January at Stillwater Fly Shop is the month of dreaming about huge Tarpon in Florida and giant Rainbows in Alaska while it dumps snow outside our world headquarters. Everyone has their dream spot to go cast a line, often times drifting off to sleep with visions of sandy saltwater flats or dry flies drifting through a riffle lulling them to slumber. These are great fly fishing fantasies but reality often plays the spoiler when it actually comes to getting you and your gear to your destination. That is why having the right luggage or fishing bag becomes paramount in your pursuit of a Grand Slam.
Simms Bounty Hunter 100 Roller
It is easy to overload this bag and I recommend doing so because the 600D PU coated fabric and zippers are built to be tested! There is so much room in the Bounty Hunter 100 that if it had four wheels instead of two you would compare it to a circus clown car.
It is easy to live and fish out of this bag for a week or more. The zip-away divider gives you plenty of room for your waders and boots or flats booties, as well as room for your cocktail hour shirt. The two things that I like best are the dual fly rod tube carriers that hide your rods from sticky-fingered baggage handlers and the waterproof bag to put wet clothes or waders in. The large wheels make this tough bag easy to pull through airports or over gravel parking lots. No angler would regret having the Simms Bounty Hunter 100 Roller nor would any traveler on vacation or business.
Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled Duffel 120L
The name of this bag says it all. You could fit my high school graduating class in this bag. It is ruggedly constructed and somewhat waterproof. Bigger is always better. There is so much room in the Black Hole that without the mesh pockets this Patagonia duffel would be almost unmanageable. The roomy interior is easily accessed by the zippered top. The oversized rollers allow you to over-pack this behemoth traveling partner with reels, waders or rain gear.
My only downside to this great Patagonia bag is the external corner lashes for your fly rods or camera tripods. Most airlines don’t allow for gear strapped to the outside of a bag anymore and most fly fishermen wouldn’t want to leave their prized rods in an open environment. Fortunately; four piece rods under nine feet will fit inside the Black Hole Duffel making this a great piece of luggage to take around the world.
Fishpond Westwater Large Rolling Duffel
This bag is as water-resistant as they come without being totally waterproof. I recommend this bag for angler’s travelling Chile or Southeast Alaska. My favorite feature of this bag are the huge 2 inch wide compression straps that you can give yourself a hernia pulling on without tearing loose. I also liked the roomy zippered interior pocket that is almost 30 inches long. I have used it for fly boxes and other fishing accessories.
It isn’t quite long enough to get rod tubes in but it does have exterior lashing points which aren’t great for air travel. The kicker for this bag is that is good enough in a pinch to use as an almost-dry bag if you need to travel by drift boat or raft (this is NOT recommended use, but I have seen it done). The wheels are tough and recessed more than the previous bags which makes it stow easily. I find the Westwater Large Rolling Duffel a great combination of weather resistance and roomy storage.