With a backpack full of gear weight is perhaps the most important consideration in the backcountry. Some minimalists obsess over gear weight so much that they cut the margins off of their topographic maps.
For backcountry hikers looking to catch fish, a regular fishing setup isn’t going to cut it. There’s hope, however, as you can put together a backcountry fishing kit to keep those shore lunches coming after a long day on the trail.
While there are travel rod and reel combos available wherever fishing tackle is found, they typically come in their own travel cases, which can take up more space than most backcountry enthusiasts like. Good news is all you really need to go fishing on the trail is a few select pieces of tackle and a sturdy tree branch. Any branch at least six feet long will do the job.
I have my own backcountry fishing kit that I take with me when I go camping. I don’t always fish, but having the ability to catch food should an emergency leave me without provisions is a nice piece of mind. Here’s the six tackle items that comprise my own kit:
- Approximately 30 feet of P-Line CXX monofilament, coiled very carefully
- Six worm hooks, varying sizes
- Three small treble hooks
- Dozen split shot weights
- Six flies (don’t forget to “match the hatch” of your local waters)
- Power Bait White Micro Power Wigglers (These are great when they’re threaded two to a treble hook)
I keep all of the above in a 35mm film canister, which fits easily any one of my pack’s pockets. Of course, you don’t have to limit yourself to the tackle listed above. My own kit was tweaked over the years. For instance, some hikers may have more room for weight in their pack than others, which will allow them to bring more tackle along.