This piece is presented by Thomas & Thomas Fly Rods, to check out the latest in fly rods look no further than Thomas & Thomas, the rod you eventually will own. In this article, Christiaan Pretorius, narrows down 7 essentials for every saltwater fly fishing trip other than the normal fishing gear. 

I take a lot of pride in trip preparation. To get the best experience from a trip, one really needs to go in depth with planning and preparation to avoid leaving any crucial items behind. I can’t remember how many anglers in my guiding days that brought along broken rods they forget to fix in the first place. Trips are expensive, so packing right is the least you could do. Here are some items that I cannot go on a saltwater fishing trip without:

1. Sunglasses

This is by far one of the most important in my opinion. Without a solid pair of sunglasses, the glare will put a lot of strain on your eyes. Saltwater fishing covers a wide variety of different scenarios; from the flats to deep sea to even fishing from the beach, no matter the situation I can’t picture myself getting it done without a quality pair of sunglasses. Any trip I go on, I will take three pairs of Sunglasses. The first I pack is a low-light pair and then the other two pairs are suited for the destination and incase another angler forgets or loses a pair.  Not only does it offer protection from the sun, but more importantly to see flies easier. Often associated with Saltwater you will have wind, this combination makes it a very high possibility to get a fly in the eye, which will be an instant conclusion to your trip…

2. Boots

The majority of my saltwater fishing is done on foot wading flats. There are countless risks involved in doing this unless you have the right boots.  There are many reasons to wear boots, but for me it’s pretty simple… It protects my ankles from the unstable surface and the potential of twisting an ankle. If paired with good gravel guards, it keeps your feet free from sand and fine coral. The right boots will offer you quite a bit more grip when walking over reefs and boulders etc. As like anything, technology is so advanced that now they are made super light so it should not take up unnecessary weight when traveling.

3. Waterproof Backpack

Keeping moisture out when fishing the salt can definitely be a struggle when wading the flats. I put a lot of trust in my Yeti Panga backpack by always loading it with some expensive camera gear and items that I use frequently. When out on the flats, I’ve had to use it as floatation too. This is something worth spending some money on, because in the long run, this backpack will become one of your most valuable items when traveling to remote areas. I also use this as my carry on with laptops, etc.

4. Rain Jacket

With either warm or cold conditions it doesn’t matter, I never go anywhere without a rain jacket in my backpack. I have countless memories of days where the weather forecast didn’t predict the weather we had. Again, most of my saltwater fishing is done in tropical climates, so having a lightweight waterproof outer layer becomes one of those items I don’t travel without. Not only is it waterproof, but it can also act as a wind stopper.  I have used the same lightweight rain jacket in colder climate areas while just adding a couple layers underneath.

5. Pliers

The Ocean is full of a wide variety of species and a lot of them often have some nasty teeth. To avoid getting a serious wound that could potentially end a trip a good set of pliers has many different functions. I personally love carrying the Gerber plier/multi tool which has saved me a serious dentist bill by not having to chew through 40lb + leader material. The multi tool has also helped me a bunch fixing engines in remote places.  I always like to try and remind myself of where I am, often it’s 20+ hours from the closest hospital. It is therefore that a multi tool has become one of my first items to go in my backpack, because in any potential survival situation it’s going to potentially save a life.

6. First Aid Kit

It’s the reality that you are faced with many dangerous scenarios that could potentially get bad really fast. At the end of the day the goal is not to save a life with my first aid kit, but to be able to give someone a really good fighting chance. Another special item that has come in super handy in my guiding career is having Salt & Pepper or Soy Sauce Sachets in my kit. It’s an absolute game changer that does not weigh anything really but it can turn a plain fish into something you look forward to eating.  I would have to also mention as part of my first aid kit I like to carry a charged satellite phone wherever I go. It’s simply just making use of technology to keep the people close to me at ease when I do off the grid trips. A simple phone call can change everything.

7. Camera Gear

One of the most difficult things for me to do is try and tell people about certain trips that you have done without any images. It’s a pretty damn cool lifestyle I get to live, and the least I could do is take pictures to share my experiences with the less fortunate that only dream about these places. Yes, my backpack often weighs over 30lbs, but it’s worth every back spasm and rusted lens. Good quality pictures will capture a moment for a really long time.  Nowadays, some of the smartphones are almost capable to replace a camera to some extent, but it is still very different having a variety of lenses, drone, etc.…

I could easily keep going as far as important items I do not travel without. The above seven will go in the bag first, the rest is secondary.

There you have it the “Top 7 Things You Need on Saltwater Trip.” To follow along with Christiaan, you can find him on Instagram or shoot him an email at christiaanflyfisher@gmail.com. 

Be sure to check out Thomas & Thomas Fly Rods

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