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Have Tackle, Will Travel

Posted: September 23rd, 2015 by Bill Dance

You’ve finally skimped and saved enough to go on that fantasy bass fishing trip of a lifetime. You know the one? It’s where you will be fishing a lake known the world over for big bass–and lots of ‘em.

The problem? You get there, start to unpack only to realize your favorite bass rod is a two-piece. The problem with that being it was a one-piece when you left.

Then you meet your guide and you can tell simply by the first face-to-face meeting, he isn’t apt to help you find any fish. (Heck, you even wonder if he can find the lake.) However, he does know the way to your billfold–in fact has already gotten into it via your initial deposit. It’s about this time you realize you have taken a bass fishing trip to hell.

It doesn’t have to be this way, however. There is little doubt you have to spend extra time preparing and packing for a fishing trip of any measure, but especially one of several days or more. With some added planning and precautions, the fishing fantasy does not have to become a nightmare.

Outdoor writer Nick Sisley has traveled the world with rod cases and tackle boxes in tow.

“Back in the 1970s I traveled one heck of a lot–bassing mostly in the United States, but (I ) also fished quite a number of foreign waters,” Sisley said. “In the U.S., I used to pick an area–and fish three, four or five lakes in succession–2 days at a time–all in search of story material.”

In covering such vast and various acres of water, Sisley certainly learned a thing or two about getting there–and back.

He offers the following tips for those with calendars already marked in red for future bass fishing trips.

* “I think the best way to pack reels in is relatively hard suitcases (as opposed to duffle bags). Put them in the original box and surrounded by soft clothing.

“The best way to pack rods is in a PVC pipe case made to order to your specifications. You can do this with a power saw for length, use the “glue” for PVC stuff to weld a cap on one end, a screw cap for the other. I think like, 2-, 3- and 4-inch PVC is available, inexpensive and just about indestructible.”

* Today, anglers have a luxury that probably goes unappreciated–The Weather Channel. Its long-range forecasts are available from virtually anywhere in the world. “Listen to them right up to departure. These forecasts can be helpful in regards to what clothing to pack…but always pack rain gear.

* Fish with a guide when traveling. You have limited time and want to be “on the fish” and “up to speed” as soon as possible. You do this via a knowledgeable guide.

* Talk with the guide at length beforehand and ask lots of questions. Ask for references and contact them as well. If the guide has a web site, check it out.

The guide may have all the baits you’ll need. Many outfitters provide a list of needs prior to a trip.

“Most lakes have specific baits that work. Take what you might have confidence in for the upcoming situation, but be flexible enough to adapt. If the guide is catching fish I guarantee you he knows the how and why.”

* Be prepared to get up early and stay out as long as the guide wants. If you look at a day trip or a longer trip as a vacation, your philosophy might be to be lazy. You need to do what the guide thinks it takes to catch fish. If the fishing gets tough, stay positive. Attitude in fishing (and just about everything else) is critical.

* Many airlines are now restricting you to two bags. Maybe you can carry your rod case on. If so, it will probably have to be small. If you have one suitcase and a rod case to check–consider shipping your tackle box ahead of time via FedEx or United Parcel Service (UPS).

Obviously, it will have to be well packed–and in a surrounding cardboard box. Of course, you’ll have to ship it home via UPS, too.

As always, catch one for me!

Bill Dance

Tennessee

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