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:
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.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.
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.
Pioneer 197 Sportfish
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?
Pioneer 197 Sportfish
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.
Good idea for smaller inshore species -- is there a larger version for offshore species ? Link ?
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.