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Travel Fishing Kit (On A Budget)

The right gear to fish every chance you get while on-the-road

by Lake-Link Staff

Keeping it simple, we'd like to recommend some fishing gear for upcoming travel. These recommendations don't take up a lot of room and should live in your vehicle full-time so you're ready to fish whenever the mood and opportunity presents itself!

Rods For the Road

First, the quality of today's travel fishing rods isn't what it used to be, second-rate two-, three-, and four-piece jobbies with horrible sensitivity and whippy actions. These days, four-piece travel rods fish like one-piece models and conveniently store under the backseat of the car or in the back of a truck or SUV.

The St. Croix Triumph Travel Spinning Rod is a four-piece-rod with included padded nylon soft case. Sensitive while road-worthy, the St. Croix Triumph Travel Spinning Rod is manufactured of premium-quality SCII carbon.

Features include tough, slim aluminum-oxide guides with black frame, premium-grade cork handle, two coats of Flex-Coat slow-cure finish, and a 5-year warranty backed by St. Croix Superstar Service. Check out two positive user reviews here.

Our recommendation? If panfish, smaller bass, and eater-size trout will be on your path, go with the medium-light power, fast-action 6'6". If crossing waters with sizable bass, pike, and salty critters, consider the rod in medium or medium-heavy power.

At $155 MSRP, this travel rod is well within most travelers' budgets, even considering gas prices.

Travel-Worthy Reel

Also on budget, we recommend the Daiwa Revros LT, a $59.99 reel that fishes like it cost $200. We like the 3000-size Revros LT, which features a 5.3:1 gear ratio and 22 pounds of maximum drag to match anything you might catch while fishing on-the-road, including dogfish, drum, catfish, pike, big trout, and bass. The larger spool allows you to make longer casts from the bank or dock, and spooled with a silky braid and fluorocarbon leader, is a great go-to set up for anything you might choose to tie on the business end.

If you go the medium-light power rod route, a 1000 or 2000 Revros LT is hard to beat for smaller bass, panfish, and most trout at culverts, park easements, and bridges along the road.

Line Choices

For medium power set-ups, consider low-diameter, high-test superline fished with a fluorocarbon leader. 10-pound test is a great all-around choice and there are lots of manufacturers out there making great braid today.

For a fluorocarbon leader, whatever 8- to 10-pound test you already have is a good all-around choice to keep fish pinned on a medium-power rod. Daiwa, Seaguar, Sufix, and Sunline all make quality fluorocarbon.

For medium-light rod & reel combos, we're big fans of Sufix Elite monofilament. 4- or 6-pound is ideal for a panfish and "eater" trout set-up.

Travel Tackle Box & Lures

While the tendency is to overdo it when it comes to tackle, a stowaway box or two filled with proven baits and rigging materials is really all you need for fishing on the road.

Flambeau's ZERUST MAX Rigging Box is infused with Zerust technology that provides rust prevention for metal tackle in wet conditions.

The ZERUST MAX Rigging Box also features a removable bulk storage tray for tools and soft plastics in bags. Two oversized bulk compartments and 20 customizable tackle compartments leave plenty of room for outfitting your on-the-road tackle survival kit. MSRP: $24.99.

Speaking of tools, do yourself a favor and invest in a quality pliers. We like the Gamakatsu 6-inch pliers with case and lanyard. It features crimping function, split ring opener, side cutter, and plier ends to pull hooks out of fish jaws.

Now to the fun stuff-choosing baits…

Here are some recommendations for building a multi-species box that's sure to provide options for catching fish no matter where you stop on the road throughout the country.

Multi-Species Baits That Work:
Z-Man Finesse TRD Ned Rig Soft Plastic

Made popular by "Midwest Finesse" fishing expert Ned Kehde-hence the name-the Ned Rig has been one of the most popular methods to consistently catch bass on pressured waters for the past decade or more.

A go-to method when all else fails, one of our favorite Ned baits is the Z-Man Finesse TRD, which is made of resilient ElaZTech material that's good for literally dozens of fish on one bait, especially if you administer a dab of super glue to the jig shank before sliding on the plastic.

Coupled with an all-around proven 1/10th-ounce TT Lures NedlockZ HD jighead in green pumpkin or black, it's easy to make long casts to fish-holding water with braid and a fluorocarbon leader.

Besides bass, you can catch just about anything on a Ned Rig, from trout to walleyes to inshore species. Definitely a must-have.

Northland Deep-Vee Jigheads

Jigs catch everything that bites. Our recommendation? Put together a half dozen of each size-1/16-, 1/8-, ¼-, and 3/8-ounce sizes-for all species and depths.

An assortment of colors including natural white, black, and brighter Parrot or Moonlight is a good idea to meet various water clarity conditions.

These jigs also slip through the current easily thanks to a V-shaped keel, which also prevents getting snagged as often.

Deep-Vee jigs also feature a fish-attracting large eye on the head, sticky-sharp wire hook, and bait keeper to keep live bait or soft plastics pinned on the hook shank. MSRP is $5.99 for three per card.

Keitech Easy Shiners
From bass, walleyes, pike, and trout, to redfish and specks in the Gulf, nothing beats a soft plastic paddletail for easy fishing and lots of bites. Ripped, jigged off bottom, or fished on a steady retrieve or glide, paddletails allow anglers to cover a lot of water and depths. One of our favorites? Keitech Easy Shiners in everything from 2- to 4.5-inch. Grab an assortment of colors, including Shad, Bluegill Flash, Spot Remover (white & chartreuse), and Smokin' White.

Keitech paddletails look like real forage, have a unique wide-wobble, and come pre-scented with some kind of squid juice. Yes, that's kind of weird, but freshwater fish love seem to love it!

Strike King KVD Perfect Plastics Ocho
It's hard to beat the simplicity of a wacky-rigged plastic worm for catching bass. Year after year, this do-nothing presentation keeps on producing bass in waters shallow to deep. Our fave? The Strike King KVD Perfect Plastics 5-inch Ocho in Sweet Tater Pie pattern, a swirled blend of orange, black, yellow, and red. These worms are manufactured of a soft, salt-impregnated plastic for a perfect sink rate and feature an exclusive coffee scent that masks human scents to produce more and longer bites.

Rig the worm with a VMC WWK Wacky Weedless hook in 3/0 for areas of vegetation or an Eagle Claw Octopus Wide Gap Circle Hook in the same size for effortless fishing and no-hassle jaw hooksets that almost guarantee a healthy release.

Rapala X-Rap
In the world of minnow-profile crankbaits, it's hard to beat the Rapala X-Rap. A good all-around multi-species model is the 2 ½" XR06 in minnow-matching Glass Ghost, time-proven Silver, and Perch patterns. Cast and twitch or slowly reel for a running depth of 3' to 5'. Features a feathered tail for added appeal and action.

Blue Fox Classic Vibrax
The Blue Fox Classic Vibrax is a go-to lure for trout on lakes, streams, and rivers. With a running depth of 2- to 6-feet, you can cover a lot of the water column and a long casting distance quickly to search out active fish.

The Vibrax's patented two-part body emits low-frequency vibrations that attract fish and trigger strikes while virtually eliminating line twist. The colored bell is accented with metallic flakes and the blade is tipped in matching color, while the blade back is finished with a transparent, fluorescent-coordinating color.

Flaw-free silver plating, fine tolerances and super-sharp hooks are classic features of this two-part body spinner.

Choose between seven blade sizes, several weights (we like ¼-ounce with a #3 blade) and 40 available colors, including many UV patterns. A proven performer on trout is bleeding gold and silver/hot pink. MSRP is $4.99 to $6.99.

Berkley PowerBait Tube
From micro tubes for panfish to 3-inch and bigger models for bass, tubes equal success no matter where they're fished. Work them weightless on an EWG hook for near weedless performance or match with a tube-style jig-head for working bottom. We like the Berkley PowerBait Tube for its fish-attracting scent. Green pumpkin is a staple. MSRP: $4.59 for a bag of 10 tubes.

Eagle Claw Ultimate Terminal Tackle Kit

Sometimes, live bait is still king. Chances are, you may find yourself in a fishing situation when it's time to fish minnows, 'crawlers, or leeches. So, your survival road tackle kit should include a good assortment of live bait hooks, sinkers, floats, and other terminal tackle.

The 161-piece Eagle Claw Ultimate Terminal Tackle Kit is the quickest, easiest way to stock a tackle box with all the essentials to make adjustments based on conditions during any live bait bite. MSRP: $12.99.

Travel and Fish!

Take from our list what you will-and have a great open-water season!

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