’ve got to start sweating about the task of fitting everything into one bag!
Over the years I have got packing for international fishing adventures down to a fine art. My wife hates it because I normally just throw everything in the bag as I am walking out the door to the airport; her bags lie on the floor for a week while she runs through in her head what she needs to take for every possible scenario.
Before we go to a new destination with our clients we email them a packing list. Not much changes for each destination, except for the tackle required for the specific types of fish we target and the temperatures we are fishing in.
Regardless of whether you’re travelling for a week or two months, you’ll likely need to take the same amount of gear. Packing smart and packing light is the key to fun and relaxing travelling.
Here is a list of the standard items I would not leave home without on any overseas or extended New Zealand fishing adventure.
You have to love the USB. We can now charge our cameras, phones and even watches via a single type of socket! I am very fussy these days when making an electronic purchase and make sure it can be charged via USB. Even all our high tech cameras and sound equipment are all charged via USB.
I only take one multi-USB charger that does everything via one power plug, which saves us lugging around heavy power chargers and extra cords etc. In an emergency, we also have a USB charging pack – simple!
Don’t forget your international power adaptor to connect the USB charger to the power source.
The first aid kit qualifies in this section as a toolkit (it is for fixing things after all.) The common things we use a lot in our fist aid kit, apart from the standard bandages and Betadine, are insect repellant, electrolytes for dehydration, diarrhoea medication, sodium chloride for cleaning eyes and cuts and a good roll of duct tape (if you can’t fix it with duct tape it is not fixable.)
I always carry my trusty Leatherman/multitool, my pliers and my very compact case for swivels, split rings etc in my day-to-day fishing bag.
Taking the right clothing is just as important as picking the right boat to fish on. We are so lucky these days with the many variations of purpose-made fishing apparel on the market.
For a trip of a week or longer I take:
• 4 x breathable long sleeved breathable tops (keeps the sun off me)
• 2 x pairs of board shorts
• 2 x pairs fishing pants (keeps me warm or cool and keeps the sun off my legs)
• 1 x pair of Shimano fishing shoes (easy to dry and heaps of grip)
• Fishing gloves for protection
• SPF30 and SPF50 sunscreen
• 2 pairs of polarised sunglasses – important to have a spare!
• 2 x caps
• 2 x Buffs (to keep the sun off my neck and ears)
Part of going on these journeys is reliving them when you get home, so do not leave home without a good camera and a couple of sports cameras.
I run with three mounting systems that are easy to carry and can be used in many situations. I use a suction mount for flat surfaces, clamp mount for rails and my favourite, a bite grip. The latter has been great – very compact and great for providing a different angle when capturing leadering and fighting fish.
It keeps your hands free and gives the effect of being right there in the action.
Always the first thing to be packed is my compact and versatile three-piece travel rod and a small reel with a great drag like the Shimano TwinPower 4000, just in case you hook into that fish of a lifetime.
These days, most of the good charter boats have quality equipment on board, saving you the hassle of carrying rod tubes and heavy reels through airports. In saying that, you just never know what situation may pop up (an evening fish off the dock, or a walk on the flats near your hotel), so I always pack a travel rod just in case. It is small and takes up little room. I also pack a handful of small lures and leader, so I am covered for a few different situations and fish species. Some of my most memorable captures have come from spur-of-the-moment situations.
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