To be honest, fly fishing gear is expensive. It seems that if you associate fly fishing with a piece of equipment you have an open invitation to charge far more than it is worth. Fortunately, fly fishing for panfish is a simple affair that does not require a lot of gear. A single fly box will usually hold everything you need to catch bluegills and other panfish. Add a few tools, some tippet, maybe an extra leader or two and a few more odds and ends and your all set. An expensive fishing vest is not required to carry this small amount of gear, but you still need some way to take it with you. There are fly fishing specific bags, chest packs, waist packs, etc. that suit this role perfectly, but they all carry that inflated fly fishing price tag.
There Has To Be A Better Way
A few weeks back I stumbled on an economical solution to this problem. I was wandering the aisles of my local Home Depot store picking up supplies for a DIY project. In this case, building a second chicken coop for some bantam breeds we are raising. As I was in the tool aisle picking up a couple of carpenter pencils, I found a small tool pouch that I thought would be perfect for this job. I did not need a full-blown tool belt to assemble this chicken coop. A small pouch to hold fasteners, a tape measure and a few simple tools were all I needed. In reality, it was the magnetic pencil holder on this bag that caught my eye. I am forever laying down pencils and wasting a ton of time trying to find them. The tool pouch was less than $15.00, so I threw it in the cart and headed home.
After completing my project, I was breaking things down and putting away my tools. As I held the now empty tool pouch in my hands, I felt a twinge of buyers remorse. Was this pouch a necessary purchase? I could have taken off what was not needed on my carpenter's tool belt and accomplished the task with the same level of comfort and saved myself $15.00. As I was contemplating this, another thought popped into my head. The main compartment of this bag would hold a couple of fly boxes perfectly. The pouch also had some dividers that would great for carrying other items needed for a day on the water. Also, there were a few other features that would come in handy for the fly fisherman.
What's In The Bag?
The tool pouch is called the MagnoGrip 9-Pocket Magnetic Maintenance Pouch with Quick Snap Pencil Holder (I know it is a mouthful). The tool pouch features nine pockets in assorted sizes to store a variety of tools. The open top main compartment is perfect for two large fly boxes, or a few more of smaller ones. To give you an idea of the main compartment's size it will hold three large Tacky fly boxes with ease. The magnets on the bag are designed to keep fasteners and tools in place. They perfect for holding flies like a standard fly patch. I removed the carpenter pencil and replaced it with a pair of nippers and the magnetic holder worked perfectly. The nippers are always available and don’t have to be tethered to a zinger. Time will tell if the magnet is strong enough to hold them securely while walking through brush. So far so good, but I have a cheap set of nippers in the holder for now in case they go missing. The various pouches hold items like flashlights, pocket knives, bug dope, split shot, strike indicators, floatant, extra leaders, pliers, forceps, etc. Also, there are numerous attachment points on the outside of the bag for attaching other gear and retractors.
The bag quickly attaches to your belt with a sturdy metal clip, or you can thread it on if you are looking for something more secure. At first, I was a little concerned about the open top, but those fears were not warranted. The deep pocket holds the fly boxes securely, and the open top makes accessing fly boxes quick and easy.
The Perfect Truck Kit
This bag has evolved into my truck kit. I have a habit of always keeping a fly box or two, some tools and a spool of tippet stashed in a seat back along with a tenkara rod or two for an impromptu fishing session. Now, this bag is used to hold everything in one place and it clips neatly to the pocket on the back of my driver's seat. It is perfect for a spur of the moment fishing adventure. It would also serve admirably as an everyday system for fly rodding for panfish as well. It holds just enough gear, keeps things organized and at less than $15.00 it can fit into everyone’s budget!
Do you have any money-saving fly fishing related ideas? I would love to hear them! Drop a comment below or shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org