Like every other serious tournament angler, Elite Series pro Clark Reehm carries a boatload of essential equipment, including spare parts, tools, a first aid kit and enough tackle to fill most of your local tackle stores. If you ask him what the most important piece of emergency equipment is, his answer might surprise you.
"A heavy duty weigh-in bag is the item that most people leave out when outfitting their tournament boat" state Reehm. A weigh-in bag serves many purposes for a tournament angler. Besides its intended use, it can be used for comfort, fish care, and emergencies.
Almost anyone who's ever been in a boat has sat down on wet carpet at one point or another. Since it is waterproof, a weigh-in bag makes an excellent seat or carpet cover either early in the morning or after that rain shower passes through. It is also an easy, quick mat if you have to work under the console of your boat or change a tire on the way to the lake.
If you are catching fish deep and need to fizz them, it's difficult to do inside of the livewell, especially if the lids have small openings. With a wide bag, you can put the fish in some water and fizz them outside of the livewell, separate from the other fish. This also eliminates the chance of a fish jumping out of the livewell while you are working on another fish.
If you are fishing a pro-am event where you don't have use of both livewells, you can also use the bag for culling purposes. This gives you somewhere to put the fish while you are weighing them other than throwing them on the carpet and damaging their slime coat.
If you fish enough tournaments, regardless of which products you use, breakdowns are going to happen. "If you've broken down and I stop to pick you up, you better have your stuff ready to go," says Reehm. This includes having your fish in a bag that you can snatch out of the livewell and transfer to his boat all together. There simply isn't time to transfer the fish one at a time.
Reehm's number one use for his weigh-in bag is for failures in the livewell systems themselves. If a pump goes out, you can put a bunch of water into your livewells with a weigh-in bag instead of using a plastic container or tacklebox. Or if you run down the lake and see that the livewells have drained down during the run, you can refill them quickly using the bag rather than the pumps.
So, if you are an Elite angler, the guy who fishes the Tuesday night tournament at your local lake or somewhere in between, a heavy duty weigh-in bag is a must-have piece of boat equipment.