February 24, 2017

My Chest Pack - part I

I recently received a question regarding my chest pack, the type and what I carry in it. The stream conditions still prohibit me from fishing, so I thought it would be a good time to look at some of my gear, including my chest packs.

I've used chest packs since about 1996. I've used vests in the remote past but I prefer to carry relatively little, even when western fly fishing. I've tried just carrying a small box of flies, lines, etc, in a shirt pocket, but I still prefer chest packs.

For the past many years (since 2012) I have preferred a Zimmerbuilt Chest Pack. It is small enough to be easy to carry, yet just large enough not to be difficult to insert and remove items. I've modified the neck strap to include some foam -- this keeps the neck strap from rotating. But that's about it; I really like this simple but effective chest pack.

So let me show you what I carry in my pack. It's not much.

In the main compartment I carry my fly box (one small C&F Designs fly case), one clip-on a line tender, and my lines. My lines are on spool cards, either my own design or purchased. The spool cards let me carry multiple lines in a small space. My lines are #3 fluorocarbon, with the exception of one which is #4 fluorocarbon. They are in lengths to match the lengths of the rods I usually carry.

In the front pouch I carry a stream thermometer, an EZ-LAP sharpener, and two spools of tippet, TroutHunter fluorocarbon. I use the thermometer to record temperature data, not to determine whether I should fish or not. I've used the EZ-LAP only a few times, to touch up the point of a fly after snagging a rock.

In the front zippered pocket I carry some TenkaraBum Tip Grips, an Umpqua Wonder Cloth, a Smith Creek Trash Fish, a spool card with a titanium wind line and a spool card with a couple feet of #3 fluorocarbon line. The Tip Grips have saved my rods a few times. The Wonder Cloth is what I use to dry a floating fly off. The Trash Fish is the most compact and effect way to carry spent tippet and line. The titanium line is there in case the wind is too much for my usual lines, but I've rarely used it. The extra #3 line is so I can modify my lines on stream, if I need to.

On the outside right of the pack is a Ty-Rite on a zinger and a Dr. Slick Mitt Clamp. The Ty-Rite is my preferred way of holding a fly for a clinch knot. I rarely use the Dr. Slick clamp, but when a fly is deeper than desired it can be a life saver, literally, for the fish.

On the outside left is a line nipper on a zinger and an Inova Microlight STS keychain flashlight. The nipper -- well, you know what that's for. The Inova light is for just in case.

Finally, on occasion, I wear a Pit River fish counter. Why? Just to keep me honest.

That's one of my chest packs. I've got another one that I use as well. I'll show you that one next time.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tom, thanks for sharing how you carry your gear. I've looked at the Zimmerbuilt and Fishpond San Juan Chest Packs. I've tried a chest pack before and never could get use to having something protruding from my chest when walking. Maybe these two carry a bit flatter than what I've had. In fact, over the years, I've tried chest, fanny and sling packs and always come back to a vest.