I am probably a bit different to most of you in that I never, ever go out fishing without a certain amount of fairly heavy camera gear, so I am always bound to some kind of rucksack until the day that being a fishing journalist pays so much dosh that I can hire some lucky/unfortunate (delete as appropriate) assistant to carry my heavy gear around while I deftly bounce from rock to rock like a graceful elf. Or perhaps not. But that aside I am always on the lookout for more efficient ways in which I might carry my lures around with me when I am out fishing - I don't just mean flinging a few lure boxes in my rucksack and traipsing around the rocks though. I am on about how I might better carry and get easy access to my lures and various bits and pieces (leader, clips, scissors etc.) when I am actually fishing. For the most part I will have put my rucksack with camera gear in it down somewhere, so if I am wading or scrambling out across the rocks for example it could end up being a fair distance from me. So how do I go about not then wading or scrambling (falling over) back to my main bag every time I want to change a lure or switch from hard lures to soft plastics etc. ?
I think these purpose designed lure fishing vests are excellent, and some anglers like wearing them all the time for their fishing. I do use the IMA one from time to time on a few specific marks where we are in the water a long way from dry land and I almost have to be a self-contained unit as regards both fishing and camera gear, but personally I don't really like wearing a lure vest for long periods. It's just not me, but of course it could well be you, because they are highly efficient and very logical "gadgets" in which you can both carry and get easy access to your fishing gear on the go. Those sling-bags might also work for some of you, but for me I can't use them because of my rucksack needs. I have tried them though and to be honest I didn't really get on with them at all. Plenty of times I have stuffed a lure box down the front of my waders, but it's hardly a long-term solution.
A few friends of mine for a while now have been very successfully using those Shimano lure boxes that sit at your side almost like a bum-bag type arrangement (check here). Like a lure vest they make sense to me and you can move these things around your waist so you can pick a lure out and then move the contraption to the side where it's out of your way while you are fishing. Your hard lures sit in plastic tube type compartments as you can see in the photo above and it's very easy to chop and change lures on the go. I have been tempted to buy one in the past and no doubt I will at some point, but as well as they seem to work, I would like a few more options for carrying a range of soft plastics with me as well, and I mean beyond simply stuffing plastics in the hard lure tubes. Perhaps the bigger Shimano model might be worth looking at (see here) ?
Recently I was "researching" some fishing gear online and came across this bum-bag type lure bag from the French company HPA. It's actually referred to as a chest-pack but it works just fine around the waist (check here). It looked pretty handy so I took a punt and bought it here for what I feel is a good price for what it is. I have never used an HPA product before and I have not come across anybody else using one of these lure bags, but I have been bashing my head trying to find a better way for me personally to both carry and get access to my lures - and I reckoned this HPA bag might be worth a look.............
For some reason I have stayed away from anything like a bum-bag, but now that I've been using this HPA one for a while now I am really liking how it can work for me. It comes with a bunch of lure tubes in there but they drove me mad straight away. I would neatly (obsessively ?) choose a bunch of lures at home and put them in the individual tubes, but then if I am wading in a depth of water that covers the bag I would open it up to find the lures had obviously floated up in the bag when under water and ended up all over the place. Surely the top of the bag needs to sit snugly on top of the lure tubes, or is it me doing it wrong ? I really like how there are drainage holes at the bottom of the main compartment for the water to empty out if needs be, but then please tell me why on earth the side and front pockets haven't got similar drainage holes as well ? It's in no way a deal-breaker for me, but it's such a daft thing to have overlooked if you ask me.
OK, so I bought this HPA bag but from the off I was going a bit nuts that I could not get it to work properly for me. As I said, I am not used to putting lures in tubes like this and I could well be doing it wrong, but one afternoon I started thinking about how I might better use the bag for both my hard and soft lures. I began playing around with different bits and pieces and then found out that the bag could fit a couple of those smaller washable type lure boxes in there - like the Sakura ones I like so much. A box like this carries 10-12 hard lures so in essence you could easily have 24 hard lures right by your side if you wanted to, but I simply don't need anywhere close to that number of hard lures when I go out fishing. I might well have a serious problem with the shiny stuff, but I do try and narrow it down to location and conditions etc. when I am actually out fishing.
What I now do is put one of those smaller Sakura boxes in my HPA bag and then also put a similar size box in there that carries my soft plastics - like you can see above. I put a few things in the side/front pockets like spools of leader, clips, weedless hooks, hook sharpener etc., and on the top of the bag I have put a pair of braid scissors attached to one of those telephone cable type lanyards. If I go wrasse fishing with the soft plastics I simply take the bass boxes out and fill the HPA bag up with the wrasse gear. Simple it may well be, but to have everything so easily to hand I think makes life a lot easier and not for one second has it bothered me having a small bum-bag at waist height when I am walking, wading or clambering around - and initially I did think it would. There are most likely a thousand different ways to carry your gear around, and this is merely one single option that does well for me. The simple things eh ?