The date had been set weeks before for a trip to a river that I had dreamt about fishing almost as long as I could remember;
a river where the water was stained black from flowing slowly through the sandy heath and melaleucas that line its shores; a river where the Australian Bass are as black as tar. A river that I had heard rumours and whispers about as one of the ultimate surface fishing locations; a river that was not easily accessible and would require long hours of paddling to access its hidden treasures; a river where primitive camping allowed us to fully immerse ourselves into the environment. A river of dreams…
There was eighteen kilometres of river to paddle to reach the rumoured bass fishing oasis. Even at a constant paddle it would take 3.5-4 hours to reach our destination. Kayaks have one downside, that being you are the power pack. You can only travel so far in an hour and the distance travelled is even further reduced depending on how hard you fish along the way. 18 kilometres, with snags and structure lining the banks of the river and a group of blokes who find the need to cast at anything that could hold a bass; the trip was going to take a lot longer than anyone could imagine.
Two nights would be spent camping in a designated campsite that had no amenities or water. As Campsite 13 was located 18 kilometres from the nearest road access, everything we required for three days would need to be carried on or in our kayaks.
Like all aspects of kayak fishing you can set up your camping gear with all the bells and whistles, including a kitchen sink, or go for more of a minimalist approach. My personal preference is for the bells and whistles, covered in a good dose of the Boy Scout motto ‘Be Prepared.’
Under the ‘Be Prepared’ banner is a whole heap of stuff that I hope I never have to use while kayak camping. If I ever need it, however, I will be so glad it is in my kit. Top of the list is a first aid kit, topped up with several more broad bandages in case of snakebite. This is followed by an EPIRB. In many of the locations I fish there is no mobile reception and if the worst happened I would like to think someone, somewhere knows something is wrong and will come looking for my buddies or me. Check out the Fact Box for the rest of my ‘Be Prepared’ items. A lot of these items are stored in the hull of my kayak in dry bags… just in case.
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