Bass Pro Shops Tackle Bag
Product Review by Joseph D. Cornwall
Click Above For The Fly Fish Ohio
Thirty some odd
years ago when I first got hooked on fly fishing I was, as so many are,
immediately struck by the shear quantity of stuff associated with the
sport. All those doo-dad's hanging from a cool looking vest made fly
fishing seem important, a business not to be taken lightly. This early
exposure evolved into what must be a text book obsessive/compulsive
disorder, leading to the thousands of gizmos, gadgets, spools and boxes that
litter my life today. I know, deep down inside, that if I go fishing without
one thing, that surely will be the item that would have made the day if only
I had it at hand.
Three years ago my
wife bought me a Father's Day gift, a canoe. It is a beautiful sand-colored
Mad River Malecite that my wife only half-jokingly calls "the other woman".
It became apparent to me at the outset that paddling and fly vests were not
compatible. All those fly boxes and dangling gizmo's - so handy on the
stream - clanked in front of me and bounced painfully into my ribs. Left to
the bottom of the canoe the vest soon became a sponge. There had to be a
Various chest and
fanny packs were examined and dismissed. Bags designed specifically to the
task, complete with hooks to hang on the gunwale, seemed overly expensive
and limiting. In his land-mark 1968 warm water fly fishing book Tom Nixon
espouses use of a hardware fisher's tackle box. This, at last, seemed the
right approach. My old hip-roof Plano was brought from retirement and
proved the direction of Mr. Nixon's advice fundamentally sound - but it
turned out that sound became the problem. Simply put, the Plano made way
too much noise scraping the bottom of the Kevlar boat. In addition to
practicality I needed quiet.
A walk through the
fishing tackle section of Bass Pro (or Cabela's, or Wal-Mart, for that
matter) revealed dozens upon dozens of soft sided tackle bags designed to be
used with snap top adjustable plastic boxes. Perfect for the plastic worms,
jigs, pigs and spinners of the hardware crowd but never had I seen a fly
fisher with such a set-up. Too bad. It turns out that these bags are as
ideal a solution for a canoe or boat bound fly flinger as they are for those
who prefer a spinning or casting rod.
The bag pictured
Bass Pro Extreme Qualifier 360, has weathered some significant
airline miles, having seen action from Minnesota to Texas, Florida to
Oregon. Four seasons of abuse and still it retains its essential
functionality. Make no mistake; it is far from perfect. Letís examine some
weaknesses before we sing praises again.
disadvantage of any soft bag is its water resistance. While the Bass Pro
bag is tough, it is not waterproof. Water in the bottom of the boat, an
unexpected dunking, or a driving rain will soak the contents. This, of
course, requires careful unpacking and drying to prevent rust.
The front mesh
pocket was an early casualty. While it seems an ideal place for nippers,
forceps and other such constant use items, the mesh is easily cut by these
typically sharp metal tools. And the elastic holders found there tend not
to hold so well which means, when coupled with the inevitable hole in the
mesh, lost items. A little care must be taken to secure your doodads.
On the plus side, I
canít imagine needing more space. This bag holds a dozen spools of tippet
material, bug spray, pork rind baits, extra reel spools and dozens upon
dozens of flies, lures and baits. All this and it is lightweight, even when
fully loaded. When I purchased mine it even came with a full
complement of Plano 360 plastic boxes, which are ideal for large bass bugs,
fly rod spinner baits and other outsized hawg snacks.
The bottom line?
Bass Pro has a winner here. I am sure that there are many versions of this
product from scores of manufacturers. While I wish for better water
resistance and an improved tool caddy, the comparative cost of bags from
upscale manufacturers places these niceties at a four or five-fold
increase. For $30, I canít imagine a better investment for the fully
equipped smallmouth fanatic.