Packing the tackle when going fishing with a camper trailer
Campgrounds provide ample opportunity for the occasional angler, but with space a premium in your camper trailer how much gear should you really bring? Scott Heiman shares his approach.
Camper trailers make life a lot easier in lots of ways. Our rigs allow many of us to get out there and enjoy the diverse range of fishing options that exist in this great country – from beachside, to estuaries or rivers, there’s something to suit all styles of anglers. So we thought we’d share some of our best tips on equipping your camper for the occasional fishing trip and ensuring the whole family has a great time away. Courtesy is paramount at camp with everyone living in such close quarters so when we pack we always consider the 3 Ss – Sacrifice, Space and Simplicity.
Packing for a camping trip is like a marriage – before you even start, you need to be prepared to compromise. Are you packing to suit your idea of a Great Escape? Or are you more interested in ensuring your partner and your kids come away from the experience with a smile on their faces. Or is it possible to achieve all of these objectives?
Many people store their rods out of harm’s way in PVC tube – either attached to the body of the camper trailer, or to the tow-tug. This is a cheap and easy option and there are plenty of DIY websites that will help out if you need some inspiration. But exercise some common sense. It doesn’t take a genius to know that rods stored in PVC will get damaged if they’re not properly separated from one another. So you can either spend some coin on a commercially-produced rod sleeve cover, or knock off some old shirt sleeves from your disused flannies and improvise.
And if you’re the sort of angler who likes to leave it all hanging out – with rods suspended from the roof-rack across your rig’s bonnet – then you’ll probably like the SinkerLock. These butterfly clips look like they were designed to keep your missus’ hair out of her eyes. But they’re actually a really nifty bit of New Zealand designed kit that will save your bonnet from taking a bashing from loose sinkers and lures. At around $20 a piece, this is a good piece of damage insurance.
For your fishing accessories, we reckon it’s good idea to keep one of your camper’s storage areas dedicated to the purpose. That way you avoid upturning the contents of the camper every time you want to wet a line. We prefer to store a backpack or carry bag pre-loaded with the fishing essentials (reel, line and tackle box) and those basic items that will ensure we’re protected from the elements and safe in the event that things don’t go entirely to plan. So the bag needs to include things like appropriate clothing (eg. windbreaker, long-sleeve loose shirt and non-skid soles for coastal fishing) as well as sunblock, polarised sunnies, basic first-aid kit, and long lasting emergency food rations (eg. muesli bars). If your camper’s storage cavity is big enough to hold your rod/s, bucket and landing net as well then that’s even better. That said, not all nets are the same – try and get one that doubles as a catch and a bait net.
With easy storage options available, it’s easy to get lazy and simply chuck the fishing gear back into its convenient cargo space at the end of the day. But beware. The nooks and crannies in many modern campers can be water tight, particularly those of fibreglass construction. This is great when we’re fording a river – but not so great if we store our fishing gear wet and leave it to ‘sweat it out’ in some darkened cavity between holidays. (It’s a fair bet that the gear will be worse for wear when we pull it out next time.)
How much fishing are you really going to do? Do you really need the boat rod when you are only going to be on a charter for four hours of a two week camping trip? Do you really need a landing net with an 8ft pole? And if you’re taking the kids, you’re more than likely going to be teaching them how rather than ‘doing’ it yourself. Are you going to take everything you have including granddad’s lucky lure? Probably not. Save room for the kid’s bikes and the missus’s favourite bits and bobs too. This way you’ll all have fun.
The trick here is to take enough stuff to get you by without dragging everything rod, tackle or lure you own around the country-side like a Leyland brother, especially if you’re only going to use it once. The truth is, the locals know what’s biting and on what. So take a hit and buy some stuff en route. You will help the local economy and have a more satisfactory trip with your companions if they’re not wrestling your tackle box/trunk to find a bed space.
Short on space?
The marvels of technology have taken the humble one or two-piece rod to telescopic wonders of engineering. From 6ft river rigs to 12ft surf rods, they’re out there. But have you seen these Emmrods fishing poles? Designed for kayaking, these bad boys are small enough to fit in a backpack yet have the capacity to cast as far as any 6ft rod!
Did you find this information useful and know anyone with a camper or caravan? If you found even one tiny nugget in this material to be useful, please do forward it to three of your friends. I am sure they will thank you for it. You can send it to them via email, twitter, facebook or post it on your own website.