Throughout the decades, destination travel fishing has evolved into a very specialized field of the industry. Thank goodness the luggage has evolved at almost the same rate of development. I remember when the most advanced durable piece of luggage was a Samsonite suitcase that a gorilla couldn’t destroy. Trouble with it was that you couldn’t put fly rods in it, or much of anything else for that matter. Luggage was built and designed for business men to travel and do business, not fish or hunt.
Some of the earlier luggage designed specifically for destination travel fishing was exceptionally good, well thought out and durable. Perfect right? Seemed like it was, right up until the airlines implemented new baggage weight limits, size limits and increased baggage fees. Then my old canvas and leather luggage that a T-Rex couldn’t shred became, well, a dinosaur. There is no measure of durability and technical engineering that can overcome just how damned heavy the stuff is. Suddenly, my two checked bags became three in order to comply with the weight limits. Along with that, the amount of baggage fees I was paying became something not dissimilar to my last bill at the Brazilian steak house. It was expensive, to say the least.
One would think that in these modern times of smart phones, smart tv’s, smart cars, etc, someone would make some smart luggage designed for destination travel fishing. Luggage that was durable but didn’t weigh half of the checked bag weight. Jimenny Christmas, how hard could it be? My smart phone will control my grill temperature while I am at the grocery store but my fly fishing luggage weighs 50lbs. The end times must surely be upon us for this illogical lunacy to be accepted by the fly fishing masses descending upon airports everyday. Why didn’t we have a solution? It’s a simple problem with a presumably simple solution; make fishing luggage that is lighter yet still durable.
Turns out, Fishpond was listening. Unbeknownst to me, the plight of destination fly anglers everywhere was being resolved one piece of luggage at a time. The new gear was technically engineered for destination travel fishing, significantly lighter than everything preceding it, and yet seemed like it would be somewhat durable. It was in fact, very durable. Surprisingly durable. My first set of Fishpond luggage saw almost 50,000 miles of travel before the first failure occurred. No, I did not return it for “warranty work”. I figured I got my money out of it and Fishpond didn’t owe me anything. Everything has a shelf life.
Currently, I have three main pieces of Fishpond luggage that I use in combination depending on my final destination. I use the Grand Teton Rolling Luggage bag (click here), the Thunderhead Large Submersible Duffel bag (click here) and the Jackalope Rod Tube Case (click here). At one point, Fishpond made a 45” Jackalope Rod Tube for Spey Rods. I use that tube when I am carrying two-hand rods. The above-mentioned gear has over 50,000 travel miles on it with no failures at all. This includes three trips driving the Carretera Austral from start to finish in Patagonia Chile. It’s not really a highway, more of a wishlist for being a road.
The wheels on the new Grand Teton Rolling Luggage bag are significantly upgraded from the originals and most of the time, I can travel with just that one piece of gear and the 45” rod tube if I am using Spey rods. If I am only single hand fishing, the Grand Teton works great by itself with the built in rod straps in the bottom of the divided compartment. The Thunderhead Submersible duffel is really submersible without sinking. I tried it. The bag floats like a cork as long as you use the zipper lube to maintain the zipper. That part is critical. Make sure you bring the tube with you when you travel. I use the Thunderhead Duffel when I travel to the Bahamas, Belize or anywhere that I may wind up traveling by boat or float plane to reach my destination. When I am fishing only single hand rods and need more than a couple, I use the 30” Jackalope
Rod Tube in combination with the Thunderhead duffel. It easily holds six 9’ 4 piece saltwater rods if you alternate the grip ends when you load the tube.
May your destination travel fishing plights be resolved and your baggage fees be minimal. Thanks for reading.
Head Guide Rapids Camp Lodge
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