Over the years I have found that there are certain items that I must have handy in my boat bag/pack. Being on the water you are surrounded by elements that can be harsh on your body and your equipment. These are the items that have helped me repair my equipment as well as aches and pains when on the water.
1- WD-40. Of course this is on the list!! I like to keep a can of this juice in my truck as well as in my boat. Mostly used for squeaky oar locks and cleaning bearings WD-40 is a great item to have for multiple uses. I have also seen anglers spray WD-40 on their flies so they do not rust. They also say that since the main ingredient in WD-40 is fish oil that fish will smell your flies. I am not sure if that is true or not but there have been slow days when I considered trying it.
2- UV Knot Sense. This is great for strengthening knots immediately. Knot Sense dries quickly in the sun and can give you a piece of mind after tying a Nail or Albright knot at the end of your fly line. I have also used this product to seal rips or tears in jackets and waders.
3- Sunscreen/ lip balm. There are certain days when I can feel wrinkles start to crease my skin from the Dry Colorado Sun. Having a good jug of SPF 30+ can keep you from frying on those long days on the River. Lip Balm is another item that I always see to lose but a must have. Sun Burnt and dried out lips can be a real menace so I try to keep some Dermatone in my pack/ boat bag as a back up to the one that religiously falls out of my pocket.
4- Aspercreme with Lidocaine. This is a item I just started using and it works great. There are days when it feels like every muscle in my shoulders and legs are aching. Apply this scentless lotion to your muscles and you can actually feel it take the soreness out. Maybe the lidocaine numbs it just enough to make it feel better, either way this is a great little remedy to take away those aches and pains. Of course if you are in your 20’s this item is not in your boat bag.
5- Aspirin. Staring at the water all day puts tremendous strain on your eyeballs. This will eventually give you a headache and before you know it you are focused on your head pain rather than that stimulator your just cast along the bank. Be sure to carry a bottle of your favorite aspirin/ ibuprofen. Surely at some point either you or some one you are fishing with will need it.
6- Line Cleaner. Sick of watching that dirty line sink every cast? Give it a quick clean. This won’t solve your old dirty line problem but it will keep it floating long enough so you can keep fishing. I don’t use this a lot but it is convenient to have when you line does start to take a dive. It is also small so it doesn’t take up a bunch of space in your bag. There are multiple line conditioners on the market and I am unsure if one works better than the other. My advice is find one and throw in in your boat bag/ pack.
7- Dry Shake/ Floatant. Sounds like a no brainer but like li balm this stuff seems to vanish out of my possession so I like to keep a few extra handy. Running out of either of these items during a good hatch can really turn a great fly fishing opportunity into a marginal one. I like to use Loon or Gink but whatever you choose is fine with me. I have even used the new dry shake liquid. This I am not too sure about yet since it left white stains on my raft. But it does work.
8- Pliers. Just a small set of needle nose pliers can be a big help on a boat. You can use them to remove cotter pins, remove flies and pinch barbs when you forget your hemostats in the truck. These are also great to have when your bearing blow up on your trailer.
9- Duct Tape. Where would we be without duct tape? this multiple purpose item is often used to cross out the guide emblem on the side of my boat when we are doing a personal float. But I have also used it on rips/ tears in nano puffs and waders.
Whats in your pack that you must have? I am sure I may have left a few items out but these are great pieces of simple equipment to have for any fishing occasion.