Pack Smart by the Anal Retentive Steelheader

With another steelhead season just around the corner, I've been getting all of my gear set. Digging through the closets, boxes and making up the check list and dumping a ton of dough on stuff. This is life for the hardcore steelheader. Over the summer, I started replacing equipment and on the list was a wading jacket.

I did some research, got input from several fellow steelheaders and tried on several different jackets. The one that won me over the Wright & McGill Big Horn jacket. The jacket is made of Aqua-tex which I guess is something similiar to Gore-tex. The jacket has a huge hood perfect for the days out in the snow belt. The jacket has two large front pockets, one small pocket on the left sleeve, and large pouch in the back. There was enough room in the two front pockets that I thought to myself that I might not need a vest anymore.

Over the years, I've seen too many people packing enough stuff that would tire out the hardiest of mules. Vests with endless zippers and pockets that hold a lot of useless stuff and half of the time they forgot what's in what pocket. I know several guys that have the high end Fishpond backpack/vest and I think its too much crap to haul around. I hate carrying a lot of stuff, the less the better and that's the result of me being an overly organized neat freak (you should see the inside of my work truck).

As Tim Gunn from Project Runway would say "make it work" I started to condense all of my terminal tackle. I bought a couple of small tackle containers and organized the trays. In one box was able to fit all of my floats, hooks, swivels, jigs and soft baits. In the other container were all of my sinkers. The tackle box fitted perfectly in the right pocket and in the left were the sinkers and containers I use for spawn and maggots. I have tippet spool tool that hold both leader material and tippets both in mono and fluorocarbon. I have a couple of retractors that hold a nipper and hemostat. When it comes to food I just snack on Snicker bars - they give the energy boost when needed and it keeps my stomach full.

Packing light makes sense and after a long day pounding the trails and slogging through water your body will thank you for it. Once the season I'll have a report on both the waders and jacket.

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