June 17, 2014 2 min read

It is commonly said that fly fishing is a sport for gear heads. It’s true — there is a lot of gear. But after spending a part of my day in a high-end photography store, I wondered: just how much gear do I bring fishing?

In preparing for an Atlantic salmon trip, my packing philosophy is informed as much by distance as anything. The destinations to which one travels in search of atlantics are so remote that should you realize you forgot something with a 40 lbs salmon rising in front you, no Amazon drone can save you. You’re out there. And that’s precisely the point: at many of these places, you step back in time. (Or, as your email reminds you upon your return, you step at least temporarily out of time.) At least, that is my approach. I grew up fishing for Atlantics where waxed cotton was the way and bamboo double handed rods were not uncommon. There is always the local fly fishing shop in these places, which I always frequent driven by a combination of dedication to local economies and a seemingly incurable need for more fishing stuff. And yet, I always pack as though these stores won’t be there. I pack for every eventuality.

The photo above shows what’s laid out on the floor of what, in between fishing trips, serves as a guest room. This is the gear I’ve prepared for my upcoming trip to the Bonaventure and Grand Cascapedia. This doesn’t include clothing — long johns, wool socks, shirts, etc. — nor does it include food.

I wonder: what do other people pack for fishing for Atlantic salmon? Or for any trip for that matter? Let us know in the comments below!

Here’s my Atlantic salmon packing list, categorized.


Beulah Platinum Spey 13′ 8″ for 7/8

Loop blank, 11 weight, made my me

Bamboo trout rod, 4 weight, made by my dad Hoagy Carmichael as a high school graduation gift — for when I catch my daily limit and need to go trout fishing. (Yeah, right!)

Sage 9 weight blank, custom built by my dad


Rio Steelhead Scandi Shooting Head

Rio Sink Tip packet

Maxima ultragreen

Metal line winder


Tibor Riptide

Saracione Mark IV

Not shown: Hatch 9+ Finatic


Anglers Club of New York (ACNY) flag — which I fly in honor of an old friend on every salmon trip.

Costa Polarized Sunglasses


Stainless steel thermos


Coffee makings: Electric kettle & French press

Odwalla energy bars


“Bug dope”

Electrical Tape, for keeping your Spey rod together over 5 days on the water

Petzl TacTikka Headlamp



Simms Waders

Simms Freestone Boots w/h metal studs

Wading Jacket Lumbar fishing pack

Trucker hat — for ventilation

UV buff

Fly tying:

Custom-built cherry fly tying travel kit

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