Americans travel for work. Many of us do anyway. Last year alone, we took some 460 million business trips. Most involved air travel. And, nearly half allowed for what the U.S. Travel Association calls “a leisure component.” That last bit is fodder for hope for my fellow anglers with the fly. It means sometimes we get to fish new water.
Even when my odds of getting out are only one in a million, I now elect the Lloyd Christmas model of optimism:
“So, you’re telling me there’s a chance?”
So, I go Spartan on packing work attire. And, while I wash my unmentionables and sundries in the sink, I pack absolutely everything I need to get on the water should the chance arise.
This wasn’t always the case, though. For a time, unless there was a guaranteed fishing trip, I wouldn’t lug around waders, boots, rods, reels, fly boxes, fishing pack, fishing clothes, and so on. But there were rarely guarantees. So, I didn’t prepare. And, the wages of my reluctance was missed opportunity and regret. There could’ve been a half hour in Rwanda. A half-day in Tanzania. And, half dozen other wasted chances.
Finally, I woke up and committed to fixing the problem. And, in recent months, the Simm’s Bounty Hunter 100 Roller bag has been part of the solution. It’s carried my gear to Virginia, London, Chicago, Indiana, and soon back to Kenya. And, it’s helped me get on the water more times than not.
So with a clear conscience, I can tell you what’s good.
The bag is big. It’s deep, long, and wide. It measures 30″ x 16.5″ x 14″ and 6,930 cubic inches to be exact. And, it opens with a clamshell. So, it’ll take more than you think and everything I’ve needed to carry. The utility is in its wide-open spaces, but the zip away internal dividers, compression straps and interior mesh pockets help you tuck things away as needed.
Spare the rod
Other bags I’ve had – and loved – have offered rod storage only in a zipped-up compartment at the bottom of the bag. That worked fine. But, what Simms has done here is strong work. They’ve incorporated two rod storage areas into the frame of the bag. This hides the rods. It protects the rods. And, it allows you – if you choose – to lock the rods. So, it gives me peace of mind about packing the rods for travel to locales where the gear is worth more than most people earn in months.
International airports eat luggage – good, bad, cheap, and overpriced – it’s what they do. So, when I find a durable piece of gear, I stick with it – especially if it’s protecting my investment in fishing equipment. The Bounty Hunter’s hardware and waterproof fabric make the piece durable enough to get my gear where I’m going.
It’s balanced and stable
One of my fishing gear travel bags looks good, feels goods, holds a fair amount of gear, has all the right components – and falls over constantly in the airport because the wheel-base is too stinking narrow to be practical. The Bounty Hunter is a hog with a fat, sturdy wheelbase that allows you to get where you’re going. It’s balanced. It’s stable. It’s good.
Other thoughtful design elements
There are a number of features that make the bag good at what it does. Here are a few. The zippers have holes so you can bind them with a luggage lock and deter would-be stealers of your gear. The seam-taped waterproof roll-top drybag (included) for keeping essentials dry or for dirty clothes is hugely helpful whether fishing or just traveling. Simms has built in a number of handles around the bag, which makes loading the gear so much easier. A daisy chain runs along the top of the bag, which provides plenty of tie-down options when the need arises. And, finally, the extendable handle adds an appreciated touch of comfort when navigating tight crowds or racing down long airport or across endless parking lots.
There’s something that doesn’t work here somewhere, but I’m still looking for it. Maybe, they could throw in the rod tubes with the bag? Probably not, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
This bag has one job: Get gear safely where you’re headed and back. And it’s damn good at what it does. At $400 the bag comes in at a price comparable to similar to high-end, fishing luggage. For anglers who travel and think Lloyd Christmas is onto something with his optimism, you might have a look at the Simm’s Bounty Hunter Roller Bag.