Having fallen for the Fishpond Prairie Grass Kit Bag

I haven’t been much for fancy luggage since an upscale suit bag I was toting disappeared from a baggage claim area in 1995. I’ve used plain brown wrapper ever since.

Then last month I decided to attempt a week-long bonefishing trip with nothing more than a carry-on bag. I went rummaging through the ziploc storage, but they were all full of year-old peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I made last time I thought a zombie invasion was imminent. And I’d already calculated that I needed somewhere north of 2,000 cubic inches anyway.

After several vain attempts to assemble a custom duffle out of a half-dozen tall kitchen garbage bags, Aqua Seal, duct tape, and superconducting magnets, I perused several online catalogs for something that might fill the void. The Fishpond Prairie Grass Kit Bag, at a 2,600 cu.in. capacity and measuring just 18″ x 12″ x 13″ seemed like the perfect solution. I could cram it full of Ibuprofen, Alka Seltzer, and Emergen-C and still make it by the gate agent. Hopefully.

As the saying goes, a bad day fishing is still better than a good day working. In this case I was being forced to do both, but the Prairie Grass Kit Bag did not fail. I got everything I needed into it, and even wound up bringing home two unworn t-shirts. I was a little underpowered as content creation goes (the iPad still has a long way to go in the productivity department), but I brought way too many flies, one too many lines, and seeing as I’m not all that fond of barracuda stealing entire rigs (even if somebody else’s fly is on the end) I probably could have left another reel at home too.

In other words, this bag did it’s job and then some. And while I’m not big on fancy accessories – no wanna-be dreg of fly-fishing society should be – there’s nary a snowball’s chance in hell I’m going to part with this puppy.

What features solidified this bag as a keepsake? Well I’ll tell you…

  • The easily accessible side compartments for storing the vast array of electronics that all travelers are forced to purchase at Best Buy hours before their trips (and that the TSA wants easy access to)
  • The easily removable, clear toiletries bag full of shampoos and cosmetics and such that every person except a bald man going on a fishing trip needs (and that the TSA wants presented in full view)
  • The bag’s overall size, which when stuffed to the gills with flies, reels, and seven changes of underwear spare fly lines still fits (snugly) in perpetually shrinking airliner overhead compartments
  • The hinged zippered top, which made it easy to access the goods within without wrinkling the silk smoking jacket I wore to the Slack Tide each evening

Will I be replacing my standard plastic bucket for hauling sloppy wet, eColi-infested carping boots around? Probably not, even though the bag could easily handle it. But the Prairie Grass Kit Bag is now definitely my go-to piece of luggage for overnight, even multi-night, trips where I can save $50 bucks in baggage check fees and at least appear like I’m a productive member of society.

MG signing off (to plan another minimalist trip, safe in the presumption that I won’t need any superconducting magnets)

FTC Disclosure: The bag was provided at no charge, but with no obligation to write a review on it either.


Peter Wilner says:

My problem has been that I’ve had flies that I was carrying turned back at thesecurity checkpoint-I had to then go back to the ticket counter and check the bag. Now I always check a back that holds clothes, toiletries & my flies, and only carry rods, reels, leaders, etc.

You should check this out -> http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/assistant/editorial_1188.shtm

Look at the very last sentence on it.

I print that page and carry it with me, just in case. It’s pretty cut and dried as far as fly tackle goes.

Peter Wilner says:

I agree- so how did you do a carry-on only trip-Did the TSA screw up?

It seems the opposite actually. TSA followed their own policy to the “T” – and I (and the bag) just made life as easy as possible for them.

I also aced pliers and knives – just not needed for bonefishing (and guides always have them anyway). Made sure my fly box was right at the top of the bag, kept electronics in the side pockets, and made sure to put the toiletries sack in a separate bin along with shoes and the iPad.

A little planning beforehand, and diligence in the line, go a long way to make everything run smooth.

Peter Wilner says:

I agree that you did everything right. I did the same. I guess that I just got stuck with an agent who was afraid of fish hooks!!

Great article by the way.

Greg says:

I agree with Michael, ace the knives and anything with a long blade and you should be fine. I have never had my gear refused, and I have also had the TSA printout with me as a precaution. However, flying about twice a month, it seems that TSA’s left hand usually doesn’t know what its right hand is doing. My partner got a nasty surprise leaving Phoenix last week after opting out of the Rapiscan. The TSA agent jammed his hand down the front of his pants and ripped out several pubic hairs during the patdown. The TSA desk manager (who weighed about 350 pounds and never bothered to stand up from behind his desk) admitted that it, ‘probably wasn’t a procedural pat-down’. You have to remember, TSA actual screeners are not really government employees (at least the ones I know personally). They are outsourced to a private security company so compliance, training, and procedure are going to continue to be inconsistent, aggravating, and at best haphazard and when you fly over 100K per year, this becomes noticeable real quick.

Stephen Cushing says:

The problem we’re having is not with TSA, but the Mexican/Baja airport security in Cabo, and Loreto. Seems they think we are going to choke people with our fly lines, and will not let us carry the reels on board for the flight home. They must be checked…. aaaaargh.

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