Long sessions on the bank mean that at some point you are going to have to think about cooking hot food.
I have been known to live off of crisps, bread, and biscuits, but it really isn’t viable if you are going for long sessions.
It’s nice to be comfortable, especially in the colder months.
With a little forethought and the right products, you don’t need to take a heap of equipment to have a decent meal on the bank.
A little effort goes a long way when cooking on the bank.
There is some thought that needs to go into the preparation of cooking when on the bank, namely choosing the right foods that are going to last the duration of your stay, or at least until you cook the food.
You also need to consider the cleaning side of things which we will cover towards the end of this article.
Having clean hands is paramount, especially when you have been on the bank for a few days, handling maggots, then about to cook raw meat.
Baby wipes and hand disinfectant are must-have items whenever you are on the bank, not just when cooking.
Ready Made Meals
The easiest option to have hot food on the bank are ready-made meals.
These typically get put into boiling water to be heated, or poured into a pot and stirred until hot.
Wayfarer sells lovely ready-made meals, which are good enough to be eaten at home too. This particular ready-made meal on Amazon is my favorite.
They can also be eaten cold, just in case you run out of gas.
I usually have a few of these in my bag as an emergency ration, just in case I need something hot to eat.
Keeping Food Cool
If you decide to not choose ready-made meals and want to cook other types of food, it’s really important to keep the food cool.
Keeping for cool in the hot summer months can prove to be difficult of your equipment isn’t up to scratch, or isn’t powerful enough.
There are a number of options to choose from when cooling food, and the decision is likely to be made on how much room you have in your vehicle to transport the equipment.
The more compact options are coolboxes and Ice packs, the less compact options are gas powered refrigerators.
Short Fishing Sessions
I have the Coleman Cooler box 70QT Xtreme for my shorter sessions, I tried the cheaper brands when I was starting out, but they never worked as well as I hoped.
I changed to the Coleman brand and haven’t looked back since.
The cooler box is used with Ice Packs and has lasted up to 4 days for me before.
Longer Fishing Sessions
For longer fishing sessions where there isn’t electricity available, ill bring the gas-powered refrigerator with me.
It makes me the envy of all of my friends when I have an ice-cool beer at all times, but it also gives me confidence that my food hasn’t gone off.
The last thing I want is an upset stomach when on the bank, especially if the toilet facilities aren’t great!
Amazon sells really handy little cutlery sets that come as a pack. The one I bought from Amazon has a folding sleeve to keep them protected from the elements.
I have also got a picnic set as a rucksack which has a full set of cutlery, including plates, plastic glasses, even a wine bottle holder. It also has napkins and an insulated compartment to keep the food cool.
I also take the rucksack with me when I go for picnics with the family as it contains a full set of cutlery for 4 people, so if you need an excuse to buy one, there it is. It looks like this one.
The main item you will need is some form of cooker or stove.
You will also need pots and pans, which we will touch on in a minute.
When it comes to stoves, I personally don’t think you can beat the Campingaz Chef Folding Stove as shown here.
It allows you to cook multiple things at once, saving the food from getting cold while you are cooking the other food items. You can basically cook a full breakfast in one go without having to swap the pots and pans over.
The downside about this particular one is that you need a 904 or a 907 size canister for it to run, but you simply can’t beat it for longer sessions.
I always set mine up on the Kingfisher stove unit giving me security knowing that it isn’t going to fall over when I am cooking, but also has storage so I can put the condiments somewhere safe.
If there is a group of us going, we take a barbeque with us and then use the stoves to heat up the non-meat items such as the vegetables and tinned items.
We use folding barbeques similar to this one, these barbeques are great because they don’t take up too much space in the car and are very easily cleaned. This particular barbeque has enough space to cook for around 10 people, which is perfect for our group.
Portable Stoves and Burners
Compact and portable stoves or burners are the simplest options, but you can be restricted by what you can cook and how much you can cook at one time.
When I am doing an overnight session or a day session, I use a portable gas stove. The Campingaz portable stove can be used for one pan at a time and fits into my picnic cutlery bag, so I can just grab the bag on the way out of the house and I know I have everything I need.
The other alternative is to use a single burner with a mini gas can. These are good for a cup of tea, but I don’t typically trust them with pans on them as they are known to be a bit unstable if on uneven ground.
Pans and Saucers
There are lots of choices when it comes to pots, pans, and saucers but I prefer the compact versions such as the NGT cooking set because it folds away nicely and is big enough for what I need.
I also use a special frying pan. It has 3 sections to enable you to cook 3 different types of food at a time without having the foods getting mixed up. There are a few manufacturers offering these now, but I found the cheapest one for you here on Amazon.
To cook a quick and simple breakfast, I love using the toastie maker pan, because not only are they delicious, they are very quick and easy to use. This one can be used on all of the stoves listed above.
I found this MEGA frying pan but haven’t got around to convincing the wife to buy me one yet… maybe my next xmas gift. Check it out here.
Y ou could, of course, take it with you to the lake and leave it in the car until you need it.
Other Cooking Equipment to Remember
A quick-fire list of other things to remember to take with you if you are cooking on the bank.
- Charcoal, firelighters and lighter fluid.
- A lighter or matches, or a candle lighter. You can now buy USB lighters which are charged by USB and save you burning your fingers when the fuel ignites.
- Barbeque tools.
- Tupperware containers to put the cooked food in to eat later.
- Barbeque cover if you are planning on leaving it out for the full fishing session.
- Barbeque Grill Mats – to make everything easier to clean.
- Cooking Oil.
- Barbeque Brush.
- Rubbish bin bags.
The easiest method of cleaning up after cooking was learned from my step-father.
He is the best cook when it comes to cooking on the bank. He does most of the cooking when we go out in a group and his food always tastes great.
The difficult bit is always the cleaning because typically there isn’t running water.
The key is, a little bit of hot water, some washing up liquid and blue roll… Don’t know what blue roll is? Here it is on Amazon.
Blue roll is dirt cheap but has the perfect thickness for cleaning up when on the bank.
How he cleans the plates:
- Heats a little bit of water and puts it in a 5-liter bucket.
- Adds a few drops of washing up liquid to help get rid of the grease.
- Dips the blue towel in the water to clean the plates and cutlery.
- Then uses the blue towel to wipe the stuff clean. It works like a dream.
The blue towel is used to dry the cutlery and plates too, so they can go straight back into the picnic bag.
Drying them straight away saves them being left laying around to dry and then being subsequently misplaced, so be sure to get into the habit of drying cutlery straight after eating.
Storage comes in many shapes, sizes, materials, and descriptions.
For my overnight gear, such as torches, medicines, power banks etc, I load it all into sports bag so I can grab it quickly and have confidence that I have everything I need.
I do the same thing for my cooking equipment. I have my cutlery in my picnic backpack. Which also contains my portable stove.
I then put my baby wipes, blue roll, cutlery and other cooking items in another bag, then I know everything is ready to go when I head out on a night session.
Having 50-liter storage boxes are really useful as you know your things aren’t going to get damaged with all of your other fishing fear resting on top of it in the car. These are also good containers to keep pots and pans, which can then be carried in one go to the bank. These can also then be put onto a wheelbarrow and neatly stack on top of each other.
Tables, Chairs, and Benches
Recommended Fishing Chairs
There are lots of fishing chairs to choose from, all are very widely marketed in the typical fishing magazines. It’s likely that you already have a chair, but if not, the main things to look out for are:-
- Armrests or no armrests.
- Lightweight design and easy to carry.
- Extendable legs that can be locked at all different heights.
- Reclining back section.
- Plenty of padding.
- Wide feet to stop the chair digging into the mud.
It’s handy to have a side table to rest your beer or condiments on whilst you are eating, but also great to have a larger table if you are cooking for a few people.
The Coleman 6-in-1 camping table is really versatile and can be used at varying heights, it can be split into two tables and can be folded away into two completely flat tables.
Why not? After a meal, you should be able to relax and to relax properly, you can’t beat a hammock.
A gazebo is a perfect addition to your barbeque setup. There are lots to choose from but stay away from the super cheap versions.
This is what I would describe as a cheap version to avoid. Click the link to see on Amazon.
The All Season’s gazebo is a good purchase and folds down into a small compact package. The prices vary wildly, but I found this version on Amazon which is the best price. Click here to see the latest price.
The other alternative that I would recommend is the Coleman gazebo, which ranges from a hundred bucks up to five hundred bucks, but this is the better model to go for.
It goes without saying that if you are going to be fishing for a week on the bank, you are going to need the toilet at some point.
A lot of fishery toilets are not cleaned regularly enough, and there is likely going to be one toilet per lake.
So its highly advisable that you have your own.
More than likely, the toilet will be quite a distance from your swim, which means you are going to have to reel your rods in while you go to the loo. Or needing to go to the loo in the middle of the night can get annoying and potentially dangerous if it is dark.
I have mine set up in a pop-up privacy tent which ensures I can go in peace. The pop-up tent takes up next to no space in the car.
Compressed towels are really useful if you are struggling for space in your vehicle, they take up a tiny percentage of space compared to toilet roll.
You have three main options when choosing a toilet.
- The portable loo
- The bucket
- The folding toilets
The portable loo can be quite bulky, but absolutely the most comfortable and the most practical. If you are over an average weight, this option would be most suitable as the bucket loo and the folding loo aren’t the most stable when it comes to weight capacity.
Chemicals can be utilised with portable loos, making it a cleaner solution than just having a bag underneath, but some models can be more tricky to clean than others.
The Bucket Loo
The bucket loo is the simplest option and uses a bag underneath to capture waste, making it easy to dispose of for each use.
The Folding Toilet
The folding toilet is part portable loo, part bucket loo. By this, I mean it is easy to store as it folds down neatly and isn’t as bulky as the portable loo, but also uses a bag underneath to dispose of waste, so is a basic version of a toilet.
I have made a lot of mistakes during my fishing sessions and don’t want you to make the same mistakes. I’ve learned the hard way over 20 years of fishing most weekends, testing, tweaking, and testing again and now want to help you excel with your carp fishing.
If you need any help, you can reach me at Fishing Again’s Facebook page