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December 20, 2017
A COMPACT YET COMPLETE ANGLER'S TRAVEL CASE FOR SPIN, BAIT & FLY-FISHING
by Bob BanfelderWhether you are specifically heading off to warmer climates for a bit of fishing this winter or simply traveling willy-nilly any time of year with no particular plans or destination in mind, it's always nice to have along your own fishing equipment. How many times have you driven by an inviting body of water and thought, "Ah, I wish I had brought along my fishing gear"? Donna and I had been in that situation on more than one occasion before I did something about it. What's nice is that I set up a compact yet complete travel case to accommodate all three angling applications: spin casting, bait casting, and fly casting—and with dedicated rods, respectively. Not one of those all-in-one combination rod/reel outfits that supposedly does it all.
There are, of course, a few hard and soft quality travel cases out there. However, I found the L.L. Bean Kennebec Angler's Travel Case to be one of the best for all-around convenience, holding a good assortment of lures, inshore and offshore rigs, a plethora of flies, et cetera. Regarding compactness, I'd like you to home in on the exterior dimensions of this well-made travel case. Standing upright, the case measures 33½" long x 4" wide x 8" high and will fit into most overhead compartments or under-seat space found aboard planes, trains, busses, boats, and certainly vehicles.
L.L. Bean Kennebec Angler's Travel Case
Just as important are the travel case's interior dimensions. The interior is 32" long x 3½" deep x 7¼" wide. One entire length is set apart for a given number of rod- sections; for example, spin, bait, and a fly-casting wands; the other length is comprised of six adjustable padded dividers, which form seven compartments for reels, extra spools, tackle, et cetera, inclusive of a zippered thick-padded pouch.
Lid interior: 4 zippered clear plastic compartments ~ tapered leaders; 2 zippered mesh compartments ~ pre-rigged packaging for fluke, porgies, etc.
Upper section: spinning reel; foam spacing divider and fly box, lure box (beneath fly box); zippered thick-padded protective pouch for small camera, phone, valuables, etc.; fly reel and tippet material; extra spools filled with weight-forward floating lines, intermediate, and sinking lines; bait casting reel.
Lower section: spinning rod, bait casting rod, fly rod.
Let's examine closely what I included in my L.L. Bean Kennebec Angler's Travel Case. So as to avoid blatant advertising, we'll look at a number of quality rods, reels, and gear from well-known manufacturers, which lend themselves well in putting together this angling arsenal. Selecting the correct number of rod sections is the key to organization because you do not want them jiggling around within the case. You want the rods to fit compactly within that designated compartment with very little wiggle room. Small blocks of custom-cut Styrofoam work well to lock items firmly in place. Also, plastic twist-ties neatly hold rod sections together.
I selected a Temple Fork Outfitters Signature Series TRS 704 3 piece, 7-foot spinning rod, each section measuring 28". That gives me 2" of wiggle room at each end of the case before inserting Styrofoam. I paired the rod with a Shimano Stella 3000FD spinning reel, spooled with Ande monofilament line. My go-to lure is a Kastmaster on which I epoxy eyes. Eyes affixed to lures pretty much serve as a bull's-eye for predator fish of many species that swim in our waters.
Foreground: 3-piece spinning reel/rod & go-to lure.
Next, I selected a Daiwa Ardito-TR 3 piece 7-foot bait casting rod, each section measuring 29¼", which gives me slightly less than 1½" of wiggle room at each end of the case. Perfect. I coupled the rod to a KastKing Spartacus bait casting reel, spooled with PowerPro braided line. My go-to lure is Steve Sekora's Glow Squid rig, upon which I affix eyes via epoxy. A fresh squid strip/mummichog (killie)/Glow Squid combination is the magic that will attract keeper-size fluke.
Foreground: 3-piece bait casting rod/reel, go-to fluke rig with sinker.
Lastly, I selected a Sage Xi 2 4-piece 9-foot fly rod, each section measuring 28½". That gives me 1¾" of wiggle room on each end. Great. I joined the rod to an Orvis Battenkill Mark III fly reel, which I've had for ages. I carry extra spools filled with Orvis, Teeny, and RIO fly lines; for example, weight-forward floating line, intermediate, and sinking line. When it comes to selecting leaders and tippet material, RIO fluorocarbon tapered leaders and tippets are hard to beat. My go-to fly is the Gimp, an often overlooked fly that absolutely belongs in every fly angler's arsenal. Also, a minnow imitation that I designed a decade ago—boldly named Bob B's Big Black & White Bull's-Eye Fly—is deadly. Both these fly recipes, along with the other lures mentioned above for spinning and bait casting, are covered in detail in my fishing book titled The Fishing Smart Anywhere Handbook ~ For Salt & Fresh Water, available on Amazon. The book is endorsed by Lefty Kreh [international master, fly fisherman], and Angelo Peluso [nationally recognized angler].
Foreground: 4-piece fly rod/reel, go-to flies atop cork handle (see close-ups below).
Close-up: The Gimp
Close-up: Bob B's Big Black & White Bull's-Eye Fly
Of course, you can put together your own combination spin, bait, fly rod and respective reels, along with necessary gear and materials. Again, the important point to bear in mind is selecting a 3-piece rod for a 7 footer regarding both spin and bait casting rods, and a 4-piece rod for a 9-foot fly rod as all will fit compactly into the L.L. Bean Kennebec Angler's Travel Case with the aforementioned foam dividers. The case is handsomely crafted in a dark olive/briar color with orange accents.
The travel case may be carried in a number of ways as it has an attractive, durable cork-like suitcase/luggage-style handle, a wide non-slip padded adjustable shoulder strap that also allows the case to be carried horizontally, or it may be carried vertically via an end strap. The shoulder strap features a pair of clips for attaching small items as does the exterior face of the travel case, which also boasts a dual-zippered compartment running its length. Perfect for area maps or other papers. All exterior clips and zippers are reinforced with easy-to-grab taps. All corners, too, are reinforced with a non-slip material as well as "Box X"-type stitching at strap locations, a pattern that provides a high level of strength and stability. This is one well-constructed travel case.
Shown below in the foreground are the opened boxes (lures and flies), along with items that fit neatly within the zippered padded pouch. Remember, those upper compartments are comprised of six padded dividers forming seven adjustable compartments (inclusive of the zippered thick-padded protective pouch) for a totally custom fit.
Travel safely and confidently in that you have a place for everything and everything in its place. Happy Holidays, folks.
Foreground~ left to right: custom-cut foam block spacer; fly box; tackle box (which sits below fly box); cell phone ~ tri-fold wallet for fishing license, shelfish permit, boat registration ~ tri-fold wallet for drying wet flies (all items fit neatly into zippered padded pouch.
Award-Winning Crime Thriller Novelist & Outdoors Writer
Member: Outdoor Writers Association of America
New York State Outdoor Writers Association
Long Island Outdoor Communicators Network
Recent recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from Who's Who in America
Several of My Crime Fiction Novels Incorporate The Great Outdoors
Top to Bottom:
The Richard Geist Trilogy
Dicky, Richard, and I
The Justin Barnes Four-Book Series
The Good Samaritans
The Fishing Smart Anywhere Handbook for Salt Water & Fresh Water
The North American Hunting Smart Handbook: Bonus Feature: Hunting Africa's & Australia's Most Dangerous Game
The Essential Guide to Writing Well and Getting Published