Remote fly-in cabins offer great value for anglers on a budget—if you’re willing to do a little work
#4 SELECTING THE GEAR
If you’re a one-tacklebox-does-it-all angler, packing is easy. For those of us who love tackle, however, paring down can be tough. To make it easier, I follow two guiding principles. First, I only pack what I’ll probably need, not everything I could ever need. And second, I only bring tackle I enjoy using. If you don’t like baitcasting outfits or bottom bouncers, for example, don’t waste the space—something else will work just as well. In two decades of backcountry trips, I’ve yet to encounter fish I’d consider fussy. And it takes fewer baits than you think to cover the various scenarios. For example, spoons and spinners in a variety of colours and sizes can be fished quickly or slowly in shallow or deep water for a wide range of species.
No matter where or how you plan to fish, do not scrimp on terminal tackle. As Wes learned vividly last summer, any cast could be the fish of a lifetime. Over the years, I’ve heard many stories of lost trophies due to mangled wire leaders that obviously came from the bargain bin. Take only premium snaps, swivels and leaders, and swap out any suspect lure hooks for sturdier ones.
Every angler should also bring at least two rods and reels, if only because accidents happen. On that count, spare tip-top guides, super glue and duct tape can save your trip, as well. And you’re tempting fate if your rods aren’t packed in cases, which don’t have to be fancy—you can make your own for $10 using materials from a hardware store.
Sonar units and batteries are heavy, but they’re immensely helpful. If I had to, I’d leave behind half my tackle (and all my beverages) for one. Since I always plan to catch—and release—a lot of fish, I also like to bring my own net sporting conservation-friendly mesh. As well, walkie-talkies are handy for keeping in touch with your group out on the water. Finally, it’s essential to bring a comfortable PFD you’ll actually wear, rather than rely on one supplied at the cabin.