Although the title is winter break I have actually been fishing a bit recently in the river but haven’t caught anything remarkable, just a few roach and plenty of minnows. The river is closed now so it will be off to the club’s still waters when the weather brightens up a bit. Interestingly enough the club’s Facebook page is showing carp being caught now so I might well get my carp rods out, which brings me neatly to the subject of this week’s blog – luggage.
When I first started fishing again I used an old ex-army knapsack and my Shakespeare tackle box. When I walked down to the canal I put everything on an old sack barrow and was quite comfortable pulling it. When I moved on to my first lake the swims were near to the car park and I managed to get my gear to the bank without too much trouble. Then I saw people catching carp and thought that I would have a go by having a carp rod out and float fishing at the same time. This worked well until I went to a new lake where all the swims near the car park were taken and I had to walk a hundred yards to a vacant swim, twice as I couldn’t carry everything at once. I wasn’t happy with having to do this both as a waste of time and effort and because it meant leaving some of my gear unattended on the bank. I was also visiting other club lakes to look round and several of them had long walks from the car park so if I was going to fish them I needed to be able to carry my gear.
At this time I still wasn’t sure if I was going to keep up with fishing and so didn’t want to spend too much money. I briefly considered a carp barrow and dismissed the idea. I looked at rucksacks from angling suppliers and they were not cheap and often not in stock. In the end I bought a NGT bag from eBay for £27.50. It was enormous so I could get everything in it and it seemed extremely well made and I was very happy with it until I started to use it. The problem was that I needed three hands, one for my rods, one for my chair and one for my bag. I thought I could get over this by using the shoulder strap and still have two hands free but it didn’t quite work out like that. The first problem was in lifting the bag up, it was really heavy! The next issue was that with the bag over my shoulder it was rather uncomfortable, swinging about and digging into my side, this was bearable for a few minutes but not on a longer walk but I soldiered on with it until my winter break when I had time to think about it.
I looked on YouTube, blogs and forums for ideas and found some good advice. The most important one being that you don’t have to take all your stuff with you each time you go fishing! Simple, I know but if you just take what you need then there is less to carry. This then led on to thinking that if you had less to carry you could have a smaller bag or rucksack. I practised this during my winter trips to the river by taking my rods already made up and an ordinary backpack and found that I really did have all that I needed. Soon I made up my mind, I needed a rucksack, not too small so that I could get everything in it, not too big so that I could lift it up and carry it! I searched the Internet and ended up buying another NGT product as I was impressed with the quality of their bag and it arrived yesterday, £34.50 including postage and at first sight it looks ideal. Of course as soon as it arrived I had to have a play with it, some things fitted in the pockets where I wanted them to go while other things didn’t. A bit of rearrangement and I think that I have a place for everything. Once again I am happy but only time will tell if I have made the right choice this time for my angling journey. Anyone want to buy a large holdall!