Essential 2012 Fishing and Camping Accessories
  |  First Published: December 2011

After Christmas is often a great time to pick up a few bargains around the tackle shops and camping stores – fishing tackle aside. Here are ten ‘look like you know what you are doing’ items that you might want to consider for when the barra season opens back up.


A quality ice box is essential for keeping your fish in good condition for the table. I’m old enough to remember homemade and cottage industry fibreglass eskies that were actually very expensive. These days the poly type are super efficient, super durable, well-priced and by far the most popular.


A large landing net is required for boat based barra fishing these days. Gone are the days of chin gaffing barra. Some crews prefer round ended nets, others square ends – stick them in the middle and it’s less likely to matter.


This is one from the hunting market - camo patterns are very popular these days. The Ridgeline brand, from New Zealand, Sable Air Flow clothing is ideal for those hot tropical afternoons. Look closely and you’ll see the air flow holes in the clothing. There’s also a Boga Grip in the photo, another essential accessory.


We all know the value of a GPS in the boat, but some fishing spots are not accessible by roads. A GPS in the car, or even a portable handheld to move between the boat and car, can be a must for the more adventurous amongst us, especially when you are following ‘you can’t miss it’ directions. Many devices have ‘back track’ option to help you get out back on the road.


A brag mat is a great way to keep the over exaggerations out of the fishing tales – if that’s ever possible. Brag mats has reinforced the practice of measuring fish by length rather than hanging them on a set of scales. A brag mat and a pocket digital camera has replaced both fancy cameras and the awkward to use scales.


Barra camps these days often include a tarp to provide ample sun shade and plenty of air flow. Of course quality camping chairs are great to come back after sitting in a hot tinny all day.


Camping in summer can be very uncomfortable at times – sleep in a synthetic tent you sweat all night, sleep outside the mozzies are an absolute menace. A swag on a stretcher inside one of these Mosquito domes provides you a cool, comfortable mosquito free sleep. If there’s rain about throw a fly or tarp over the dome.


The screen of this Lowrance sounder shows a fantastic mid-water tangle of branches and tree roots. Without the sounder nobody would have known this structure was here. Along with GPS units, sounders have moved into the high-tech world, with side scanning all the rage in barra anglers. I thought it was a gimmick until I tried it. The ability to see fish hidden in the bank side timber take a lot of guess work out of barra fishing.


Recovery equipment will get you out of plenty of sticky situations. It’s common to get bogged getting to or from the spot and when putting the boat in or getting it out of the water. This was the first of two bogged trailers on this trip.


Filleting knives are of course essential, however they are no good to you (or the fish) if they are blunt. A good sharp knife reduces the time spent cleaning fish when you get back home. I like a long bladed knife for barra filleting and skinning. This F-Dick blade is 21cm long - the edge thinness of the blade just seems to work great for barra fillets. I like the depth of the blade at the point too. It’s a favourite!

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