Fishing is a popular pastime among RVers. Bring out your fishing rod anytime at a campsite and chances are likely it will turn into a conversation piece for anyone who shares the thrill of wetting a line.
Camping and fishing go hand-in-hand. Many destinations lead to favourable fishing grounds such as several locations along the Gulf Coast or the countless of inland lakes tucked in off the major Interstates.
Packing an RV for any type of trip takes planning, and when it comes to loading up your fishing gear, in addition to more essential items such as food and clothing, space fills quickly. There are ways, however, to bring along everything you need to be successful despite the often-limited space in your RV.
Prior to a recent trip, my sweet wife, Claudia was having a frenzy. She had been moving provisions into our new motorhome and with only a few outings under our belt, determining what to take and leave behind was a bit of a challenge.
Making matters worse, we had just read a blog that, among other things, informed us that we have been overloading our portable palace. It turned out, that after the coach company had added in all the extra goodies – from appliances to lounges – we were almost exceeding the overall weight capacity of the RV. We would have been all right if we both only weighed about 125 pounds, but those days were long gone. Plus, we were also bringing along our two horse-sized dogs.
We could leave the dogs, but I couldn’t stand weeks away from them and they always drive kennel owners nuts. So now, we had just a couple of hundred pounds left for food, clothes, and other essentials.
Like most RVers, we have a number of objectives when we take a trip. We were planning on visiting a handful of old college friends that we see all too seldom. We also wanted to see some new country side and Claudia wanted to work on some genealogy. I was also planning on doing a little fishing.
After the last of our food was loaded, Claudia, with a long suffering look on her face, glanced my way. “What do you need to take for playing around with the fish?” Her tone was not the most encouraging. I think she had in mind something I could put in a baggie.
This is a common problem with folks who fish and RV and there are several solutions. For me, the problem is this: I have a 20 x 40-foot room next to our house that is full of fishing gear. As I have repeatedly assured my wife whenever something new arrives, “I need all of it” Now, it’s pretty obvious from the look on her face that this isn’t going to sell today.
How can you haul enough of your gear to give you confidence that you will be ready for nearly any fishing opportunity? I’ve tried a number of things and the best choice involves a little specialized luggage and some long-term planning about what you can take and what you can pick up on the road. That is probably the case with everything you put into the rig.
A fishing rod is pretty much key to everything. Unless you plan on using a primitive hand line, which is ok off a little pier but pretty tough otherwise. To be sure you can handle a variety of opportunities that arise, more than one rod might be needed.
As I head down the west coast, I’m hoping to catch a few trout, maybe some surf perch and have a chance for some striped bass. Since size could vary from eight inches to 50 pounds, one rod won’t handle everything. So I usually like to pack about three rods. The easiest to pack are usually fly rods. Their smaller eyes make them simple to wad together and they most often will break down into shorter sections. Putting something ten feet long into your motorhome is a lot tougher that trying to find three linear feet of space. You can also use a spinning or casting reel with a fly rod if conditions require it. Not the best performance, but certainly adequate.
When I take trips to Alaska, I take a #4 fly rod, a #6 and a #9. So, unless I try to tie into a halibut (which usually requires a boat and a captain who has a rod for you) I’m ready for almost anything.
To bring my rods, I use a rod travel tube that are available at most fishing shops. I like one eight inches in diameter, about three feet long with some padding on the insides. They also have plenty of room for a few reels – fly, spin or level wind to give you flexibility.
For the rest of your fishing needs utilize a cough-drop sized metal box that can store the basic flies. For trout or panfish, load in a few caddis patterns, a couple of San Juan worms, wooly buggers and gnats and you are set for little fish in rivers and lakes. In addition, you can always, in a pinch, put a salmon egg, angle worm, or a cricket on the hook.
Now, you are all set except for a little tackle. I like to take a small fishing pouch with a belt, where I stuff a few little bobbers, some various sizes of split shot, and a multi-tool to pull out hooks, fix reels and crimp on shot.
When you get to a destination, there are almost always local shops where you can get the best local lures, baits, and flies. I’d most likely be buying those even if I took my whole fishing room along with me. After all, as I tell Claudia, you never have enough gear.
All of this gear should easily fit into your travel tube. So you are all set, except for one final piece. It’s always good to have something you can use to wade. The best bet for this effort is a pair of chest high sock waders. These can be very light weight and fold up into a really small ball and essentially fit anywhere. To go fishing, simply put a pair of sneakers on over the waders and you are ready to go.
Bringing along fishing gear is very feasible and will take up only a little bit of space in your RV when thoughtfully coordinated. Just get the travel tube case, and you are pretty well covered. Now, if the fishing is excellent, and you have to buy another rod, reel or other item, you can always toss something unnecessary ( like your wife’s stuff) for the extra room.