The Trek-Tech Blog reviews the SmithFly Digi-Pouch and they like it.

The guys over on Trek Tech Blog put the Digi-Pouch through a couple months of tests and wrote a nice review of it. While not strictly fly-fishing it’s a great testament to the usefulness of our gear in extra-piscatorial activities. It’s a brave soul that straps his wife’s DSLR to his pontoon boat in a gear test, but I appreciate the faith in our gear! Pay them a visit to read the whole post.

 

6-29-13 Gear Shoot-027

SmithFly Digi Pouch, $60, www.smithfly.net.

The Good: Keeps your DSLR and car keys dry as a bone. Room to boot.

The Bad: Still looking for it.

The Ugly: The light grey color doesn’t match the rest of my mint green and burnt orange fly fishing gear.

The SmithFly Digi Pouch is an 18 ounce roll top dry bag (6” Diam x 13.5” H) that is designed to accommodate a Digital SLR camera while on the water. Like the other modular pockets and packs designed by SmithFly, the Digi Pouch attaches to SmithFly’s base vest and waist packs utilizing the military derived MOLLE (pronounced “Molly”, like the lady) system.

Over a period of 3 months the Digi Pouch was strapped to my waist while wading through my favorite fishing grounds and to the side of my pontoon boat while punching through rapids. Though I do not typically carry a large heavy camera with me while fishing, I stole my wife’s DSLR and stowed it in the dry bag for testing purposes.

The Digi Pouch easily contained the Canon EOS Rebel XTi with the base 18-55 mm lens attached. The throat of the dry bag is very wide allowing the camera to be easily loaded and unloaded and the roll top portion of the bag is tall enough (10”; approx. 3 rolls worth) to give the user enough room to adequately seal the bag over large bulky items. The Digi Pouch provides complete brief submergence-proof dryness to your goods as long as the opening rim surfaces are clean and pressed firmly together while rolling the bag closed.

 

Great Write up of the SmithFly Digi-Pack by Louis Cahill on Gink and Gasoline blog.

My butt, flats fishing in the Digi-Pouch, photo by Mrs. SmithFly.

My butt, flats fishing in the Digi-Pouch, photo by Mrs. SmithFly.

Louis Cahill, photographer and fly fisherman extraordinaire has a great write up on the SmithFly Digi-Pack. I think the “changed my life” part may be a bit of hyperbole, but overall I think he likes it… what do you think? See quote below.

Full text on the Gink and Gasoline Blog.

EVERY NOW AND THEN A PRODUCT COMES ALONG THAT CHANGES YOUR LIFE.

An innovation that suits your needs so exactly that you wonder if you’ve been talking in your sleep. Some gadget, like your iPhone, that leaves you wondering how you lived without it.

Well, I have been talking. For some time and not in my sleep, to every manufacturer of fishing packs I know about making a truly waterproof pack that I can trust and is large enough to carry my camera. No one listened.

As it turned out though, I was not the only one thinking about this problem. While I was talking to the big guys, a clever fellow in Ohio by the name of Ethan Smith was solving my problem. There in the shop at Smithfly, Ethan was changing my life.

As you might guess I carry an insane amount of gear when I’m on the water. Along side my fishing pack with its six fly boxes, eight spools of tippet, split shot, line dressing, water bottle, net, and so on, there are two Nikon DSLRs, an array of lenses, a flash, batteries, data cards, lens cloth and the kitchen sink.

This all started out in a backpack containing a waterproof Pelican case that weighed forty pounds. Try hiking, wading and fishing with that for a day. Not only was it killing me but it took forever to get to my camera and I missed too many shots. I eventually discovered small dry bags made for kayakers and they were an improvement but I had to carry four of them and they were so small that I couldn’t carry the camera with the lenses I wanted on it. I had to assemble the camera, in the river, every time I took it out of the bag.

Then I discovered the Smithfly Digi Pouch. The Digi Pouch is a super heavy duty dry bag that offers not only safety for your gear but amazing versatility. It works as part of the Smithfly modular system and attaches securely to the Smithfly Switch Belt. The system is brilliant in its simplicity.

The Cuda-sectomy — or do not take a pic of a cuda with your junk hanging in the water.

Cuda_Camo2

After my epic skunk-a-thon on the flats in the middle keys, I decided to search the flats the next day for for the elusive bonefish near Key Biscayne. After calling every guide I knew and few I didn’t, to get the skinny, it sounded like there were fish to be had in the area after the water temps warmed. The INTEL was solid and my chances only slightly greater than the day before. (See next post down for full Skunk report, and casting practice/line review)

After a half hour turning coral into fish I had a couple shots at small fish working the perimeter of the flat. They were up shallow, tight to a transition, in warmer water and spooky. The actual fish moved on and my hallucinations continued. However none of the specters left in a cloud of mud like the others, the just sat there like rocks and swayed in the current and with the flat light. Nothing.

As the day moved on the wind pounded the flats and sun warmed things a bit. Nothing more in the sand, so I moved out a bit further to deeper water, a little over junk-deep to be exact, cool and refreshing.

I moved into a wide expanse of turtle grass, pock marked with blue holes. The holes were deeper, and fishy looking.

After a few casts, BANG, hefty tug and solid run — fish on. It’s CUDA-time.

I took a couple pics and released the little toothy hammer handle and tied on some heavier tippet and bigger Clouser. Bang another fish, a bit bigger this time. Bigger fly bigger fish, bigger teeth, bigger fight.

Landed a few more of those and released them one handed while holding my camera to take pics, the bigger they got the more feisty they remained in hand, and the more threatening the teeth became.

I tied on straight 20lb mono and a 3/0 olive and white Clouser. I laid out a cast to the drop-off that was holding fish and a NICE shadow trailed my fly as I stripped. Really even strip, follow, follow — BANG. A nice CUDA on!

So I let this one run a bit to try and wear it out. He took me into the backing a few times and the popped off, cut the line — toothy bastard.

Re-tied, 20lb mono – 3/0 Olive and White Clouser.

Follow, strip, follow, strip, follow, – BANG, another fish on, plaid this one even more cautiously — loosed my drag, really let him run — then horsed him in quick. Unrolled my SmithFly Digi-Pouch with one hand, to get out my D-90 to snap a nice photo. Swung him in close to grab with the other hand. Reached out to grab him and he sped off on another run.

I horsed him back after a short burner, they’re runs are short and fierce but over quickly, then it’s like reeling in a log. Brought him back over to me quickly. When I reached down to grab him with one hand, camera in the other, he slashed in the water away from my hand and moved right for my junk, mouth open with 3/4″ long fangs barreling down on my business which is at fish eye level dangling in the cool water, only a thin layer of 15 year-old quick-dry ExOfficio Nylon and some boxer shorts between me and certain CUDA-sectomy or worse yet, CUDA-stration.

Luckily, a well placed blow to the beak of the beast deflected the critter’s invasion of my privacy, but still it was a close one. I pulled the hook and released the fish, a nice long slender torpedo. A perfect shining silvery predator, swam back across the blue hole and disappeared into the distance.

Lesson learned — when in junk deep water, always put TWO hands on a big CUDA – a picture just ain’t worth it.

Needless to say no pics of the big ones.

Cuda_1

Hammer Handle

Cuda_Fin

Cuda Fin

One handed operation for the Digi_Pouch

One handed operation of the SmithFly Digi-Pouch.

Flats_Camo

Beautiful flats camo.