A rucksack or backpack of one kind of another is something an essential item for the wandering sea angler, be they occasional beach fishermen, someone who likes to hike miles over rocks, or someone whose essential requirement is a tackle carrier that doesn’t feel like a torture device when worn. Six months have passed since I first lay my unforgiving hands on Ian Gold’s large backpack. That’s many weeks of trudging down cliffs, taking tumbles over rocks, regular blasting of sea spray, braving freezing ice and baking sunshine, and a few short dips in the sea.
The Ian Golds brand belongs to the England international shore angler of the same name and commands a reputation for functionality, practicality and quality. IG’s sea fishing accessories and luggage are well regarded, certainly in shore fishing circles, but I would suggest that there is good mileage in the large backpack for boat anglers too.
Hybrid tackle carrier
The large backpack is part of a range Gold’s luggage and accessories and is big brother to the small backpack sporting all the same features. Now would be a good point to mention however that this is not a rucksack in its purest form. Regardless of what it says on the tin, from every angle you will clearly see that this is in fact a hybrid of the luggage world. This is what you get when you cross a backpack with a square tackle box, and that’s a hybrid that has been long time coming.
A traditional moulded plastic box seat, of which there are several popular ones, is easily organised, given its rigid construction, with the help of a couple of plastic tubs or trays. Not so a standard rucksack however, which, often manage to stir your gear up as effectively as a tumble-dryer!
The loose, floppy construction of most rucksacks sold as sea angling items mean that they hopelessly collapse in on themselves without much encouragement, and they can be horribly uncomfortable to wear over any distance. Ian Gold’s ingenious backpack holds its form, and maintains a stiff square construction. Couple this with well placed pockets and a hive of compartments and you have the perfect piece of angling luggage in terms of storage, transport, and day to day usage.
The IG backpacks are damned hard wearing too…take it from someone who is not inclined to spend much time looking after their gear! The sales spiel tells says that these backpacks are made from 600D woven Polyester with PVC backing. Furthermore, metal components such as the zips are reputed to be ‘self-healing’. In all truth I don’t really know what any of that blurb actually means, but I what can tell you in simple language is that after six months of abuse this resilient backpack is still in very good condition.
If I was to be picky, I might say that the zips and zip linings are starting to look a bit weathered. Being completely fair though, my backpack has suffered repeated sea soakings, after which it was unceremoniously dumped in the shed uncared for. The zips metal fittings on many rucksacks given similar punishment would soon corrode to dust, or fall to pieces in your hands if left salted for such a time.
In terms of sheer practicality, this backpack wins over any of the other bags/rucksacks I’ve ever owned…and I have owned such as those from Mustad, Titan and Greys, all of which do not score close to the Golds backpacks.
Comfortable, adjustable, organised and hard-wearing
Padded straps add comfort for travelling any distance, while an additional detachable shoulder strap also comes as standard. I now regularly use the backpack in match situations and pleasure situations Clever internal compartments mean tackle organisation is a piece of cake, with essentials immediately to hand.
A voluminous front compartment is accessed via a double zipped flap. The space split with stiff fabric-covered shelves, which can be re-positioned to suit individual requirements. These attach to the inner sides via heavy-duty Velcro that takes some budging. The shelves easily accommodate bulging rig wallets, bits boxes and tubs containing a selection of leads weights.
Both the large and small versions of the backpack come with a an insulated zip-top, wipe-able cool bag, which can either be employed as intended or used to stash the likes of packets of hooks, spools of line, or even spare reels etc. The cool bag/tackle bag can also be attached to the top of the backpack for easy access with additional straps that are also supplied.
Something that perhaps is not obvious at a glance is the stow-ability of the backpack. The shape and design is compact to the extent that it is easily stowed in the boot or backseat of the car, and it takes up less room than the coffin-like box-seat alternatives.
The top compartment comes neatly sectioned with robust dividers similar to those found in camera equipment bags. I have removed these for the simple reason that I keep most of my everyday fishing clutter in a number of plastic tubs that can be quickly lifted out and stuck in different boxes or bags as required. I know that Steve Souter sings the praises of the smaller backpack for open beach fishing, and he swears by the quick organisation offered by dividers…it is a simple case of each to their own.
At a push, I have stored upwards of 40 winders and all of my lead weights in the top part of the large backpack. In addition, there are numerous mesh pockets for storing the likes of headlamps, car keys, refreshments, or whatever else takes your fancy. All in all, there is a place for absolutely everything.
Five large protective square studs on the base mean that that the Golds backpack is equally at home on rocks. After six months of full pelt abuse the backpack is still in excellent order despite my best negligent efforts to reduce it to tatters.
It is difficult to criticise the item in the main but I might draw attention to a couple of small things. The backpack can become top-heavy when the top compartment is stuffed full. However fault here lies more with the angler for unwittingly overloading the ‘height’ of the backpack, rather than with the design.
As a regular rock angler who yomps across testing underfoot conditions in all weathers it is important to me that any rucksack or similar remains central on my back while moving. The Golds backpack does indeed do this very well when the straps are adjusted accordingly, but I would like there to see the addition of a short front strap that clips across the chest to address any lateral shift across the back. That aside, this is a superb, convenient and organised fishing tackle carrier that until now has managed to go largely unnoticed.
- Three outer rubberised mesh pockets, with two tool holders
- Two inside mesh pockets with zippers
- Five heavy-duty feet for grip and base protection
- Padded back straps with rubber gripper fabric
- Padded shoulder strap and rubber carrying handle
- Wipe-able bait cool-bag as standard
- Adjustable internal shelves and padded dividers with Velcro for custom storage options