It’s Christmastime. A 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 a fly fisher when another friend walked over to watch us spew technical gibberish for about thirty seconds before he interjected this:
“You guys are just making these words up, aren’t you?”
Yeah, it’s complicated. Imagine putting the following on your Christmas list: I 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 people.
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 to answer. 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
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 that I use 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 that 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 six years, I think. The first one ripped off my vest in a dramatic wading-fall-in accident. A full dunk. My fault. 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.
** NOTE ** The links to the C&F Chest Patch above are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, Troutbitten will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. So, thank you for your support.
Fish hard, friends.
Enjoy the day.
T R O U T B I T T E N
I bought one last year per your recommendation and it’s become the cornerstone of a quick and efficient rigging system for me. I love that it allows my used flies to dry while keeping them protected from theiving branches- We all lose enough flies to the stream bottom to not have to lose them to the woods as well. Pays for itself for that reason alone
These are so small and light that I sometimes use two at a time on my lanyard, one on top of the other.
Uh oh. Not available through your link. Santa needs a new helper.
Ha! Yeah we sold a bunch, and they were gone by this afternoon. Sorry. I’m looking for a new link. Cheers. Merry Christmas.
Tough to swallow the price for what it is, but after some time I gladly purchased a second incase the first one dies. It’s been a key component of my system for the past year. Thanks for the heads up & for the great resource that is TB.
This time round you convinced me to try one. Yup you were right it’s that useful. Mounted on top of an Umpqua chest pack, in place of the normal small foam fly sheet, it’s as neat as can be. Thanks
I just got one and it’s pretty flimsy for $30. But, I haven’t used it yet so I’ll give an opinion in a month or so. I hope I like it as much as you all.
Well it’s designed to be very light so that it doesn’t weight down your vest or pack. I like that because it hangs on the pocket of my vest. All i can tell you is that I’ve had this one on there for about 3 years now. And I fish a lot.
Have you had any issues of flies popping loose out of the foam and making there way out of the box through the large holes on the sides? I haven’t gotten myself to use this box yet because of the big holes in the sides, but perhaps the magnets catch a loose fly? … or maybe I am missing something.
That’s a cool question. Answer is no. I never lose flies from this box. The open sides are great because the flies dry out, and it keeps the box a bit lighter. The magnets are definitely the key, like you said.
Dom – Based on this article I picked one up and used it for the first time this month. In the past I’ve used a small plastic box with a few magnets to hold my used flies to dry. The C&F box is a definite improvement. I like planning out the days flies in advance and having the small box easily accessible in my top vest pocket. For me it is too big to pin/clip on my vest but it has earned a permanent home in the vest.