Review:Safe Passage Complete Chest Pack

Like clothes and French fries fishing trips often come in three sizes- small medium and large. I always think the amount of stuff you carry often directly relates to the amount of time you spend on the water. For small trips where not much tackle is needed , for example, a tiny burn being minimalist is the way to go. For medium trips, anything up to a few hours, you can get by with a waistcoat, a bottle of water can be stuck in the back pouch although it can be mighty uncomfortable. I have been pondering large/long sessions for a while and have never really found a solution that might suffice. On longer sessions you must carry a larger bottle of water, lunch and a greater assortment of tackle so that you are not taken unawares in a situation. Heaven forbid I leave my monocular, walky talky or camera behind on a serious days fishing, heck I would say that’s what makes a days fishing. Anyway, with all these thoughts Orvis were kind enough to send me a Safe Passage Complete Chest Pack

The blurb from Orvis is thus:

Carry all you need for both day trips and back-country fishing. A roomy main compartment houses numerous fly boxes, accessories, and tools. Backpack carries your lunch, rain coat, or extra layering. Two integrated coil zingers. Hand-warmer pockets with tool storage. Forceps pocket and two mesh tippet pockets. In forest.
Front compartment: 11″ x 9″.
Back compartment: 14″ x 12″

Yup, that all makes perfect sense and sounds like the solution for a longer session. But the proof as they say is when someone other than the seller is trying to punt you it..read on, read on…

Initial Impressions

I am not going to lie to you, this bag got extra marks just because it came with a little card from Orvis that stated “proudly packaged by” and then a squiggle where the name should be. Classy I thought!

The bag feels light in my hand and is a nice green color, the color of these types of bags is important as this year my fishing buddies and I have named “The Year of Stealth” When it comes to stealth green is good ! The only thing I dont like is the funny handle on the top of the bag as I am not aiming to carry it anywhere as it is an….er….back and chest pack. There are straps to to tighten it up- they are maybe a little long – but easilly fixed with a pair of snips – obviously it is designed for even bigger chests than mine. Overall though, this bag feels nice in the hand and not bulky. I was looking forward to examining its insides.

The Back Bit

There is this nice little clip where you could store a stuffed jumper or rain jacket if you did not want to put it in the main back compartment.

There is little side pockets that can be used for keeping small items that you won’t be using all the time. On my first trip I kept my monocular. I would suggest not keeping anything you would be using regularly like a camera (I wish) as you have got to be a bit of a contortionist to actually get anything out.

The main compartment of the back pack has two little pockets for storing things. One of the spaces is partitioned by a separate sheet of material and one is netted off with a zip. There is a little clip for your keys, I like things like that as I am always paranoid I will drop something and have to spend the day going back on my footsteps. It holds a bottle of water or a small flask with ease. I filled it up with miscellaneous junk and when I put it on I did not feel anything jagging into my back, so a big plus point in the comfort factor.

The Front Bit

The chest pack is split into two main compartments – the front pouch does not have a lot of space but I reckon you could squeeze a fly box in there as well as some of the bits and bobs we all like to carry.

The main pouch is a lot bigger and would hold just about anything you could stick in there for a serious session. I managed to cram in a large fly box, a walky talky, a camera and some other bits and pieces like floatant and sinking putty.. I don’t like carrying too much and I especially don’t like having too much at my chest as it may feel bulky. I think I was adequately covered for just about any situation without going overboard.

The pack sat high on my chest and quite tight in, I liked that as my other William Joseph Chest pack tended to hang forward and just plain annoy me – being tight in also means it does not interfere with casting.

I have worn it twice and like it a lot- as usuall I will update you again after further serious fishing.

Good Points

  • Plenty of space for lunch and sweater in back pouch.
  • Ample pockets without going overboard.
  • Chest pack is held tight into the body.
  • Ample straps for those of us with a bigger…er…chest.
  • Standard features like forcep holder and tippet dispenser.
  • Hand Warmer pockets are the bees knees

Bad Points

  • The clip to fasten the pack together is on the back pack rather than the front. This I think is a design flaw, it means you have got to reach back behind yourself to get in fastened. Very annoying and very hard.
  • There are two magnetic holders over two mesh tippet pockets on the front pouch. When it does actually stor etippet the magnets dont appear to work. Still, this is just after a couple of sessions so I may be able to work it out eventually.

In summary, this is a nice bit of kit that serves its purpose well, I am going to enjoy putting it through its paces and reporting back.

The Dead Sheep

When we were out fishing the other day Steven stumbled upon a dead sheep. Well, when I say stumbled I mean he was fishing away happily and noticed a funny smell – a rotting sheep was amongst some reeds on the bank. We all had a good look at it through our trusty monocular (boy are we glad they came in useful) and pondered the sheep’s fate and the possible mishaps that led it to be a woolly carcass at the side of the river. Probably washed down during a spate and may well get moved further on the next time there is a lot of rain.

We all got to talking about the horrors that could occur if you did not notice the sheep and what could happen as the season progresses.

Horror One

You walk along, fail to see dead sheep, stumble and fall face first into the carcass.

Horror Two

You walk along, fail to see the wooly mass, stumble and raise hands which sink into the dead sheep’s carcass.

Horror Three

Dead sheep is washed down the river only to take up residency at the top of a very nice pool – trout then get fixated on eating maggots – you have no accurate bluebottle imitations.

Horror Four

Noticing a large amount of fly life and trout taking flies around dead sheep you cast towards it thus hooking it – on trying to dislodge your fly the dead sheep starts drifting down the current towards you.

Horror Five

You have no yarn to make an indicator and the only available wool is on the……..dead sheep.

I will give accurate  reports on the dead sheep’s progress as the season progresses – If it is still there.

[tags]dead sheep [/tags]

April 1st gag on FlyFish Magazine ?

Hang on a moment – I was re-reading my favourite blogs and came across this post on the most excellent FlyFish Magazine  Classic !

I notice that no other bloggers in my little genre decided to try and pull the wool over anyones eyes, I did not even blog but waited until the next day to post a report. I checked out Opax who gave us all a non progress report for his new fly rod project - was that a joke ? what the heck I enjoyed it anyway !

There was no such tomfoolery over at Trout Underground for April 1st – it was hard facts

 I’m dragging together the usual outsized pile of gear for a today’s trip, so my report on Saturday’s outing will be brief.

 …with a lovely picture of a March Brown Comparadun. Did you tie that up Tom ? psst you know we could arrange a little bloggers fly swap !

He ends with:

I could write a lot more, but I’d rather go fishing instead. Hope you understand.

We do Tom, we do !

April 1st – Spring Trip

What a strange day we had fishing yesterday. We decided to hit our other favourite river for a full day session.

We arrived on the water at around 0900 and it was cold- the sun was out and it was a clear blue sky (always a bad sign) but there was a cold wind. It was so cold in fact that I had to go and put my jacket on over my fleece.

 

Suffice to say, a couple of grayling played with my dry fly and I felt one “whum whum whum” on a nymph under an indicator before it was off. There were large amounts of stoneflies on the water which I thought looked mighty tasty and the odd Large Dark Olive drifted past unmolested by any trout – “what the hell” we thought ” If I was a trout I would gobble them up. Alex found a stick covered in nymphs and snails.

At least it looks like spring has in fact sprung, by 12 there was horseflies on the field and some butterflies dancing around the banks – it really was rather nice.

Mike showed up at around 12 with his brother Steven (mini Mike) – Mike proceeded to show us some rather acrobatic trick casts which I tried to take a video of but came out rubbish. We wandered back to the car and up the road with thoughts around from here on in it only gets better. Possible the next time I will be fishing will be next Monday- I am going off to sunny Birmingham for the weekend with some possible walks planned.

Marriage Counseling

A husband and wife go to a counselor after 15 years of marriage. The counselor asks them what the problem is and the wife goes into a tirade listing every problem they have ever had in the 15 years they’ve been married. She goes on and on and on. Finally, the counselor gets up, goes around the desk, embraces the woman and kisses her passionately. The woman shuts up and sits quietly in a daze. The counselor turns to the husband and says “That is what your wife needs at least three times a week. Can you do that?” The husband thinks for a moment and replies, “Well, I can get her here Monday and Wednesday, but on Friday, I fly fish for trout.”

That Friday Feeling

Another night at my fly tying class last night, very interesting.

On the way back home I got to discussing with Alex another river that we fish and just how special it actually is. The river is split with reeds and islands and weed beds making the currents form hundreds of small pools, riffles and runs. It is essentially like fishing hundreds of small streams all at once. Very tricking fly fishing. Very technical as you are constantly thinking about drag and the trout are especially spooky (Alberto loves it and disapproves strongly of me even posting a picture – it is a very fragile environment). The wading is the stuff of nightmares big boulders, small boulders, sudden drop offs and occasional sandy drop offs. Last season I had a bad time as I was using rubber boots which meant I slipped all over the place but this year I have my new boots from Orvis with felt soles so should be ok.

We got to reminisce about a session we had at the tail end of the season when basically everything seemed to go just right – every time we looked up we seen another rising trout and it did not matter one jot whether we landed another trout as we had so many anyway.

I stood below a little crease in the water – it was maybe a yard wide and a couple of yards long where I caught around 4-5 trout each one as plump as the one I had before. I stood there for around half an hour thinking that there must be a limitless amount of trout coming from this little riffle. I was loathe to move on because as soon as I thought the crease was fished out another trout would come to me.

We got to thinking and talking about the amount you learn about trout behaviour and what you know you have to do and simply don’t put into practice. This year Mike and I have pretty much decided should be the Year of Stealth and with this I got to thinking about the way we approach this river. For a start we approach it over a hill and are in full view of around 200 yards of river. Are the trout spooked by this? There are cows wandering around the field so do the trout think we are just a funny cow (something I assume they are used to seeing) Should we be getting on our hands an knees and crawling the last hundred yards to the river or is simply walking quietly without making any sudden movements enough?

Sunday is our first trip of the season to this little section of river and I just think we might put some of these thoughts into action. The weather looks good and is looking to be April temperatures – well – the average April temp is around 11oc and Sunday is to be 12-13 so the heat should be enough to get some Large Dark Olives on the water and maybe some trout rising. I don’t want to hex the start of the season but it does kind of look like we are having a nice Spring which boads well for part two of what may become an annual “Big River Bonanza” at the end of April.

Thank monkeys it is Friday – I have had a hellish week at work – I swear the only thing that keeps me going sometimes is knowing that somewhere a few miles from where I am there is a rising trout.

The Complete Fisher

I see The Complete Fisher has had a new front end making it into a hub rather than simply a forum.

Looks nice :-)

The Clyde – two weeks early

A short report.

Hit the Upper Clyde yesterday with a pal. It was bright sunshine with a chill in the air. There was a few Large Dark Olives coming off the water but did not see any trout rising at all.

As you can see, Allan is about as stealthy as Emanuelle when it comes to river fishing :-)

On speaking to the bailiff we were told that we were about two weeks early for “proper” fly fishing. He had a creel with a couple of fat trout he had caught using Gadgers ie large stonefly nymphs. He had also caught a few Grayling up to around the 2lb mark which left us looking a bit inadequate.

I also tried out my new chest pack – supplied by those kind people over at Orvis.

I am putting together a review over the next week or so. I have spent the last couple of weeks getting to know all its wee secrets  which i will share with you when I have thoroughly put it through its paces.

Websites related to the Clyde

I always like finding fly fishing sites to do with the rivers off the River Clyde. When I started Urban Fly Fishing on the Kelvin all those years ago i was very lonely all by myself- now a quick run through gives us this little list..

Urban Fly Fishing on the Kelvin – sister site to this blog

Pale Watery – A place dedicated to Fly Fishing on Rivers for Brwon Trout and Grayling – a lovely site from a man that fishes the Clyde

Fishing The Leven - If you suspect the Trout and Salmon magazine reports may be misleading you then you can be sure Robbie tells it as it is !

Walton Angling Club – Covers a section of the White Cart

River Clyde Fisheries Management Trust Ltd – Its objective is to maintain, protect, improve and develop the River Clyde and its tributaries upstream of the Erskine Bridge as a fishery for the good of the public.I wish they would turn off that music !

Loch Lomond Angling Inprovement Assocciation - The Big Daddy on the West of Scotland – covers Loch Lomond, River leven, River Endrick, River Fruin. The motto I believe is “Buy Ticket or Die” Only kidding – I am just pointing out they do actually have a very vigilant bailiff force – a proper one, with warrant cards and everything – not like the Kelvin which does not have any actual bailiffs just wardens who have no powers at all.

The Avon Angling Club – A new site for the River Avon. I fished their last year with a pal, very nice.

You guys know any more ?

Original Genuine Chadwicks 477

 There is some original genuine chadwicks 477 wool on ebay. This is the wool that is used to make Sawyer’s Killer Bug which is a simple maggot-like pattern, yet seemingly for those that can get a hold of this wool it lives up to its name “Killer Bug” every season.

Sawyer said, “The successful attraction of this pattern is due to the fact that the particular ‘darning wool’ used, completely changes colour when wet.”

You can see a representation over at Danica

Why dont you bid on it, tye some up and send me some- check out this listing on  Ebay

[tags]killer bug,Sawyer,Genuine Chadwicks 477 [/tags]

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