Fly-in fishing trip: Best 10-15 lb total weight photo loadout

Aussie shooter

@brett.guy.photography
Dec 6, 2016
321
274
I'd go the camera without grip. 24-70 and 70-200 with converter. And a bean bag for some astro shots. If you are still under weight then throw in the 28 2.8 for your astro.
 
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docsmith

EOS 6D MK II
Sep 17, 2010
845
198
Sounds like a fun trip. While it would remove a "certain" piece of gear, 5DIII 100-400 II plus 1.4TC will be center point only focus and focus fairly badly.

Rent a 5DIV. The AF with that combination (100-400 II plus TC) is excellent.

I think you are going to want flexibility, I'd go 24-70 f/4, 100-400 II, 1,4x TC. Only reason I see to have a "fast" lens is if you are going to try to do nightscapes, but then you want a tripod and a fast wide lens....
 
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Don Haines

Beware of cats with laser eyes!
Jun 4, 2012
7,950
1,336
Canada
Dry bags are pretty cheap and I'd get more mileage out of them than just this trip. We recently moved to a very lake-y part of the country, so this is surely not the last time I'll be facing this hurdle. But I was thinking about bumps before you said it -- I'd probably have to carry it on my back or in my lap whenever we'd be traveling at speed from place to place.

But if there are properly well sealed + buoyant/floating purpose built photography bags, lay 'em on me. I'm just worried about weight -- the LowePro Dryzone 200 is something like 7 pounds by itself! The membranes / outers are usually quite thick and heavy.

- A
You can put a towel inside your drybag to get a bit of padding without much of a weight penalty.... or a t-shirt..... I have been known to put lenses in fluffy winter socks.....
 
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johnb

I'm New Here
Feb 24, 2013
19
3
Abergavenny, Wales
The boats in your picture look to be fifteen foot or so long, pretty much the standard fishing boat on stillwaters over here. You’re going to be very close to your boat partner but you may just get away with the wide end of your 24-70. I think you would need a wide angle zoom proper if you’re wanting to include the fisher and a hooked fish jumping close to the boat or being netted or brought into the boat.

Walleye, Northern and Lake Trout roughly translate to Zander (pike/perch), Pike and Char in the UK. More relevantly, I gather the usual line of attack for these US/Canadian species is what you call bait casting and we call spinning. So no shots of looping fly lines but one important upside. You can’t position yourself behind a fly fisher because their back cast may end up taking your eye out. There is no equivalent long back cast when bait casting so you can potentially get much closer to another boat without much risk.

Glad to hear you’re not doing rivers. Taking pictures waist deep in fast flowing water, walking on a slippery, uneven bottom is hard work and often not fun, even with a monopod doubling up as a wading stick.

A monopod in a boat. No good. Just one more thing to get in the way in a confined space.

Most impressed by your shot of the bald eagle taken from a boat. You have much steadier hands than I have.

'But what's the bigger polarizing priority in fishing photography, though? Taming a bright sky or taming water reflections?'

The biggest problem for me is always reflections off the water. It’s like trying to get shots of a chrome car bumper that is changing position all the time in very bright sunlight. Dazzling light and burned-out highlights. Any benefits in terms of muting the sky or saturating the colours of vegetation are just bonuses.

A fast prime (35/50?) might be very useful if you’re all getting together round a campfire of an evening?

I absolutely agree with Private By Design’s comment. My pics are simply to illustrate points in articles. You’re recording an event or series of events. ‘Image-centric’ is a really good way of putting it. The only overlap is some of the shared technical problems. I have a sinking feeling your fishing pics are going to be streets ahead of anything I could ever manage to knock out!

And yes, hemostats (artery forceps as we call them in Brit land) have been a vital piece of basic angling kit for decades. Nothing else works as well for getting a hook out of a fish’s mouth!
 
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slclick

Blessed Be The Fruit Loops
Dec 17, 2013
2,916
357
You're nuts if you don't bring the 40. I love it to compliment the 16-35. So My list would be 16-35, 40, 100 and 70-200.
 
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ahsanford

Particular Member
Aug 16, 2012
7,961
491
You can put a towel inside your drybag to get a bit of padding without much of a weight penalty.... or a t-shirt..... I have been known to put lenses in fluffy winter socks.....

I do this all the time with a lens inside of a winter hat in my satchel (if it's not a chambered camera bag).

- A
 

ahsanford

Particular Member
Aug 16, 2012
7,961
491
'But what's the bigger polarizing priority in fishing photography, though? Taming a bright sky or taming water reflections?'

The biggest problem for me is always reflections off the water. It’s like trying to get shots of a chrome car bumper that is changing position all the time in very bright sunlight. Dazzling light and burned-out highlights. Any benefits in terms of muting the sky or saturating the colours of vegetation are just bonuses.

....

And yes, hemostats (artery forceps as we call them in Brit land) have been a vital piece of basic angling kit for decades. Nothing else works as well for getting a hook out of a fish’s mouth!

Thanks, I was always curious about that with the CPL with fishing.

And thanks against about the artery forceps, but do they obviate the need for me to have dedicated pliers, Leatherman multi-tool, etc.? I don't expect to catch much, but I'll surely need to apply new hooks, tie knots, etc.

- A
 

privatebydesign

Would you take advice from a cartoons stuffed toy?
Jan 29, 2011
7,470
503
119
Have to agree with the CPL, I use them primarily to tame/control reflections on pools and granite counter tops.

As for a Leatherman, unless you are going to check it on every flight you will lose it to TSA.
 
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Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
15,307
569
I've camped in Northern Ontario near Temagami and fished from small boats when I lived in Toronto for 2 + years back in the 1980's.

In my case, we drove to the camp, stayed in a cabin, and fished in several small adjoining lakes, hiking to each one in chain like fashion. Some flew in to the larger lake. We also met people out on the lakes who took canoes from lake to lake. You can go for a huge distance that way, everything seems connected by a swampy canal or a stream. Each lake had its own boats and motors, but we had to carry a can of gas just in case.

The first day, we had a guide, after that, we went on our own, I think we fished on 4 or 5 lakes that way. We had a community fish fry at least one night which was fun.

My camera went to the bottom, so I don't have photos.

I also rescued a guy after I saw him standing in the rear of his boat trying to start the motor, it was not starting. I was starting to mention to my wife that he was being reckless, then the outboard started and he went right over the rear of the boat and engine into the water and was splashing around and hollering for help. We were only a few hundred feet away, so I started my engine, went over and matched speeds with his boat which was running around in circles and he was in danger of getting hit. I first grabbed on to his boat and stopped the engine, and, since he was not far from shore, I gave him a rope and towed him to the dock and saw that he had a nasty looking cut from the engine prop. He refused to let me take him to a doctor and asked me to get his boat. He offered my a small bass or walleye for my help, but I turned it down. He was a grizzled old local guy, and when I told the story back at the camp, the owner knew him, he was local and had fished there for years. He said that no one was going to let him live that story down, saved by a US tourist!

My advice is to bring head nets and lots of deet. It gets hot and humid, mosquitoes and black flies are really bad. There are lots of moose, but the black bear population was greatly exaggerated, but then I come from a area where black bear are very common, in fact, they have a bear festival every year, #60 is this weekend. The Walleye fishing wasn't great either, but there were lots of huge Northern Pike. Some of those relatively small lakes get very big waves when the wind is blowing hard. Storms can pop up unexpectedly. I think that we went to that camp twice, it was beautiful, and we quickly learned that the wind was our friend, since it blows the mosquitoes away.

A cheap waterproof camera for use in the boat, and a telephoto zoom for use on land along with a normal zoom for photos of the catch and other close up subjects like hundreds of bites from mosquitoes. A head net is a must! I had been in Northern Canada and Alaska before, so I had lots of it along.
 
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johnb

I'm New Here
Feb 24, 2013
19
3
Abergavenny, Wales
And thanks against about the artery forceps, but do they obviate the need for me to have dedicated pliers, Leatherman multi-tool, etc.? I don't expect to catch much, but I'll surely need to apply new hooks, tie knots, etc.
Very far off-piste for a camera gear forum, but here goes.....

I mainly fish for sea-run brown trout and atlantic salmon now but I did fish for pike regularly, long ago, when I was young. Tactics may well vary in different countries but, wherever you are, pike have lots of sharp teeth and you probably need at least 10 cm artery forceps (curved seem to be favourites for pike) but a 30 cm long nosed pair of pliers (sold by fishing shops specifically for unhooking predatory fish) could also be useful.

I’d opt for these sorts of purpose-specific tools, rather than a multi-tool. I haven’t a clue how these things would play with airline security people.

If you’re using nylon or flouocarbon line, lubricating your knots with spit and pulling them tight by hand is more effective than tightening them with tools, unless you’re using really thick nylon. For very thick nylon, you can use something called a ‘knot puller’ (but you still need spit).

Google ‘half-blood knot’, ‘water knot’ and ‘Rapala knot’ to get diagrams and practice tying them before you head off.
If you’re using wire traces, they should come with quick-release clips on the end so you won’t need knots.

We always used to use something called a pike ‘gag’, a metal spring clip to hold the pike’s jaws open while you unhooked everything. But that was fifty years ago and now, apparently, they're illegal in Scotland, though still on sale elsewhere in the UK. Their use is frowned on here because of their potential to damage the pike's jaws.

And pack at least one heavy leather glove so if the fish are biting, it’s not you who gets bitten!
 
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ahsanford

Particular Member
Aug 16, 2012
7,961
491
Have to agree with the CPL, I use them primarily to tame/control reflections on pools and granite counter tops.

As for a Leatherman, unless you are going to check it on every flight you will lose it to TSA.
The leatherman would actually work for this trip -- we'd be driving across the border before a puddle jump Canadian private charter. But point taken on flying traditional passenger routes, that is certainly something to consider.

Are there any non-bladed leatherman tools expressly for TSA compliance, i.e. a multi-tool without a knife?

- A
 

ahsanford

Particular Member
Aug 16, 2012
7,961
491
Also, remember this bag from Simms I talked about?

185662


It turns out that I'm not crazy in seeing the similarity -- here's the response from ThinkTank / MindShift when I reached out to them:
Thank you for reaching out to us and for letting us know about that.
This Simms fishing bag is actually one that we designed for them as they really liked our Rotation180 Catch & Release that we made for a very short time. We actually launched the Catch & Release pack on Kickstarter but it didn't get fully funded.

FYI,
A
 

Photorex

EOS RP
Nov 19, 2016
226
27
Hi,

my suggestion would be:
5D3 +
  • 28 f/2.8 Is
  • 40 f/2.8
  • Tamron 100-400 f/4.5-6.3 (it does weigh 500 gramm less than the Canon, yes it is only f6.3 on the long end, but you did say most of your pictures will be taken in daylight)
- one CPL Filter for the biggest filter thread and the needed step up converters for the smaller filter threads (the converters do weigh less than each filter)

- maybe a beanbag instead of the bag to be filled with sand (could also allow the astro work you are thinking of)

regards
Frank
 
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ethanz

1DX II
Apr 12, 2016
983
243
ethanzentz.com
The leatherman would actually work for this trip -- we'd be driving across the border before a puddle jump Canadian private charter. But point taken on flying traditional passenger routes, that is certainly something to consider.

Are there any non-bladed leatherman tools expressly for TSA compliance, i.e. a multi-tool without a knife?

- A
If you have it in checked baggage it is fine.
 
Reactions: ahsanford
Mar 14, 2012
2,272
155
I sort of figured. Thanks for the guidance.

Also: 'be mindful to not smash your glass elements together' is the same thing as 'never ever try this' to me. Zero chance I'd extend that 70-300L what that proviso in play. That's a non-starter right there.

Another question: if I rented a 100-400L + 1.4x, would I be nuts to just leave the TC attached the whole time? People often speak of the IQ with the 1.4x attached, but how snappy/reliable is the AF with it attached?

- A
It wouldn't be crazy to leave it on because you plan on using it for wildlife only. Assuming you're focal length limited (usually the case), it doesn't hurt too much. But if you start using the 100-400 for more distant environmental portraiture, I'd take the 1.4x off.
 
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ahsanford

Particular Member
Aug 16, 2012
7,961
491
Our local REI store is one of the gigantic ones with everything under the sun inside. Always a fun visit as we are hikers and occasional campers, but now we live in a place with properly cold weather and a ton more precipitation. It's a fairly safe bet that if you move from Los Angeles to anywhere else in the country, you'll be stopping into an REI before too long. (So we're in REI a lot in general.)

But this time I had fun playing around with specific gear I was considering for this fishing trip.

1) Mosquito head cover + sun/fishing hat = bought. The serious fishermen joining me on this trip implied that mosquito netting is effectively useless if it can rest on your neck or ears (bugs will bite through it), so you need a full peripheral brim of the hat to tent it away. Done. I was shocked how many sun/fishing hats they carry, and some are inexplicably over $100. (Mine was $20.)

2) As a photo comment, they carry a nontrivial amount of Peak Design gear, FYI. If you don't have a photography store near you, you can go to REI to try a few of them out. A year ago, I actually tried out their 5L sling in the store before eventually purchasing one.

3) They sell (but do not rent) dry bags that certainly would fit a 5D3 + attached 100-400 (in this store, near the boats/kayaks area), and they ran anywhere from $80-150 depending on size and design. Unfortunately, they are paper thin compared to the thick/rubbery ones I've rafted in, walked Zion Narrows with, etc. I was fully expecting no internal padding, but these were using ultra-light membranes (plus the fairly ubiquitous roll-top seal these things prefer to employ) that did not instill confidence. These seemed like higher end shells/raincoats in bag form, and I wanted something more substantial -- I'm sure those keep rain out, but I'm much more worried about a plunge into the drink in this case). Good thing we've got a marine biologist in the family, and I'm hopeful that I can commandeer one of their more old-school dry bags for this trip.

4) The quest for a slick multi-tool has gone from 'I think this trip justifies the expense' to 'I think they are neato but I don't really need it' as the fishing ace on this trip will have each boat geared with pliers and jaw spreaders and what not. So I fiddled around with the Leatherman Skeletool CX and one of the Wave designs but opted against.

Anyway, I'm nearly there with the inventory planning, but walking through an REI, Cabela's, etc. is a good way to shake the tree for things you didn't plan to bring. It didn't spur me to buy a ton of things, but it was a decent sounding board to flesh out the plan. In some cases, it just reminded me to add things to the inventory that I already owned. :)

- A
 
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