Camping and Fishing

By Jamie Crawford

Camping and fishing often go hand-in-hand. A lot of our better fishing locations are off the beaten track and, given the distance and effort required to reach many of these locations, camping for a few nights makes a lot of sense. I love heading away for a few nights with my family or a bunch of mates and camping in a remote location. Being able to go fishing right in front of your camp site, and often away from the masses is pretty special.

In my local area here in South Australia, the most common camping and fishing scenario is from a beach. We do a lot of camping near local beaches in our national park, as well as further afield up the western side of the Eyre Peninsula and into the beaches of the Bight.

Travelling that big further often opens up hard-to-reach locations that fish better than those located around our major population centres. It pays to be prepared though, especially when travelling into remote locations.

Some necessary items to take include plenty of water and fuel, adequate food supplies (and a means of chilling or protecting it), clothing for all temperatures (it can drop pretty cold at night in a lot of locations, especially inland), plus 4WD recovery equip if you are locking the hubs in. We do a lot of beach driving here in SA, so deflating your tyres (we run on 18psi) makes sand driving a lot easier, and less work for your vehicle.

It goes without saying, but packing adequate fishing supplies is mandatory when you head away camping, as a fishing store (or any store for that matter) maybe quite some distance away. If the space allows, take backup gear, as you never know when you’re going to need another rod or reel, if disaster strikes. We have busted a few rods while surf fishing (mainly on bronze whalers), but we’ve also had them pulled from their holder and into the water, even with a modest drag setting. Being on a fishing trip without a rod and reel is certainly no fun.

If you manage to save a rod and reel from being pulled into the surf, you’ll have a clean-up job on your hands, as sand has an amazing ability to drive itself into little moving parts. Taking basic reel cleaning tools is a good idea too, for such situations. I normally take a few small screw drivers, pliers, reel lube and oil, degreaser and a small toothbrush for cleaning out a reel.

And while we do a lot of catch and release, we don’t mind taking home a couple of gummy sharks for the table. If you are camping and want to keep some fillets, you need to be able to chill your catch. This involves taking plenty of ice to chill the fish or trunk of a shark. If you are well prepared and have a 12V fridge / freezer, you always have the option to fillet before you get home.

Camping in a remote location is a fantastic way to spend a few days. A lot of these locales don’t have mobile service though (which isn’t a bad thing!), so always let someone know your intended location. We’re lucky to access to a lot of great camping areas here in Australia, so get out there and enjoy them!