08-23-2012, 07:06 PM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Harrisonburg Virginee
Re: Noob question?
Yes you will get a lot of input on this one—here's my two cents, well maybe four cents:
waist pack - I use fishpond and Orvis. I settled on the waterdance model—it's big. Had arroyo model (too small). I now use a sling pack (Orvis) mostly. Got tired of all that gear around the waist, and it all got wet when I waded too deep. The Orvis sling pack (not the big one they have out now) is a perfect size. It's my go-to for most trips.
Somethings to consider in waist/sling pack:
(1) One thing I don't like about some packs is that they have TOO many pockets/zippers/loops/straps that end up snagging a leader/tippet/or line. Of late the design of orvis bags (safe passage line) has been pretty minimal on the exterior. I used to think that looked too simple, but then again, having too much gear on the outside can get messy when you're tying on tippet or stripping line in.
(2) I like when I can attach a velcro backed foam fly patch to the outside. Nothing huge, just big enough to put a few flies to dry out. Orvis sling pack had this...fishpond did not.
(3) Strong zippers with pull ties. Makes opening with gloves easy. Orvis sling pack has colored them orange...helps in low light. Fishpond had ties but they are colored the same or close the the color of the bag making them hard to see for these aging eyes.
(4) Water bottle holder...Orvis sling did not have it, but I put a slim profile rollup water bottle inside. If I need a full size water bottle...I'd be going on a bigger trip and I'd switch to the larger fishpond waterdance pack.
(5) Versatility...the sling pack is just and only that. The waterdance is large enough to warrant a removable neck strap to convert it from waist to chest pack. But, if you don't want to carry the kitchen sink, just use it as a waist pack.
(6) Lots of small pockets on the inside is helpful for those little things.
(7) I'm iffy on the cost of waterproof packs. I figure whatever you don't want to get wet should already be waterproofed. A zip lock back is cheap and works well too.
Like others have said a pack is a personal choice. Be prepared to go through a few models/designs. As for brands, the premium brands put a lot of thought into design and materials. You'll put more into it than them and will go through more material finding the right one (or two or three) brands/models. The good thing is it will only take 2-3 trips for you to realize the pack is lacking something.
gel floatant - I use only gunk. A little goes a long way. It can be messy tho.
forceps - Orvis. I carry two pairs. Micro pair with serrated edge line cutter. Long pair with hook eye cleaner. I keep the small one near my flies/tippet so it's there when I sling the pack around to change/freshen the setup. I keep the long pair on the pack strap so it's in front for quick access when releasing fish. I'm sure Dr. Slick are just as good...I use that brand of tools for fly tying. Definitely want stainless steel. I've heard the best metal/pairs come from India. I've seen a lot of flat black models on the market. I would have a hard time finding them if mine were black. If I had to go with one pair, I'd go with the larger one that has the ability to cut line just in case I lost my nippers and a hook eye cleaner.
line clippers - I've had fishpond....these were designed very well. Lightweight aluminum and had hook eye cleaner. Except they did not have replaceable blades. Gave it to my brother. I now use an Abel nipper...which has replaceable blades. I feel it's way overpriced and if I lost it, I'd get another fishpond.
Definitely shop around online and checkout youtube for reviews. Some reviews are horrible but they at least offer a different view (pun intended) than the manufacturer's sales pitch.
I think of all the things you need don't skimp on the waist/sling pack. Heck nose grease has worked to help float a leader. And I still see a lot of guys using regular finger nail clippers on the water to cut line.
Good luck to you!
Last edited by shotgunfly; 08-23-2012 at 07:08 PM.
Reason: I can't spell and well the first version was too long! ;-)