I bet if you had a look at one hundred bass lure anglers you would find at least fifty different ways of carrying your lures when you are out fishing, from rucksacks full of far too many boxes down to a handful of whatever lures stuffed in a jacket pocket, plus anything in between. I can distinctly remember where I was fishing a few years ago now when I made up my mind that how I was currently carrying my lures around simply wasn’t working properly and I had to find a logical solution…………..
Which via a bit of trial and error led me to the simple but effective HPA Chest pack which sits around my waist on an old and battered Simms neoprene wading belt, and secured to that HPA lure bag is an old camera strap which works perfectly as a shoulder strap and makes carrying this bag completely effortless (and I believe the HPA Chest Pack is about to be available here in the UK again, check here, yippee!). Clipped to my HPA bag on a coiled spring type lanyard is one of those small size plastic Fish Grip things, and when I deem it necessary I secure a landing net to the bag as well. On that old Simms wading belt is also my pair of horribly expensive but genuinely as good after more than four years of use Van Staal titanium pliers, plus now an HPA rescue knife which is for a very specific purpose and I hope I never need to use it - more to come on this.
I have tried a few alternatives to this HPA chest pack over the years, including some rather nice looking Japanese lure bags that look somewhat snazzier, but I still can’t find a way to carry my lures that works better for me than what I have described. I am right handed and it feels the most natural to have the HPA chest pack sitting on the left side of my waist, and to change a lure I can easily secure my lure rod in my right armpit, unclip the lure and grab the Breakaway Mini Link lure clip in my teeth, unzip the bag one handed, get to my two lure boxes, change lures, put the lure box or boxes back, and zip it back up again. When I am carrying my HPA 40 litre waterproof rucksack, the way my HPA chest pack lure bag thing doesn’t get in the way at all - and because I am always carrying camera gear, a sling bag style lure carrying system doesn’t work for me. I don’t like them anyway, but you might, and that’s great.
Anyway, because I have settled on this way of carrying my lures when I am out fishing, I know that this HPA chest pack fits two specific lure boxes in - which in turn means that I take no more lures with me than can fit in those two lure boxes. I don’t sneak a bunch of extra lures into my rucksack and I know my lure carrying system well enough to know how to fit a bunch of different hard and soft lures in there, and especially if we are out and about say for a long day or night over in Ireland and the ground we are covering could call for any number of different approaches.
OK, so I know that I can get two of those clever and so damn logical, smaller sizes of washable lure boxes in my HPA chest pack (the 20 x 15 x 4.5cms size of plastic, washable lure boxes) - and because of the size of the HPA bag I use, the best way to fit a couple of these lure boxes in is to have one sitting horizontally, and the other one upright, as per the photo above. If there is one thing I can’t stand it’s trying to pick a lure out of a tangled up mess of treble and single hooks, so these washable lures boxes that have the lures in separate compartments to me make so much sense. Have a look around and you can find a few different makes of washable lure boxes which I am sure come out of the same factories in China, but I have gravitated to the Snowbee versions for a while now because they are well made, a good price, last for ages, and easily available.
Anybody who knows these 20 x 15 x 4.5cms size of washable lure boxes knows that you can’t get a lure longer than 140mm into them, and even then not all 140mm lures will fit in them - the MegaBass X140SW for example won’t quite fit in, but the Xorus Patchinko II will. As I said earlier, I have been using this lure carrying system for a while now! I know that in some of the compartments I can sneak a couple of particular hard lures into a single compartment etc. Should I get my coat?
And of course I also carry more and more soft plastics these days, or what if I want to carry a hard lure or two that is over that 140mm size, say the 27g Savage Gear Line Thru Sandeel? I think it might have been Ben from the Art of Fishing tackle shop who introduced me to the Snowbee Small/Long lure washable lure box above, and I remain eternally grateful. So bloody simple, so logical (note the lure compartments running lengthways instead of across), so perfect for me and my soft plastics especially, and yes, in case you were wondering why the lure box above is so clean and new-looking, damn right I have got a brand new spare Snowbee Small/Long lure box here to go with the older one I have been using for years now. When I find something as indispensable as this I tend to get a spare because I then start worrying that one day they will become unavailable and I will be cursing my not having at least a couple!
There isn’t a lure that I have yet taken bass fishing that won’t fit in that Snowbee Small/Long lure box, but for me it’s even more the case that I really like carrying my rigged soft plastics like this. If I can fit the two lure boxes of this size into my HPA chest pack and one sits horizontally and one sits vertically, then I like my soft plastics to remain flat because it keeps them nice and straight, hence it’s this Small/Long lure box that sits horizontally or across when in my HPA chest pack lure bag thing, and the regular Snowbee Small box that sits upright. You might have worked out that I have a bit of a thing (?!) for the OSP DoLive Stick, and I can fit a bunch of these soft plastics in there, plus a range of say the Fiiish Black Minnows with some different jig head weights for my favourite 120mm size, and so on. And sorry, this blog post was meant to be purely a review of a simple but so damn logical and useful lure box, but it made more sense to get to why I so like this particular Snowbee Small/Long lure box via describing how I carry my lures and therefore why I can’t do without this plastic box. Hell, I tease my wife about the amount of tupperware I find stuffed away in the kitchen (“it’s so useful”), but am I any better?!
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