Thursday, September 5, 2013

Luxuries of a boat bag

Are boat bags essential fly fishing gear? No. Are they extremely nice when fishing from a boat? Yep. And every bit of ease, comfort and happiness counts to this crotchety angler.

Right here ^
It snugs up nicely beside a cooler bag in between the cross bars of an Outcast PAC 1300,
beneath a soft dry-fly cast on the Yellowstone River.
They easily stand upright in a boat (unlike backpacks, etc.), protect your gear with hard sides, provide easy access in a boat, are easy to load and unload with their top-mount handles. So I got one.

Sage's Technical Boat Bag is handsome, durable and accommodating. It holds a full inventory of gear:
  • rain jacket
  • map book
  • five or six fly boxes, and a couple more fly-shop cups
  • a couple bottles of floatant
  • a couple tins of split shot
  • a few indicators
  • a Garmin unit
  • a good-sized first-aid kit
  • lip balm
  • sunscreen
  • long-sleeved shirt
  • water filter
  • a few granola bars
  • some plastic bags for dog poop or whatever
  • small MILC camera and extra lens
  • spare AA batteries
  • Raft repair kit
  • Forceps with tippet caddy and nippers can attach to any of a number of exterior tabs
  • Miscellany like salmon-steelhead poly leaders, old leaders for streamer fishing, mini camping-storage bags, etc.
All fits with aplomb and there's still room for a water bottle.
Perfect for a WaterMaster, too. 
I noted some minor issues, like the absent bag-top handle. Lifting it into the boat requires one little extra step - cinch down the shoulder strap to be used as a hand-handle. Absolute minutia, but something. It does have hand handles on either side, on top of the side pockets (two hands usually required). It also has accoutrements like a big Velcro-able fly patch and a cover leaf for added protection, with magnets to keep it where you want.

I owned an old brand-name boat bag that had some serious waterproof zipper issues - this bag seems to have passed that test. The zippers aren't terribly hard to pull and they haven't given out yet, save for one zipper pull that popped off almost immediately.

Get'cha self one.

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