I suppose this is a review of sorts although you can’t actually buy this product anymore! Most reviews you see are all about the latest kit with lots of glossy photos highlighting all the high tech features and snazzy graphics. To be fair some of the magazines do ‘Tried and tested’ or ‘Used and abused’ style articles where they look at items of tackle they’ve had out on the bank over a longer period of time and that they continue to be impressed with. This ‘review’ is somewhat different!
Anglers tend to fall into two camps when it comes to tackle, some have to have all the latest matching gear and they upgrade every year or so, the proverbial ‘Tackle Tart’ and then you have anglers that don’t really care what they look like as long as the gear does what it was designed to do. Very often they don’t change or upgrade their kit until things have worn out or broken, I’m definitely one of the latter and I don’t think my luggage has ever matched!
When I started fishing forty years ago, there wasn’t a need for a carryall let alone a dedicated stink bag for multiple keepnets, we had a net bag which contained a keepnet, landing net, a bait waiter and maybe a groundbait bowl and that was it. Fast forward a fair few years and my Brennan & Hickman net bag finally gave up the ghost, I was in the market for a new one and Xmas was coming! One of the lads I fished with (it might have been Dunner) had a new FOX Match carryall and it looked well made and well thought out with loads of zipped compartments and pockets so I asked Santa if he could squeeze one down our chimney!
December 25th 2006 arrived and my wishes had been granted courtesy of my dear Nanny Clarke, I got all my bits and bobs like nets, trays, bait boxes, sandwiches and a flask in it with loads of space to spare! Over the next few years, it was on the bank with me at least once a week in all weathers and I was ramming more and more stuff in it, extra side trays, seat box attachments, tins of sweetcorn, worm chopping scissors, hand towels, various bait additives, pole socks and even sun cream! My spacious carryall took it all and laughed at my pathetic attempts to fill it!
The life of my carryall wasn’t without incident though, after one house move, my gear was stored in a shed which although secure had a family of mice that got a taste for the rubber on the padded handles and the zips plus the mesh pockets on each end of the carryall. One of the heavy duty zips for the main compartment also got stuck but it wasn’t the end of the world as there were two so I just used the other to zip all the way round.
Another house move and several more years of fishing abuse followed with the carryall getting heavier and heavier until one of the clips attaching the shoulder strap gave way. I wasn’t going to let such a minor thing hamper the performance of my faithful companion so I bought a cheap carabiner from a camping shop and we were back in business!
My new clip was just the job (note to tackle manufacturers, make stronger clips!) and my carryall was good to go for several more years with the only little blips being the loss of the padded rubber from one of the handles and a couple of the zips. Finally on 27th October 2019 (after nearly 13 years), my carryall gave in to the rigours of many years of abuse and the British weather when one of the pockets on the end which also housed the strap mounting came away from the main body.
I’m not being overly sentimental as at the end of the day it is only some fishing luggage but in this day and age where it’s all too easy to moan about the quality and price of tackle, I think gear that stands the test of time deserves a mention too (it’s just a shame you can’t get them anymore!).
FOX Match became Matrix years ago so no chance of getting another carryall the same but by coincidence I won some Matrix luggage a while back from a competition in one if the fishing mags so will this one last me as long? Only time will tell!