My cheap line winder holding my Thebault DT silk line.
Ever since I’ve been into classic tackle like bamboo rods and silk fly lines, I’ve wanted one of those fancy line winders. I prefer the ones made of nicely worked wood. The idea behind them is to provide a quick and easy method [...]
I’ve finally got another tip to share with you. Well, it’s not so much a tip as a refinement to a tip shared by our friend Eduardo at Mendoza Fly Fishing. Back when I highlighted Eduardo’s nifty tutorial, I mentioned I had made one in the past almost identical to his. Eduardo and [...]
I love going on backcountry fishing trips, particularly in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina. One thing I learned very quickly was that the lighter the load, the more I enjoyed the hiking. My first true backpacking trip was to the Cataloochee Valley. There were four of us. I imagine the average pack weight was over 50 lbs. One guyâ€™s pack probably weighed near 100 lbs. It was so heavy that some of the buckles broke and had to be rigged back redneck fashion. After that, I began systematically cutting down on pack weight. Here are a few of the things Iâ€™ve done.
I have a Kelty external frame backpack. It came with a metal piece sewn inside the main pocket. I think its purpose was to hold the pack open. I found this a useless feature. It took up space and added weight. I cut it out, saving an ounce or two. The pack also came with a huge Kelty label sewn on the outside. I removed that thing as well. Every little bit helps. Take a look at your pack. Whatâ€™s really necessary? Remove anything that you canâ€™t see a good purpose for. You might want to make a trip first before removing things just to see if you find a use for them. But if you donâ€™t, donâ€™t be afraid to take them off.
On that first trip I took a few canned food items along with some bagged tuna. For future trips, I reduced the number of canned items and items with high water content. I really like Rich Osthoff’s book Fly Fishing the Rocky Mountain Backcountry. He is a proponent of not taking cooking gear and mainly eating out of cans. I highly recommend his book and approach, BUT if you plan to cook on occasion, you need to cut way down on canned items. Buy yourself a good titanium cookware set (much lighter than aluminum) and use lots of freeze-dried meals. These meals from such companies as Mountain House and Backpacker’s Pantry are very good, easy to make, and extremely light. I also recommend a Sierra Zip Stove for your cooking as opposed to gas stoves. First off I really like its simplicity, and second I really think itâ€™ll save you weight over a longer trip. The food and stove are readily available from REI Camping & Hiking
Take yourself a plastic fork and spoon for your silverware and reuse them. Just clean them well after every meal. You can take two of each in case you break one.
Take a small selection of flies. There is little need to carry the full arsenal for the backcountry. Most backcountry trout are not picky. You can reduce a ton of weight by carrying just one good box with some Adams and other basic dries, a few hareâ€™s ears and pheasant tail nymphs, and some basic wet flies and streamers. There is no need to carry a vest either. Just take a shirt with a couple of good pockets. Continue reading Hawgdaddy’s Hints: Lightening the Load