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16 Jun 2011

The packing list

There'll be many sea-trout fishers like me, turning their thoughts at this time of year to Irish and other angling journeys. Some are lucky enough to take their own car on the ferry - a civilised way to travel to fishing. The rest of us flog through airports, jostle for seats on budget airlines, and are restricted, in terms of the tackle we can take, to what's normally a 20kg checked baggage limit.

Now, I know you can put rods (and towels) in rod-tubes, and thereafter pay excess baggage costs, but I'm damned if I'll fork out up to 80 quid just for the privilege of transporting a fishing stick. Therefore over the years I've worked out a rough-and-ready system that has the merit of being minimal but viable: most tackle and clothing goes into a clamshell case (Snowbee, used worldwide for the past seven years), whose bottom compartment is 33.5 inches long - long enough to accommodate 4-piece rods. The rest of the gear goes into this big bag (and usually weighs in at 17-20kg., including waders and boots), while cameras and other electronic/vulnerable stuff goes into a fishing bag which I take onto the plane. If it helps anyone else think about the stuff they may need for a week-long Irish sea-trout trip, here's the list I use:

Nomadic list (presupposing air travel+car hire)
Items in bold font are vital

Fly-rods (x2 –usually #6-8 weights; a light salmon rod may also be used for dapping)
Spinning rod and fixed-spool reel (if fishing spoons, spinners, freelined sandeels)

Reels, spools, fly-lines (minimally x2; reels loaded with plenty of backing; floaters, intermediates or sink-tips)

Line treatments, reel oil, ferrule wax, cotton buds and absorbent pads (for lighting fires and cleaning reels)

Casts/wallet, leader materials
(4lb.,) 6lb., 8lb., 10lb. (clear) Maxima; two spools fluorocarbon, 5lbs. and 8lbs.; dapping floss

Fly boxes and flies (including spare empty box/patch, for drying flies overnight)

Spinners, spoons, anti-kink vanes, sandeel rigs and hooks, BB swivels, lead substitute

Fish bass
Weigh scales

Fishing waistcoat
Incl. pliers, floatant, amadou patch, mud, small torch, thermometer, nippers and scissors, Knot Sense, tape measure, hook-stone, spare windproof lighters, small hand towel, wet wipes
Wading jacket

Chest waders (breathables, incl. breathable underclothes in spring and autumn)
Wading boots and socks
Wader repair kit

Wading belt
Wading staff
Halter-style life-vest
Head torch and spare batteries
Multi-bladed pocket knife
Midge repellent
(industrial strength and quantity; I use ‘Muskol’ and/or Avon Skin-So-Soft)
Polaroid sunglasses
Lip salve (can also be smeared on nose etc. as emergency sun-block)
Waterproof (camera) bag (goes in e.g. boat)
Small waterproof bag (for e.g. wallet, mobile, keys)
Key cords (to hang car keys from while wading)
Smoking materials and yet another spare windproof lighter
Toilet tissue and small First Aid kit
Small thermos flask (and if space/weight available: Kelly kettle, tea-making stuff)
Padlocks (for luggage/other)

Pants, socks, shirts, T-shirts, trousers, fleece(s), buff/necker, spare large handkerchiefs
Dop-kit with shaving materials, shampoo etc.

Notebooks and reading matter, plus spare pens(Binoculars)
Lens cloths
Cameras x2
Camera adaptors and chargers

Digital voice recorder and mikes (incl. baffle mike for windy days)
Irish salmon (rod) licence
Tickets, confirmations
Driving licence
Mobile phone, universal plug adapter and charger
Wallet, cash

[The last-named items go in hand baggage, in a waterproof rucksack/bag which also serves as fishing bag.]