Gear Reviews

The C&F Chest Patch | The gift any trout-chasing fly fisher will love

November 23, 2017


It’s black Friday, the start of a month long season where people who love a fly fisher wonder what the heck they could possible buy that might produce a genuine smile on Christmas morning. To the non-angler, all the stuff out there in the garage, in the boxes and tubes, all of the tools, pieces and parts in the dens, bedrooms, studios or man caves is an exhausting mystery.

Recently, I was deep in conversation with another fly fisher, and a friend walked over to watch us spew technical gibberish for about thirty seconds before he interjected.

“You guys are just making these words up, aren’t you?”

Yeah, it’s complicated. Just try making it clear on your Christmas list that you want a 10 foot 4 weight rod with medium fast action, a large arbor reel that balances well with the rod, and a WF-4-F fly line. Now back up a second and approach that from the perspective of someone who doesn’t want to screw this up for Christmas morning. No wonder fly fishing seems intimidating to some.

What should you get a fly fisher? My wife gets this question from her friends all the time:

“Hey, ask Dom what fly fishing doohickey I should get my husband.”

Well that’s tough for me too. I don’t know the guy. I don’t know if he rips streamers, hates nymphs, only fishes Catskill dries upstream, or throws a chuck and duck rig.

But I have the solution. There’s one gift that I recommend for any trout angler. I’ve suggested it often, and it never fails. The C&F Chest Patch.

A few years of hard use

The C&F Chest Patch (it’s a little box, really) mounts to any pack or vest in a couple of different ways. The ends of the box are open, so air can flow through and dry the flies. The front of the box is stiff foam. I use it for a staging area, not really for holding flies very long, because they can be pulled off by briers and greedy branches. And I hate that.

The inside of the box is where it’s at. The upper section has six strong magnets that I use to store flies of #14 or smaller. Each magnet can hold a bunch of flies, no problem.

The fold out section has rows of stiff slotted foam that securely holds flies from #24 to #4. Again, no problem.

What else can I tell you? I use this little unit as my working fly box. I often start the day by picking out a number of flies I suspect will work well, and I put them in the C&F Chest Patch. I change flies a lot, and flipping down the lid of the box gives me a place to store damp flies before I choose a new one.

I’m on my second C&F Chest Patch, and I’ve been using them for about five years, I think. The first one ripped off my vest in a dramatic wading-fall-in accident — full dunk. So I replaced it the next day.

Just a couple tips

Super glue is your friend. If you use the pin to mount the C&F Chest Patch to your pack or vest, then reinforce the pin closure with super glue after closing it. Otherwise, the latch may come undone. You’ll see what I mean. And if you do want to take it off someday, just use your fingernail to chip off the dried superglue.

I also apply a tiny drop of superglue to each circular magnet, letting it soak down into the crack. I started doing this after a couple of the magnets came loose in single digit temps. The tiny drop of superglue solves the problem.

It’s the best

Honestly, next to my fly rod and reel, the C&F Chest Patch is my most used piece of gear. And any angler will appreciate one. Buy two if you need to fill out the Christmas budget. They’re pretty cheap.

Or pass this post on to someone who cares about you and wants to see you smile on Christmas morning. You deserve it.

You can buy the C&F Chest Patch at TCO Fly Shop. TCO supports Troutbitten. Please support TCO.


Editor’s note: This is not a sponsored post; nobody gave me the chest patch. But it is a product review. I only write about gear that I’ve fished a LOT — not just a day or two, but multiple seasons of use — long enough to really flush out the strengths and weaknesses of things.


Enjoy the day.
Domenick Swentosky


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Domenick Swentosky

Hi. I'm a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

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