I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess most of the people reading this piece have a lot of fishing gear. I mean, enough to stock a small sporting goods store. It goes with the territory. Fishing gear is like a really good drug: the more you have the more you want. But all the boxes and hampers of tackle get to be an issue when it’s time to do a fly in fishing trip. It’s not like you can load up your Lund and helicopter it in to your destination. On a fly in you will be under a weight restriction, and that means bringing 4 hampers of gear and 4 bazooka tubes of rods is not on. Not unless you are ready to pay extra. You need to go light. And as someone who has done many dozens of fly in trips, I can assure you that mostly you don’t need a lot of stuff. Here is my guide to keeping the fishing tackle within the 8 pound rule.
Rod and Reels –
So a key to every good fishing trip is having a fishing rod and reel that is both sensitive, good for multiple uses and durable. Generally, I bring two rods and three reels. The spinning rod will be a medium action, 7 foot long with a solid butt and flexible tip. There are many good rods. But if you are a klutz in a boat, consider an Ugly Stik. They don’t break. The reel will be a medium spinning with either 8 pound monofilament or 20 pound braid. This will cover off everything from perch to walleye to pike. The second rod will be a baitcaster with quality matching baitcast reel. Since this set up is primarily going to be for pike I’d suggest an 8 foot flipping stick. The rods are telescopic and tough. I’d put 14 pound monofilament or 30 pound braid on the reel. If a brook trout trip was in the plan, I might also include a spinning pack rod or a 4 piece fly rod. Both are easily stowed and light. This will cover most of your fishing needs. Yes, it’s handier to have a half dozen rods with different lures already tied on, but it’s not practical in the deep north.
Tackle – So here is the thing: you don’t have much room and you have a lot of tackle. But most of it can’t make the trip. So weed out anything that is specialty or bass oriented. Leave the Alabama rigs at home, and most of the bass topwater baits as well (maybe throw in a couple big ones for pike). If your primary focus is walleye , have a good selection of jig heads from three eighths to one quarter ounce. Pick heads with yellow, orange, chartreuse or gold colouring. Bring a selection of scented rubbed bodied baits including, twisters, shads and tubes. They can be a variety of colours although natural, yellow and blue shades are deadly. A few silver Husky Jerks for casting and maybe a couple #7 Shad Raps for trolling. That will cover it. For pike, a selection of silver or five of diamond spoons (weedless and normal) from 3 to 5 inches in length is a must. I’d add a few large bucktail spinners like the Mepps Musky Killer. Some soft , plastic jerkbaits of 5 inches or so would round out the list. Don’t forget some high quality steel leaders of 8 to 12 inches.
Brook trout anglers have it a little easier as the lures and flies are smaller and light. Fly selection is simple with Stimulators, muddler minnows, Clouser minnows, strip leeches and streamers being the main course. Mix up fly sizes from #2 to #8. Spin fishermen need some quarter ounce multi-coloured bucktail jigs, # 2-3 silver Mepps Aglia spinners, and various spoons like the EGB, Little Cleo and Krocodile in blue, silver and orange. That is it. Put it all your tackle in a soft sided bag with clear, Plano snap close cases and you are set.
It all adds up to a lean, mean fishing machine. And under 8 pounds.