The lead up to a trip is great but unpacking your fishing luggage after the trip is where you will gain the most. Here’s why.
There are countless articles of pre-trip packing woes, must do’s, must have’s, tips and tricks on and on the list goes, often pointing out that packing for a trip is as exciting as the trip itself.
Anglers eagerly anticipating the upcoming adventure in a crazed emotional state and anxiety. Rod selection, lure selection, rigging hooks, line respooling, clothes, sunglasses, hats and gloves.
There is always so much going on during the lead up to a trip the stress eventually builds up, usually leading to mistakes and equipment left behind.
“Unpacking is where you’ll gain knowledge, experience and practicality when time comes for your next trip.”
No doubt that the planning and preparation before a trip is exciting, but this excitement usually brings along anxiety. Overthinking and overestimation.
How much lures to bring? How much jigs to take? How do I keep my bag under 30kg? Did I pack enough lures? Did I pack enough spare hooks? Don’t get me wrong, the prep work is fun and exciting, but tends to get stressful.
Seasoned fishing travelers will reach a certain level of expertise in the art of packing and will have gained experience from all their previous fishing trips.
It is during the unpacking phase when the anglers arrive back home, is when knowledge and experience is gained.
Trip done and dusted, and you are finally home. Excitement and adrenaline evaporate, and you stare at your damp and salt-stained luggage.
This is the play-by-play. The box score. The stats. Luggage locks removed and you zip open your bag. Memories come flooding back as you take out your gear and equipment one at a time.
The clean and dry stuff goes to the “exclude next time” pile, while the roughed up, scratched, rusty and salty stuff go to the “must bring” pile. You quickly learn what works and what doesn’t in a specific fishing destination.
Every damaged lure brings back memories from the trip. Every piece of damp clothing still smelling of fish. You will surely know what to pack for the next trip.
What To Look Out For
Among your quiver of rods, you will learn quickly which rods you used the most. You’ll quickly develop favorites and find out which rods work best for you and the specific destination you’ve just visited.
You’ll remember the boats and if you would’ve needed a shorter rod to avoid slapping the water’s surface every sweep.
Check for rod damage. Check each guide, ring insert, grip foam, reel seat and overall blank structure.
Send it to your favorite rod builder if you see any damage so you’ll be prepared for your next trip.
Scratches, bite marks, hook rash, cracks and all sorts of damage. It will be easy to see which lures worked, and what stayed in their packets.
Remember what styles worked best and which colors were most effective and remember to restock them. Inspect the structural integrity of the lures and see if they can still last another tour.
If no longer capable, hang them up on your wall of fame.
Rust will turn to dust. Dispose of any heavily rusted hooks, split rings, solid rings and swivels. Reusing rusty terminals is no good.
Purchase new terminal tackle to replace rusty ones for peace of mind on your next trip.
A thorough freshwater wash of all of your braid is ideal but not practical. If you have trips planned soon, inspect the top layers of your line on your spool for any damage.
Cut down to the freshest and cleanest part of your line to ensure that you have the best chances of success on the next trip. Replace old and worn out line with fresh braid.
Give your reels another freshwater rinse. Be as thorough as you can, by trying to reach every nook and cranny. This will be the best time to tackle any damage taken during the course of the trip.
If you can’t fix it yourself, send your damaged reels to reel technicians to fix.
The more trips you do, the better you’ll get at packing and the more you will learn while unpacking.
Pre-trip packing takes the cake in terms of excitement and trip anticipation, but unpacking is where you’ll gain knowledge, experience and practicality when time comes for your next trip.