I reckon it’s about time there were some serious fishing luggage options available on the market. I was pretty sick of stuffing all my rods, reels and clothing in an inappropriately made case or bag that was guaranteed not to have the right strength zippers or sides.
At the start of this year I came across the Field and Stream range of bags at a tackle store. At first glance the bags looked sensational and there was a huge range of options that included giant, coffin-like travel bags, massive stowaway tackle bags and more moderately sized tackle bags that could hold stowaways, lines, leaders and accessories. I rummaged through the range and found what I had been missing my whole life: a serious angler’s travel bag.
The Rolling Cargo is a massive beast of a thing. It measures 90cm long x 40cm wide x 40cm high and can fit the proverbial kitchen sink in it. On my most recent trip up to Princess Charlotte Bay to fish with Josh Lyons I packed up the bag with all my gear and clothing, and still had room to shove all of my travel companion’s clothes in too. This made it really easy to check in and out of planes, as we only had a bag and a rod tube between us.
Other really great features of this bag are the wheels and extendable handle. If you’ve had to carry heavy bags full of tackle all over an airport, then you’ll appreciate just how thoughtful the placement of the wheels and handle are. No more crooked backs or sore shoulders. Brilliant.
The bag also has three rod tubes built into it. These are on the same side as the handle and were designed for multi-piece flyfishing rods. Not too many of my rods these days are multi-piece, but I did manage to store a whole bunch of new lures, still in their packets, down the tubes. These tubes are zipped closed and the zippers run into a little cloth loop that allows you to lock the tubes up. Just remember that these days in airports, especially on international travel, if the customs people can’t get into a nook or cranny, they’ll literally break it open and have no responsibility for the damage. So I just leave the tubes unlocked so that they can be easily inspected.
The rod tubes themselves, which are made from PVC, can be removed totally, giving you a flat storage area without the bumps on either side created by the tubes. This is great if you find no use for them and want to jam even more gear into the bag.
The Rolling Cargo also comes with a handy wet bag that can be Velcro attached inside the bag. This is essential for anglers who take waders, wading boots or wetsuit booties away fishing with them. Trying to get them dry before going home is almost impossible and having the ability to store them inside the bag while still wet, without that moisture seeping into all your clothes and gear, is a massive bonus. The wet bag can be removed too, if you are not going to be bringing home wet gear. I used the wet bag to store my lovely, smelly used clothes and took the wet bag out and dumped the contents straight into the washing machine when I got home. It meant all my other clothes didn’t stink too much.
There is one thing to be very aware of with this bag too. For all of its good points and storage capabilities, make sure you check the weight you put in the bag. A few carriers will not allow a really heavy bag to go on their planes and will make you break the bag up into two lighter bags, then charge you for more than one bag.
On a recent trip, a friend and I had a combined limit of 40kg and two bags. We had the Field and Stream bag and a rod tube. Together they weighed 37kg with the Field and Stream bag pushing 32kg. A heavy baggage ticket was placed on the bag and the gear went through no worries, but be warned, the check-in counter staff can be nasty if they want.
On the trip to Princess Charlotte I used the Rolling Cargo as a day bag on the boat. It safely held my camera gear, tools and all my tackle, making it a reasonably heavy, but simple unit to drag into and out of the boat. The massive zippered top allows you to have access to every corner of the bag, so even when the pliers sneak their way to the bottom corner, you can find them quickly. Bags with small tops annoy me no end because of this, so that was a big plus for the Field and Stream Rolling Cargo.
The Rolling Cargo retails at around $200 and for me, that’s a small price to pay for a purpose-built bag that will keep all your tackle in the one spot. After being bashed around airports, boats and 4WDs for the last six months, I still can’t find a fault with the workmanship. And if you’re anything like me, having a well-made and strong bag is very important.
There are plenty of options in the Field and Stream range, with four collections available along with a backpack, binders and the Rolling Cargo. There is also going to be a saltwater range of bags coming out before Christmas, so don’t miss the chance to check out the range at your nearest tackle store.
MATT – PIC 1 and 2 need to go togetherReads: 2627