Maxpedition bags & saltwater lure fishing

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As anyone in this lure fishing game will testify the very nature of saltwater means it can be extremely harsh on our gear whether that be rods, reels, lures, waders, wading boots, and let’s be honest pretty much everything it comes into contact with. I’ve had my fair share of failures in all these departments with some of the more costly acquisitions being no more dependable than cheaper similar options on the market. The same cannot be said of the two Maxpedition bags I have been using for my lure fishing… I profess they weren’t cheap but with good reason – these things are pretty much bomb proof and are right up there with the best and most durable pieces of kit I have bought, and importantly, regularly use when I’m fishing. The two I own are both sling/shoulder bags, the Sitka which is now in it’s fourth season and the Jumbo Versipack which is in it’s third season.

Being that bit larger, the Sitka I will tend to use for longer trips or when I feel the need to carry more gear with the smaller Jumbo Versipack being the bag I use when I’m going for shorter sessions or I’m confident I don’t need that extra kit…. increasingly it’s this option I tend to take as it generally means I’m travelling lighter. In truth though, both these bags have been superb for me with the type of fishing I do. To my knowledge neither of these bags, or indeed any others out there from Maxpedition, have been made with a fishing market specifically in mind so it’s even more telling how well I think they work out for lure fishing.

Close up of the Jumbo Versipack…

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I won’t go into detail here with the specifications of both bags other than to say they can be found on the Maxpedition website by clicking here for the Sitka and here for the Jumbo Versipack. However, one thing I will make clear is that they are not, nor do they claim to be, fully waterproof. Splash proof yes, drain holes where required yes, but totally waterproof no. Realistically, unless you are sub-merged in the surf that really isn’t a problem and to be honest I have worn the Versipack in the surf a fair few times now, including last year in Ireland, gave it a rinse off when back to base and there is not one bit of it that is suffering from saltwater damage – zippers included. They’ve been thrown down on the sand and shingle, beaten against rocks and suffered some serious fishing abuse… aside from the odd abrasion mark you could be fooled they’ve only had four weeks of use as opposed to four years. There are no tears at all, the zippers work like they did from new and the stitching is rock solid. Put simply, when I get back from a fishing session they just sit there looking at me saying “is that really as hard as you can hit?”…. trust me, these bags have attitude and really are hard as nails!

So what kit do I carry in each of them?

In the Jumbo Versipack main compartment I can comfortably stow two of the small Snowbee ten-lure boxes and still have room for a few small loose bits in the inside pocket. In the top compartment I’ll usually store sunglasses in their case, and in the front pocket a small box with clips, scissors, super glue plus there’s usually a bit of room for a chocolate bar or such like. I have a spool of leader in the zipped pocket that folds over and buckles down the main compartment, with a spare reel spool and tape measure in the main side pocket. There is a generous bottle holder that fastens down tightly with a nice and secure Velcro fastening. A side pocket houses a fish grip just in case I need it and on the reverse of the bag a bigger zipped pouch pocket that rests against your body can hold additional kit – for me that’s a rag and a bit of first aid kit but it I’m sure it could be put to better use! The only additions/changes I’ve made to it is to add a pouch for my pliers and I’ve made my own zip pulls to keep it tidier.

Typical kit that I take in the Jumbo Versipack (excluding snacks!)…

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Two small Snowbee lure boxes fit comfortably in the Versipack’ s main compartment…

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The Sitka will take all of the above gear plus a further two more of the small Snowbee lure boxes (or two of the bigger Snowbee fourteen-lure boxes as an alternate to the four smaller ones) plus have room for more provisions you might need for a longer trip.  You will see I have added an additional removable pouch (the ‘Janus’) to mine just because I got all excited and thought I might need even more room….. in reality I didn’t and the ‘Tac Tie’ system Maxpedition use means it could be easily removed. In addition to the fishing I find I use this bag in particular for other outdoor activities so of the two this one has a definite multi-purpose string to it’s bow.

Sitka kit this time with four small Snowbee boxes – plenty of room for other kit as well…

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The four lure boxes sit comfortably in the Sitka…

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Access for both bags while fishing is excellent… simply unclip and swing the bag around to the front where zips, clips and buckles can be easily unfastened quickly and safely without fear of dropping anything. The other thing is they are well padded and extremely comfortable for an extended session on the water… other bags I have used have not been anywhere near as agreeable or reliable to carry for long periods. All-in-all, in my opinion, these Maxpedition bags are functionally mighty impressive for lure fishing.

Obviously, there are a whole lot of cheaper bags out there that would equally suit purpose and which could be every bit as reliable… but I can only draw on my experiences to date and I’d say if you’re prepared to pay a little bit extra for a bag that will last and last you really will not regret the investment in a Maxpedition bag…  I certainly have every confidence that both mine will  go on serving me well for many, many years to come.

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Until next time…

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