Planning to goFishing in the Bahamas? Expect to have your packing skills graded at theairline counter. Most flights to the Out Islands from Nassau limit yourpersonal gear to between 75 and 100 pounds per person, and when you don’t hitthe mark, they get real crabby.
The key is topare down your equipment to the basic necessities and to check the weight ofyour bags at home before you head to the airport. Once you have booked yourflights, consider traveling with one of the following gear systems, which allowyou to pack your clothes and tackle smartly and economically.
**MYSTERY RANCHSWEET PEA BACKPACK
** Made in Montana, this pack is a perfect carry-on and day-gear bag. The SweetPea is so impressively suspended that you could carry bricks in it and stilladjust it for wading the flats. The front has a butterfly waterproof zippersystem that lets you open the entire pack to access the bottom without removingall the contents. Although the company says it’s not waterproof, impeccabledesign and fabric construction make it close. $190; 406-585-1428;mysteryranch.com
**CABELA’S EXTREMEWHEELED WATERPROOF DUFFEL
** This 30-inch duffel is roomy but not to the point of getting you into troublewith the weigh-in police. Thoughtfully constructed, the bag has a heartyplastic bottom (with wheels and a handle) to prevent sharp objects frompuncturing the bottom while your gear is in the care of baggage handlers. Thebest news is that it’s completely waterproof, and your stuff will stay dry evenif you leave it out on the dock during a downpour. $180; 800-237-4444;cabelas.com
**ORVIS SAFEPASSAGE CLEARVIEW KIT BAG
** With 22 pockets to jam your tackle into, this is an ideal carry-on, boat, orcamp bag. Built with a waterproof liner and foam panels, the bag stays dry andfloats if it takes a spill. Clear exterior pockets help you quickly locate yourcellphone or keys, and pockets inside will organize lines, tippets, and reels.The 20-inch main compartment has removable baffles to handle waders, boots, andeven a camera. There’s a rod-tube strap on the lid, and a rain fly will keepthe bag dry if it’s left out in a downpour. $119; 888-235-9763; orvis.com
LOOMIS LARGEROLLING CARGO BAG
This bag is so large that you are going to be hit with an overweight charge ifyou fill it. That said, this rolling cavern has two lockable PVC rod tubes oneach side, and enough space for a big fly-tying bag, waders, wading shoes, asleeping bag, and all the rest of your stuff. A thoughtful wet bag willseparate suspect items from your dry gear. It’s reasonably water resistant, notwaterproof, and thanks to wheels and a handle, it rolls easily when stuffed.$140; 800-456-6647; gloomis.com