The quest for the perfect kayak fish bag

jcanracerjcanracer Posts: 4,238 Moderator
At the last tournament I got a chance to look at almost 120 other participants' kayaks. There was a plethora of fishbags and coolers, of which, some fit better than others due to the varying sizes of the kayaks. Here is what I have been using for the last year or so:

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That's a 42" Icemule cooler, strapped to the top of the bow with the assistance of 2 padeyes and a length of rope. The fishbag itself is great, good insulation and size, keeps kings and tunas cold with a 10lb bag of ice.

There are two problems though:
1. If the bag isn't tied down tightly, or is laden with fish, the bag can skew to one side or the other since my deck is arched up in the middle. This makes the kayak a bit tippy to whichever side the fishbag leans.
2. As observed with the squall during the tournament, the bag on deck becomes a miniature sail as it catches the wind and makes it harder to pedal through the weather.

So I'm considering how best to utilize the space inside the bow, accessed through the front hatch. I took some measurements today. The Hobie Revolution13 bow storage area from the top tip of the bow to the back of the front hatch is around 43 inches. However, because of the taper of the bow, the lower part of the bow to the back of the front hatch is more like 39 inches. The height inside the front of the bow is just about 11 inches, and the height from the bottom of the hull to the opening of the hatch is 13 inches. Incidentally, the width of the kayak at the back of the front hatch is approximately 23 inches (but the hatch is only 12 inches wide).

What does that mean? The existing catch bag, at 42 inches and bulky, is quite challenging to squish down into the hull and must be lifted up through the hatch opening to get fish into it. I'll try this next trip and report back how it fares.

It seems to be challenging to find a triangular catchbag with the right fit for my kayak, so I'll explore rectangular bags that will fit the dimensions. Here are two I like so far:

Katch Kooler II by Silver Horde $40 (Cabella's). 20" tall, 40" long, should just about fit and zipper is only on top so no fishy icewater should leak out the sides.
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Chiller Fish Bags $120 (Australian company). 39 inches long, 15 inches tall, and 7 inches wide at the base. It might be a bit tricky to fit it into the very tip of the bow, but the wider base makes this fish bag more stable than the previous one. I think the drain bung at the bottom will help cleanup as well.
Mini_Chiller_Fish_bag__14421.1401879100.1280.1280.jpg?c=2


I'm going to keep looking and updating this post as I thought the thought process would help newer members who might go through the same quest for the right cooler/catchbag.
Hobie Kayak angler for life!

Replies

  • crackedconchcrackedconch Posts: 348 Deckhand
    I have the 42 Ice Mule and love it! It holds a whole bag of ice all day. It might be mostly melted by the end of the day, but the fish, drinks and anything else in there are cold. Just my .02

    Mike
    Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things!!

    Pioneer 197 Sportfish
    Suzuki DF150
  • jcanracerjcanracer Posts: 4,238 Moderator
    I have the 42 Ice Mule and love it! It holds a whole bag of ice all day. It might be mostly melted by the end of the day, but the fish, drinks and anything else in there are cold. Just my .02
    Mike

    Mike I agree, the Icemule is the best fishbag I have ever owned, its just a question of finding the perfect fit for my kayak. What kind of Kayak do you have and where do you store your bag?
    Hobie Kayak angler for life!
  • crackedconchcrackedconch Posts: 348 Deckhand
    I've got a Cobra Fish-n-Dive. There's a spot up on the bow for a small child to sit and the Ice Mule fits perfectly there. It's hard to see in this pic because it's covered.
    Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things!!

    Pioneer 197 Sportfish
    Suzuki DF150
  • John McKroidJohn McKroid Posts: 1,464 Officer
    Katch Kooler II was my first fish bag. You get what you pay for, and that one is cheap, if one is just looking to keep a catch out of direct sunlight, this bag serves that function well. Whichever bag you choose, I have found it handy to place the catch inside a trash bag inside the fish bag to cut down on fish bag washing time later in the day.

    One can always drill additional padeye clips on the kayak to increase securing points. My first used kayak had plenty, and they did not hurt the strength and water tight integrity of the kayak. Never liked the idea of having a fish bag on the front of a kayak. As the bag fills with fish, the weight trims the kayak by the bow, which weakens directional stability making it even harder to peddle in. A heavy bag full of fish on the back end helps keep the ruddar submerged, increasing directional stability and making straight steering easier.
  • FreeLinerFreeLiner Posts: 1,338 Officer
    Have you seen Wilderness Systems new bag? Looks like it can fit just about anything. Its impressive.
  • BarrellBarrell Posts: 964 Officer
    Just go to walmart or sams $8 for a freezer food suitcase for bringing home your frozen food. Works great, zipper never breaks. When it get stanky just throw it out and buy a new one. Simpler is always better.
  • John McKroidJohn McKroid Posts: 1,464 Officer
    Barrell wrote: »
    Just go to walmart or sams $8 for a freezer food suitcase for bringing home your frozen food. Works great, zipper never breaks. When it get stanky just throw it out and buy a new one. Simpler is always better.

    Good idea for smaller inshore species -- is there a larger version for offshore species ? Link ?
  • jcanracerjcanracer Posts: 4,238 Moderator
    yeah there's no shortage of small bag options, but larger bags (big enough to fit a kingfish) are where it gets tricky.
    Hobie Kayak angler for life!
  • quatinquatin Posts: 592 Officer
    I used a Boone Just Bait fish bag from Bass Pro for $40 and strapped it down to the bow. It was the perfect fish bag for me, except it's just a tad small. Boone makes them in all sizes, but the Bait bag has sleeves meant to store and organize your bait. I put blue ice packets in them so you don't get hot spots on the bag when it's exposed to the sun. It's a long and skinny bag so it's perfect for kingfish , mahi and the like.The zipper runs all the way around the bag too. This way you can unzip just a corner and slide a fish into the bag. It also makes cleaning much easier.

    2wq5tth.jpg
    Here's the sleeves. It runs the entire length of the bag on both sides. I usually put blue ice packets only on the side facing the sun and then add 10lbs of ice.

    ff5kz4.jpg

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