So You're Planning a Fishing Trip?

Always pack your fishing gear wisely, just in case the weather throws you a curve-ball

Last week, my wife decided she wanted to go to Cuba for the week. She wanted a break from the Canadian winter weather, so I was quick to comply. She found this awesome last minute deal and we were to leave the next morning. I hastily packed what I could, and then she reminded me we were only allowed one check-in bag and one carry-on each, otherwise the airline would charge us substantially more. This meant I couldn’t bring all of my fishing rod cases. I would have to pack a telescopic rod. Luckily, my Streamside Deluxe Telescopic rod fit nicely in my suitcase. I threw in two Streamside Shot Gun reels (one with 6-pound test and the other with 20-pound test), some #10, #6 and #3/0 hooks, some split shot sinkers as well as larger 1-ounce bell sinkers. I was good to go!

Most anglers (including myself) go to these resorts with the intention on chartering a boat and doing some deep sea fishing. But what do you do if the weather does not cooperate when you get there and chartered boats don’t go out? That’s why it’s a good idea to pack some gear to keep you occupied from shore in case you need a quick fishing fix. Good thing I packed the telescopic rod and other gear. Most resorts have access to jetties, piers or some kind of rocky outcrop from which locals and tourists can fish off of. Or at least there is usually something nearby that is easily accessible. This is why I always pack the telescopic rod and such. The idea being I use the smaller hooks and line to catch baitfish, then I use the bigger hooks for the baitfish in order to cast far out and try for bigger game like snapper or barracuda. I also pack something like Berkley Power Bait in case I cannot find any shrimp from the buffet to catch baitfish.

My original plan was to either charter a boat for some deep sea fishing or take a kayak out for some inshore kayak fishing. Unfortunately, when we got to Cayo Coco, the winds were nearly hurricane force coming straight from offshore. So no boats were going out, nor could I take out a kayak because the red flags were out. This went on all week, but that didn't mean I couldn't try my luck from shore. The locals informed me that I would be wasting my time with the North East wind, but I tried every day anyway to no avail. I did; however, notice a nice little calm stream that lead into a lagoon next to our beach. I thought I'd try my luck there. I noticed the winds somehow enticed some yellow snapper and barracuda into the small stream that dumped into the lagoon, which provided me with some fun entertainment regardless of the lack of offshore fishing. My daughter also had a blast catching all kinds of baitfish, including some puffer fish which were quite entertaining. I even had a blast catching tons of needle-nosed garfish, like the one in the picture.

The moral of this story? Always prepare a back-up plan in case your fishing expectations don’t quite end up going according to plan. In my case, an inexpensive packable rod and reel setup saved my week.

Tight lines!

Recommended fishing gear to pack when heading out on a beach vacation:

  • A telescopic rod
  • Two reels or one reel with two spools (one with smaller 6-8-pound test, one with bigger game line)
  • Smaller hooks (#8 - #12)
  • Larger hooks (#2/0 - #4/0)
  • Split shot sinkers
  • 1-ounce bell sinkers
  • Something like Berkley's Power Bait (in case there is no shrimp on the buffet)

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