ONE OF THESE CREEKS is a favorite day-long wading trip for me and my friend Kevin Davis from BeTheBass. The fish are so aggressive there that I once caught two spotted bass on one cast — one on each end of a Rapala.
The eight-hour trip is equal parts stalking and wading with a bit of swimming thrown in for good measure. The challenge is always in organizing the flies for easy access while carrying and protecting a camera and food, water, and other paraphernalia for a full day of backcountry fishing. A fly vest organizes the flies, but gives little more. A backpack is great for volume but offers little for organizing flies.
Our fix: Wear a backpack over a fly vest and bring freezer bags. I thought that worked pretty well until I started fishing the Fishpond Tech LTE Low Tide Chestpack/Backpack.
When I first saw the complementary Low Tide, I wondered if it came in a color combination other than Driftwood/Tidepool. But from a fish’s point of view the blue is really sky camo. Smart. The Low Tide is made of recycled CYCLEPOND material, which is both environmentally smart and functionally sound: lightweight, durable, and quick-drying.
And, while designed specifically for wade fishing, various configurations of the Low Tide have worked well for me while fishing from a kayak on Lady Bird Lake, from a creek bank after work, and on half-day wading trips in Lake Buchanan’s shallows.
The Low Tide’s versatility is rooted in both the ability to fish the chestpack and backpack together or separately, and in a number of well-considered features. There are so many nooks, crannies, straps, pockets, clips, zippers, and doodahs that I searched the box for an instruction manual. With a little investigation, I realized the Low Tide is a blank canvas ready for a little angling artistry.
At 10.5 x 19 x 7 inches, the backpack offers 1,220 cubic inch capacity, attachments for the chestpack, two large compartments, contoured and padded shoulder straps, a compartment for smaller gear, two rod tube holders, and places to attach a wading staff and net. It can also hold a 100oz water bladder.
This is kind of a Mac of tech packs: stylish, creative, and — while maybe a little daunting at first glance — really intuitively designed for users. The backpack will hold fly gear, rain gear, food, water, a jacket, and so on. I’ve even stuffed it with four large clear plastic lure boxes and a couple of sandwiches for a day of baitcasting for largemouth.
The trick is just to spend enough time with it to judge how it can meet the day’s gear needs. I use some features more often than others, but I’m glad to have each one when I need it.
The 5.5 x 9 x 1.75 inch chestpack snaps onto the backpack. It can also be fished alone and secured comfortably with adjustable neck and waist straps for short trips. The compact chestpack has a main compartment for a couple of small fly boxes. I use the loops and tabs to attach hemostats, a drying patch, and nail clippers.
Is the Fishpond Tech LTE Low Tide Chestpack/Backpack better than a fly vest? That’s a matter of preference. I believe any gear should match the need. For me, the full Low Tide Chestpack/Backpack is ideal for long wading trips where I need a couple small boxes of flies at the ready and occasional access to some bigger gear.
For example, the Low Tide will be perfect for the South Mississippi creek trip with Kevin, with the addition of a small dry bag. The chestpack, fished alone, is compact, easy to use, and comfortable; so for me it’s better than a fly vest for kayak fishing or for an hour or so of casting.
I think anglers who enjoy long days of wade fishing will find the Fishpond Tech LTE Low Tide Chestpack/Backpack ($179.95) a smart and functional piece of gear. After-work-casters and kayak fisherfolk who do not wade may want to check out the Fishpond Tech LTE Low Tide Chestpack ($49.95).
If you are an angler, or would like to be, please be an ambassador for our sport and a steward to our natural resources.
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Shane was raised in the family boarding house at the edge of the Pascagoula River Swamp. Mudcat, as his closest friends know him, has hiked in the Andes, fished with machetes in the Amazon basin, and paddled dugout canoes deep within Southeast Asia's Ring of Fire. He now writes about the outdoors and the folks in it from the best city in America: Austin, Texas. Find him at http://www.batcityoutdoors.com.