I still haven't found a better way to carry my lures
Accepting that my needs if you will are perhaps a little different to yours, I have found a specific way to carry my lures when I am fishing that still lets me carry a rucksack containing the camera gear I choose to take for that particular session. I blogged about this method a fair while back (check here), but as with life and progression and keeping on learning more about fishing, I kinda presumed that further down the line I would have found a different/better way to carry my lures and thus moved on from that simple HPA bag thing.............
But I haven't. My choices I will admit are somewhat dictated by my need to carry camera gear - photographing fishing is a big part of my work, but way beyond the need to sell images is the fact that I could not contemplate going out fishing without camera gear and thus missing a bit of awesome light. Look at the photo above which happens to float my creative boat in a big way (from Ireland last week) - can you imagine how much I would have berated myself if I had not had at least one of my Nikon D3 cameras plus lens with me? A shot like you see above requires the ability to tell your camera exactly what to do instead of relying on some strange sounding programme mode that ain't got a creative bone in its lines of code or weird looking symbol.
Sorry, I digress - carrying lures. My theory is that if I can't fit in the HPA bag then it doesn't need to be coming with me. Yes, I have a fair few lures here at home, but there is no way I need to take them all fishing with me at once - if you want to carry boxes and boxes of the things then that is up to you, but what I fish with is a kind of location specific collection of hard and soft lures by my side so I can chop and change nice and easily. I don't want to have to head back to my main rucksack to do this, and I can't stand sling-bags. I understand those Japanese-style lure vests, but having tried them on and off a fair bit, I don't particularly like wearing them when I am fishing. Nope, I need something by my side, and even then it needs to be fairly particular.
A fanny pack in the US, a bum-bag here - I tend to get on with this kind of arrangement, although I want it sitting at my side but nicely out of the way if that makes sense. I want it there, but at the same time I don't really, as in I don't want it getting in the way when I am moving around, and I can't have it annoying me when I pick up my rucksack, put in on my shoulders and move. It might not look like much, indeed it is merely a bag that sits at your side, but this HPA thing just fits the bill for me.
It's a fairly tight fit with the two lure boxes in it that you can see above, but now I have that box with the soft plastics in standing upright next to the washable style hard lure box, and by doing that it's easier again to take the boxes out and put them back in while you are fishing. I do this without having to actually look for them - I know where the bag sits, the zips are big and easy and don't rust or rot, and I know how things come in and out of the bag. The only thing I need to be aware of is not dropping the actual lure boxes in the sea.
I was starting to find a while back that I was feeling the weight of the HPA bag stuffed full of lures - not too heavy as such, rather the weight of it and where it sits on you felt like it was pulling slightly away and down from your hips. In a eureka moment I attached a shoulder strap to the lugs that are on the bag precisely for that (good eh?), and straight away it felt as if there was almost nothing there. Now the bag's working even better again, and I can hang fish-grips, pliers and even a water bottle holder on the Simms neoprene wading belt that I use for the HPA bag, and that simple addition of the shoulder strap has made "wearing" the contraption feel so much easier and lighter.
But I have now found out over a long time that the shoulder lugs will start to come away slightly from the bag - mine haven't torn off yet, but you can see the stitching starting to pull away from the material of the HPA bag. I reckon that one day the lugs will quite possibly come away completely, but at the price and how well the bag works for me, I have accepted that it's no big deal. Most stuff fails eventually, but for me these HPA bags last for ages. Yes, it still annoys me how the little side pockets don't drain so efficiently as the main compartment, and yes, the bag could be say 10% larger to make it even easier to get my lure boxes in and out, but overall for around the £30 mark I reckon it's good value for money. Please tell me if I am wrong here, but I am aware of only one place that sells these HPA bags in the UK, and it's here.
One new to the UK hip style lure bag that I have had I think three fishing sessions with is the Rivalley RBB bag that the Art of Fishing in Cornwall and Absolute Fishing in Ireland are selling. The Rivalley RBB bum/hip bag is not cheap, but it seems to be well built and thought out, albeit it winds me up that at this price you aren't getting a shoulder strap included with it. If I ever get the chance to fish for far longer periods with this bag then I will report back properly, but because it felt so different to wear than my HPA bag which I am of course so used to now, personally I wasn't getting on with it that well and I know I need time with it to properly adjust how and where it sits and how I access it etc. The lads I know who are starting to put time in with these bags though are all saying how they needed some time to get used to them but that they're pretty damn good. Looks like we're going to get a taste of autumn this weekend - smash 'em.