Pros' Picks: What's in Your Bag?

It takes more than rods and reels for a successful day — see what the pros use.

Spend enough years remembering what you forgot once it’s too late and eventually you develop a system. I may step onto other people’s boats with an array of tackle and cameras (or not), but this kit always goes with me

Essentials for a day on the water
Compact and complete for a day on the water.Bill Doster

Every essential in my kit fits into an original Abel Tackle Bag (1). The thing is a black hole in terms of what it will hold, but the pocket arrangement makes organizing and finding things easy. First to go in the main compartment are a lightweight raincoat, bibs and gloves (2), and atop those, binoculars (3). Plenty of room remains for anything else I may need for the day: lunch, some tackle, a GoPro or fighting belt. I fit a spare hat and an extra neck gaiter (4) around the edges. Four outside pockets hold the rest of the gear by category. Electronics (5) go in an end pocket: a PLB, DeLorme inReach (if I'll be in a place with no other communication options), handheld VHF and SPOT tracker. In the opposite end pocket go fishing tools and cutters: a belt knife, pliers, line cutter, clippers and a folding knife (6). Offshore I keep the line cutter on me, always readily available, and a knife on my belt, in my waistband or in a pocket. A front zippered pocket carries spare sunglasses, cleaning wipes, glasses cleaning liquid, a microfiber cleaner and terry towel (7). I hate dirty sunglasses. The second front pocket holds sundries: sunscreen (8), aspirin, a few band-aids and tape, with room left for a cellphone and my wallet in zip-lock bags. Plus, I stash a few Benjamins in a baggy in an inside zip compartment for emergencies or tips. This kit pretty much assures me a safe and comfortable day on the water.