Category: Gear Review
We shore fished from the bank, or from piers or other structures for a long time. But eventually I began wandering further and further afield. As long as I stayed on the bank the backpack was awesome. Even crossing a creek didn’t bother me. But when I began to get serious about wading it was clear I needed something else. I needed something smaller, lighter, and less obtrusive. Something that didn’t matter if it got submerged, or if I slipped and fell in the water while wearing it. I looked around for a while before I settled on something.
At the time I was on various fly fishing forums, even though I didn’t fly fish yet. But the fly guys knew where the fish were, especially the natives , and if you listened and read between the lines you could figure it out. They were very tight lipped, though, especially if you weren’t a fly guy. But I played by their rules, which usually means catch and release unless it’s stocked, and was always respectful of the fish, the locations and of nature. I did not spot burn. I put in my time on the ground too and doing other research, looking at maps, and satellite photos. So I don’t feel bad about poaching their information.
Anyway, from the fly guys I borrowed the idea of the chest pack. I found a Spiderwire hip pack that would hold 3 medium (3600) boxes, the same size as the Cabelas Expedition XPG Deluxe Anglers Backpack. I would wear the Spiderwire hip pack in front, but could slide it around back if I needed to. Sometimes I wore it over a shoulder like a sling pack. That also worked well when I started riding my mountain bike up in Swatara State Park.
It has a smaller compartment in front of the tackle compartment , and several small pockets under a flap in front of that. On the outside and on the strap there are some rubberized mesh pouches. I usually use those for a stream temperature thermometer, ruler/scale, clipper and forceps. All of those are attached by gear keepers or gear retractors, which is another idea I borrowed from the fly guys.
A lot of times I would only take 2 boxes. When I was using this a lot I was experimenting with different artificials, so I would take a box of whatever I was focusing, and a mixed box with a little bit of everything. So I might take a box of all Rapalas and then the mixed box which would have a small assortment of everything else.
When I initially got into kayak fishing, before I had modified my kayak or gotten a crate, I used this in the kayak. I would wear it in front, and wen the top was closed it made a passable work surface. I have used it for probably 2 or 3 years. It has held up extremely well, and is still going strong.
Last year, around May or June, I was looking for a better to transport my fishing rods. The telescoping rods were in a sort of pile in a back corner of the trailblazer. The longer rods were leaned in a corner and along the sides of the seats. The longest rod, one of my wife’s, was always whacking her in the head as it arche against the roof of the vehice. There had to be a better way.
Of course there was. A lot of online research lead me to some commercially available vehicle rod racks sold at Cabelas and Bass Pro Shops. They ranged from about $40 for cheap cloth/rope loops to $150 or more for metal rods and plastic holders. There were also plenty of home made solutions also ranging from cloth/rope loops to PVC. There are loads of PVC designs.
I don’t have anything against PVC but it wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted to use the existing grab handles and garment hangers. I wanted metal bars if at all possible. After giving it a lot of thought, and thinking about stuff I had seen in stores I figured I could use the commercially made garment hanging bars. They are designed to go from one garment hook to another, or one grab handle to another and for you to hang a bunch of clothes on coat hangers on them. They are available at any automotive store for around $10.
Looking around in Dick’s, I saw several types of Berkely rod hlders. They were designed to be mounted on a garage wall, or boat deck. But the simple two hole mounting made it look easy to attach to the bars. A couple of stops, 20 minutes of work, and a dozen zip ties later and voila!
The bars are adjustable to the width of your vehicle. They attach by either a metal rectangle or plastic hook. They can attach to either grab handles or garment hooks.
The rod racks are two pairs of the Berkley Twist Lock 4 Rod Racks. I chose those because of the enclosed circle type holders. That seemed more secure for the rod butts. I just put the rods through the twist lock front portions, but I don’t use the locks. I mounted them on top of the bars instead of hanging to give me more head clearance.
This gives me a capacity of 8 rods, which is more than enoough right now. Especially since 3 of my rods are telescoping and don’t get put in the racks. If we ever need more capacity it will be easy enough to replace the 4 rod racks with 6 rod racks. I could probably squeeze one more in the center, but I wanted to leave some space for other things.
The mounting was zip ties through the screw holes on each end. So far they worked magnificently. Here is a selection to choose from
The pictures are too big for the blog, so click on them for a full view.