Cabela’s Advanced Angler Storage Bag Review – Lake Havasu

When I look at the modern tackle storage systems available today, I can’t help but ponder my humble beginnings, fishing out of a tackle sack.

I had limited resources for tackle and my tackle storage system was the paper sack that the local tackle shop had put my lures in when I gave up my hard earned lawn-mowing money. When the sack wore thin from being clutched in my sweaty hands and exposure to water in the bottom of my simple wooden boat, I had to carry my assortment by hand until I could afford to buy more and get another sack.

A major advancement in my fishing fortunes came when I got a hand-me-down tackle box that had a foldout shelf with six compartments for storing lures. Once I had sorted my tackle and placed it in the appropriate places I had 3 empty compartments. In time, I filled the remaining slots, but I quickly discovered the limitations of this primitive box. Once the box was tipped over, everything in it became a tangled mess. Thankfully there are better options today, much better. I graduated from the tackle sack a long time ago, but my current capacity is maxed out and it’s time to upgrade.

With visions of a simple solution to my present tackle situation, I plundered Cabela’s numerous catalogs for a while and found that I couldn’t make up my mind, so I set up a meeting with Cabela’s tackle storage design experts, Brad Olson and Bryan Hoffman to get some help deciding which way to go.

Hard-sided tackle boxes are still being made and many of them utilize the convenience of interchangeable plastic storage trays. Although today’s hard boxes are light years beyond the antediluvian artifact that I began with, the soft-sided bags have captured my imagination, as well as that of the industry. Field and Stream Magazine just awarded their “Choice” award to Cabela’s for the design of their Advanced Angler Pro Series Bags.

Cabela’s Advanced Angler Quick Stow

What got their attention and mine is a complete system designed by expanding upon the concept of flexibility, convenience and durability that has the potential to take my organizational skills to a new level. Making tackle storage bags out of heavyweight 600-denier waterproof nylon presented the opportunity to add on all kinds of specialty straps and pockets, and they’ve done that in spades!

“On this year’s Advanced Angler bags we’ve added pliers holders to the front, where they are convenient to take out and put back. Today you need split-ring pliers and needle-nose pliers all the time and if you don’t have a place to put them you can never find them when you need them. We just sat down and made a list of everything we take on fishing trips and created a convenient place to store them. We’ve added a spot for a cell phone, VHF radio, GPS, maps and put the pliers storage on the front,” Olson explained.

“Inside the various compartments you have the option of creating a system around what you like to do. For smaller items, like grubs and worms, we’ve developed Advanced Angler Binders. These binders can be filled with zip-loc plastic storage bags that are both secure and convenient. You can fill them up with items and then use the bags interchangeably for a specific trip or buy a number of binders and have them ready to go, separated by color, bait type, size or species. We’ve also added a flasher storage bag for trollers, and our walleye spinner binders are excellent organizers for marble eye anglers,” Hoffman added.

“We’ve designed each bag around specific storage boxes, for maximum utilization of space, based on the size of bag. For example, our large bag is designed around a main compartment that holds 6 of our 3600 storage boxes. Each box can be adjusted to a maximum capacity of 16 slots, so that’s a lot of baits, then there are seven additional pockets and two mesh storage pouches. That much tackle storage will handle just about any gear the average guy would take on the water.”

“Our Magnum model bumps you up to eight magnum (3700) utility boxes in the main compartment with an additional three 11-inch boxes in the outer pockets. And for really serious anglers, our Super Magnum bag holds 12 of our 3700 series magnum boxes in addition to four external pockets, plus the additional storage for cell phones, VHF radio and GPS. On the outside, four mesh pockets are handy for keeping bulky or wet things separated. The 3700 series box can be customized into 19 sections.”
Cabela’s Advanced Angler Reel Travel Bag

The main problem with the giant bags is once they’re full you’ve got to lift them. That’s not a problem if they’re filled with crankbaits, but you wouldn’t want to fill a big bag with jig heads, weights and bottom bouncers. For these items, smaller bags make more sense. “For an alternative to having one giant bag, our Quick Stow bags are for the guy that really personalizes his gear, jigs, cranks, spinnerbaits, tube baits, in separate boxes and wants them in one handy bag that he can grab and go,” Olson said.

“The real beauty of these systems is that you can have a variety of bags and keep all of your tackle in utility boxes and have the flexibility to tailor your tackle selection to the needs of each trip. If you’re just going to jump into the boat for an hour or so after work, or go on a three-day weekend, all of your tackle is organized and ready to go. All you have to do is decide which utility boxes to take and which bag is most convenient for that particular trip.”

For the fully equipped angler who wants to protect his gear in transit, Cabela’s reel travel bags come in two sizes and the foam is precut to fit up to eight 5000 sized spinning reels and 6000 size baitcasting reels. The basic model stores up to 8 reels and the double model is just a mirror image, with the capacity for 16 reels. Once you’re in the boat, Cabela’s reel covers do a great job of protecting both the reel and boat surfaces from scratches and dings. With their handy Velcro strips, they’re easy to put on and remove for low hassle protection.
Cabela’s Advanced Angler Backpack

“Another new item we’ve added this year is designed for the backpacker or youngster that wants to get away for a hiking trip to a remote lake. This bag holds four 3600-utility boxes, which is plenty for a day trip or weekend camping trip, and you’ve still got lots of room in the top and side pockets for the rest of your camping gear. By combining tackle storage with a backpack you can carry everything you need on your back and not have to hand carry a heavy box all the way up the mountain,” Olson said.

After looking at the entire line in great detail, one of the most advantageous aspects of Cabela’s various tackle storage system components is that they can stand alone or be expanded as your own tackle collection grows. When you purchase more lures, all you have to do is pick up another utility box and you’re ready to slip it into the right place for your next trip, no matter where that might be. Just sack ’em up and go, and unlike brown paper bags, they won’t wear out before your lures are gone. – Lake Havasu