03/04/10 – I remember when it was easy. I had a leader that was too short and too big for my fly but it didn’t matter because I didn’t know any better. I didn’t have a vest and only carried one fly box and that box only carried a few wets, no nymphs a couple of dry flies and couple of streamers (Black Ghost, Mickey Finn and Gray Ghost – all size 6). I got by, had a good time and I caught fish.
Now I fish wearing a 31 pocket vest and when people pick it up they remark with wonder that I’m able to carry it all day long. In that vest I carry everything from pike leaders with bite-guards to 12′, 7X leaders, 5 fly boxes, a small first aid kit, thermometer, floatant, split-shot, tippet spools, forceps (two), desiccant power, snacks, matches, strike indicators, sunglasses, two spare spools, UV repair cement, nippers, a fly threader, a net, a Ketchum release tool ………….. well you get the picture …………. probably way more than I need on any one outing. But if it swims in Maine waters I’m ready for it.
This change didn’t happen overnight. First I went to a cheap vest with only a few pockets. Then I started wearing a chest pack. I liked that but the things I wanted to carry filled it up. Simply said it was too small. But in a moment of clarity I told myself I had gone to far and I retreated to my starting point of one fly box. Of course, by that time I had learned that I had to have a decent leader and some tippet to rebuild my leader.
However, I couldn’t hold that position long. Each time I reached for something I didn’t have with me I’d make a mental note to add it to my “necessary” items list and start carrying it on the next trip. Well, I climbed right back up the ladder to end up with 31 pockets and only a couple of them empty. And I’m happy because I seldom reach for something I don’t have. I even found a use for my old chest pack. I use it when I wade the salt. It holds a couple of large fly boxes, leaders, tippet spools a bottle of water, a Boga Grip and keeps it all handy.
With these two rigs and, of course, a gear bag full of “extras” that stays in the truck most of the time I’m pretty happy. But, one always wonders if there isn’t a better way. So I’ve been looking, wondering, thinking about this bag and that pack or how I might go back to one fly box, a couple of tippet spools and a new leader. Oh, how nice that would be. Then reality kicks in and I know I just can’t go back and start over. It just isn’t going to happen.
However, I always did like a chest pack. Of all the gear carrying rigs the chest pack is my favorite except for it’s lack of capacity. Then along comes this rig. It’s a chest pack combined with a fanny pack. You can leave the chest pack on the fanny pack and keep everything behind you out of the way. Or you can detach the chest pack and wear it in the conventional manner putting the “essential” items in easy reach while the “I might need” items reside in the fanny pack. I look at this and say to myself – this might be the answer. I can get everything I need into this rig.
Wait, whoa somebody come slap me and make me stop. I mean is there really anything wrong with my vest? Doesn’t it do the job? Haven’t I been happy with it for years? Yes I like a chest pack but …………………. Oh yeah, I remember when it used to be easy.