As a relatively new fly fisherman, I have come to appreciate the importance of having the right equipment available to me at the right time. There are many variables that can dictate your success or failure during your time on the water. A fisherman must adapt to uncontrollable and challenging conditions that include but are not limited to the weather, the hatch and the water temperature. Beyond the rod, reel, line, leader, tippet and fly, there is additional gear that can help a fisherman (or woman) achieve success.
After initially purchasing a basic fly vest from Cabela’s, I quickly realized that a more technical pack would remove some of the complexity and effort related to the sport of fly fishing. I first purchased the Fishpond Gore Range Tech Pack, then acquired the William Joseph Access Chest Pack for fishing during the warmer months.
Here is what I think:
|Fishpond Gore Range Tech Pack||William Joseph Access Chest Pack|
|Product Description||Lightweight with versatility and expandability. Adjusts to fit all weather conditions. Zip-down fly benches have mesh expansion pockets for tippet spools. Large mesh back pocket with additional horizontal zippered pocket for stowing extra gear.
||William Joseph’s Access Pack is ideal when packing light for a fishing trip to a remote creek is more important than packing every single piece of tackle you own. The Access Pack’s compact design offers a surprising amount of storage space, and it’s outfitted with a built-in retractor, zip-down workstation and tippet control system. The lightweight, less is more design of the Access Pack ensures easy access to accessories and comfortable fishing.
|Durability||The Gore Range Tech Pack is built to last. Zippers and stitching are high quality. I have worn this vest under extreme weather conditions, and it has performed well. I will update this blog in 12 months and tell you how the product has held up.||The Access Chest Pack is light but solid in construction. Zippers and stitching are high quality. I will update this blog in 12 months, and tell you how the product has held up.|
|Functionality||The Gore Range Tech Pack has a lot of pockets and access points. Truthfully there are so many choices, I end up forgetting what I have put in each pocket. The zip down fly bench is fantastic. I am able to easily get at flies without fumbling through pockets looking for the right fly box. Unfortunately, the 360 degree swivel retractors comes separately (and are expensive – $18.00 per unit).||The Access Chest Pack is simple yet so efficient. The pockets are accessible and easy to utilize. Just like with the Gore Range Tech Pack, the workstation is a wonderful convenience that has allowed me to remove the fly box from my arsenal. The Tippet Control system is my favorite feature as it saves me time and energy when changing rigs. It would be helpful if William Joseph adds one more built-in retractor to this pack in the future.|
|Fit||Very comfortable (I am 6 foot, 190 pounds).||Easily adjusted and very comfortable (I am 6 foot, 190 pounds).|
|Customer Service||Months back, I needed to purchase additional foam inserts for the fly bench (they are replaceable and attach via Velcro). I phoned the store where I purchased the vest and they could not help me. I emailed Fishpond and they never got back to me. I called Fishpond and they recommended I call some stores that carry their product. After calling three Fishpond merchants, one eventually took my order and mailed me the inserts six weeks later. Truthfully, not a great customer experience.||Recently, I needed to purchase additional foam inserts for the Access workstation (they are replaceable and attach via Velcro). I emailed the company, and got a personal response in less than 24 hours. The product was mailed to me within days my inquiry. Kind of makes me want to buy more William Joseph products in the future.|
|Would I Buy it Again||Probably. The Gore Range Tech Pack is a quality technical vest that any fly fisherman would appreciate.||Yes. The Access Chest Pack gives me everything I need to be successful at a good price point. I consider the Access Chest Pack to be a better overall value.|