Invasive Giant Hogweed
Those of us who live in the mid-Atlantic and New England regions have a new worry –
Giant Hogweed. This plant, which looks an awful lot like Queen Anne's Lace, is very dangerous and can cause permanent blindness, blistering, and third degree burns.
Please learn about Giant Hogweed at the link below, tell your kids and fishing friends about it, take care with your pets, and avoid at all costs! This is not the first incident that we've heard about and it won't be the last. This warning should not be taken lightly.
This week our head guide, Jim Kukurlo, gives us tips on managing our gear.
Fly Fishing Gear Bag
Every fly fishermen should have a gear bag that he takes with him on every fishing trip. How many times have you arrived on the stream and realized that you forgot something and in some cases you had to go back home. If you traveled some distance that might not be easy to do and it just ruins your day of fishing. Having a gear bag loaded with everything you use on the water will help prevent that from happening. Below is a list of items that you should have in your bag. Plus items that will make the trip more enjoyable and in some cases be very helpful in case of an emergency.
Sunglasses - Polarized with amber color lenses with a retainer strap is the choice of most guides I know. The amber lenses will help you see better in low light conditions. A retainer strap will keep the glasses around your neck when your not using them and help prevent loosing them in the water. Sunglasses with help in seeing your fly and the fish. But even more importantly they will protect your eyes from misguided flies that can occur on a missed set or trying to get a fly out of a tree. I keep several pairs of sunglasses in my gear bag for client's that didn't bring a pair. I wouldn't spend a day on the water in any kind of weather conditions without sunglasses.
First Aid Kit – Whether you are a fly fishermen or not having a good first aid kit in your car is a very good idea. I keep a large well equipped kit in my car at all times and I carry a small kit in my sling pack and camera bag.
Over the years I have added some items that can come in handy in the outdoors such as Benadryl tablets and cream. A few years ago one of my clients had a White Stingy Caterpillar crawl on his neck while we were fishing. The White Stingy Caterpillar excretes a type of chemical defense on contact — if you see one be sure not to touch it. The pharmacist at a local drug store suggested him to take Benadryl tables and use the cream on his neck. It saved the day and I now carry both in my first aid kit. Benadryl can help with other types of insect bites as well.
Another item that can come in handy is super glue. Which can be used for small items that can break while fishing or to patch a hole in your waders. But more importantly you can apply super glue to cuts and scrapes. My son is a Boy Scout leader and one of his scouts cut his hand while on a camping trip. He applied super glue to the wound and took him to the emergency room. According to the doctor super glue is sterile and it helped seal the wound and prevent infections.
Another fly fishing buddy who was fishing on the same stream as I was but at a different section called me and said he had a hook in his wrist and couldn't get it out. I removed the hook and reminded him to put antiseptic cream and a band aid on the wound. He replied, “Oh yeah, who cares that stuff with them when fishing.” I replied “Well, I do.”
Change of Clothes – Slip and fall into the water on a cold spring/winter day and you will be glad you carry a complete change of clothes in your gear bag. Comes in handy when you get caught in rain and on a hot summer day when you sweat a lot and decide to stop for a bite to eat on the way home.
Insect Repellent – Mosquitoes, ticks, gnats, and biting flies to name a few bugs that can drive you crazy while putting on waders and rigging fly rods. Plus protection from disease carrying ticks and mosquitoes.
Binoculars – Always a good thing to have with you when you are on a trout stream or traveling to and from fishing. It's fun to take a closer look at the different wild life that you can see on a trout stream. You can also use binoculars to identify hatches on the water. A few years ago I was fishing with a friend and we had rising fish but could not see what they were taking. To my surprise he took out his binoculars and identified the hatch as size 22 Blue Winged Olives that the fish were rising to.
Sun Block – It's very important today to protect our skin from the harmful rays of the sun. Along with applying sun block on my skin I wear a long sleeve fishing shirt with a 50+ UPF and a buff around my neck. Wetting the buff also helps to keep me cool on hot summer days. Fingerless sun gloves are great to protect you hands from the sun, but I found that they can be a nuisance when tying on flies. Redington makes a long sleeve shirt with thumb holes that will protect your hands from the sun and it's easier to tie on flies.
Paper Towels and Toilet Paper – So many uses for paper towels and the toilet paper speaks for it self.
Fly Tying Travel Kit – This a great little bag that I use when I'm teaching a fly tying class or when I'm going on a weekend fly fishing trip. You just never know when you might need to whip up a few extra flies or run into a hatch you weren't expecting to see.
Camera – Just a great way to keep the memories alive. Especially when you are fishing with family and friends. Today most of us, if not all, carry a cell phone and today's cell phone cameras are taking better and better pictures. I carry a Nikon DSL camera in a water proof sling pack with a telephoto lens that takes great photos and adds another dimension to the day on the water.
Fly Fishing Accessories – Now a list of fly fishing accessories and gear that should be in the gear bag:
Extra - Leaders, tippets, fly floatant, line sink, split shot, strike indicators, reels, lines, flies, knife, scissors, nippers etc. Basically everything you carry in your fly fishing vest you should have extra in your gear bag.
Gear Bag – You can buy gear bags in all different sizes. I suggest that you buy a larger one because if you are like me you will run out of room sooner than you think. I know a guide friend that made a wooden box for his gear bag. It has a drawer that can be removed on top and on the outside he attached clippers and a fly patch to use as a work station. I use a gear caddy that goes around a large plastic tote. The gear caddy has places to hang scissors, nippers, floatant and pockets to put fly boxes, leaders and other items. Inside the box is where I store many of the items listed above. Another guide friend of mine uses plastic boxes set up in the back of his SUV with a wooden top that keeps everything in place.
Every few weeks be sure to do an inventory of your bag and keep it updated with any items that you may have used.
If I'm going on a trip or going in another persons vehicle I have a gear bag set up just for traveling. It's not as fully stocked as the one in my vehicle but it has most of the accessories I will need for the fishing trip.
I'm sure once you start stocking up your gear bag you will have items I forgot to mention or items I never though of. Being prepare for the unexpected is always a good idea and can turn what could have been a bad day into another good day on the water.
Walk Away from Pebble Mine
We might save it yet.