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Bob Banfelder

Bob is an award-winning crime-thriller novelist and outdoors writer. "The Fishing Smart Anywhere Handbook for Salt Water & Fresh Water" is endorsed by Lefty Kreh and Angelo Peluso~online at Amazon.

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June 02, 2017

A Beefier Combo Spinning & Fly-Fishing Kit for Travel ~ Part II

by Bob Banfelder

To handle heftier medium/medium-heavy action spinning and fly rods/reels, I put together a beefier travel package to cover most fresh and saltwater applications. I began by purchasing Plano's All-Weather Tactical Gun-Guard Case, which brilliantly fills the bill for carrying angling or gunning gear come hunting season.

Plano Gun-Guard Case: the perfect travel case for your angling gear

Sandwiched between the top and bottom 1½-inch thick sheets of foam padding is a high-density 2¼-inch thick, perforated (pre-scored) Pick N' Pluck foam insert with which to customize your case: spinning rod and reel, fly rod and reel, fly box, lure box, packages of tapered leaders, tippet material, et cetera. This hard, sturdy plastic-molded Plano Gun Case, model number 108421, features a heavy-duty molded carrying handle, five (5) heavy-duty, spring-assisted dual-stage lockable latches, along with a built-in pressure-control release valve on the bottom of the case for ambient pressure/temperature changes. The valve in conjunction with an O-ring entrenched along the entire periphery of the case creates a Dri-Loc weather-tight seal. The case's interior dimensions are 42-inches long, 13-inches wide, and 5-inches deep. The only tools needed to cut (as opposed to ‘pluck') the foam to form and accommodate rods, reels, mini-tackle boxes, et cetera, is a snap-blade utility knife, ruler, and a Sharpie fine-point black marking pen for tracing. Some folks use an electric carving knife or a foam-cutting hot knife for smoother cuts. I prefer the snap-blade utility knife for better control.

After extended use, you may find that the edges of the cutout polyurethane foam inserts begin to wear. A quick fix of Plasti Dip (actually, a spray can) will reinforce the foam and prevent it from fraying. You can either wait until the issue arises or address the matter initially. The same would apply to the L.L. Bean Compact Spin/Fly case discussed in yesterday's Part I. However, I decided to use Plasti Dip on the Plano case foam and leave L.L. Bean case as is until I note wear. Be aware that working with solvents such as Plasti Dip will cause other issues if you do not know what you are doing. I'll address this momentarily when dealing with repair. In the meantime, let's begin cutting and creating the inserts to the relative shape of the items that you are going to place within the case: rods, reels, mini-lure and fly boxes, et cetera.

With the mid-section foam sheet placed in its case, set the edge of a rod's handle up against the 1½-inch non-perforated borders (top and side). Carefully measure, trace then cut along the perforated section that you wish removed.

Tools needed to start customizing your travel kit

Using your fingers, carefully push down and to the side to separate the foam while cutting in a straight line (no curves of any kind) to approximately mid-depth of the mid-section sheet. Then to facilitate matters, lift and remove the entire mid-section sheet from its case. Repeat the cutting procedure on the opposite side of the foam sheet in a similar fashion. Extending the blade of the utility knife a couple of inches to meet the cuts you made on the opposite side will easily separate the section for removal, creating a nice insert for one of the rods. Take it nice and slow. You will note that I basically followed the same layout of the L.L. Bean Compact Combo Spin/Fly Kit covered in yesterday's Part I.

There are Plano Gun Guard cases that feature wheels for easier transport; however, this model is perfect for our travel-angling needs. One could order a replacement mid-section foam sheet from Plano and reconfigure it to accommodate a pair of scoped long guns such as a slug gun, rifle, muzzleloader, extra barrel, et cetera. In any event, hold on to whatever foam you have removed for future alteration and and/or minor repairs. In our case (no pun intended), this Plano Gun Gear case will remain dedicated to our spin/fly/tackle accoutrements for travel. You'll note that I did this one step at a time; first the rod, and then the reel, and so forth.

Although the model #108421 Gun Guard case is specifically referred to as their All Weather 42 Inch Case, the interior length is actually 43 inches with a solid 1¼-inch non-pluckable foam border. That leaves you with a length of 40½-inches of foam sheet with which to cut and build your kit to custom fit rods, reels, mini-tackle boxes and/or gunning paraphernalia. You need that 1¼-inch foam border to firmly support these items along the periphery, so do not make the mistake of cutting and creating an insert into the border's edge.

Unlike a solid mid-layer sheet of polyurethane foam found in other gun cases, such as some Pelican case models, the perforated Plano Pluck N' Pull foam easily creates custom inserts for rods, reels, gun accoutrements, et cetera. Realize, however, that the best Pluck N' Pull shapes are cut to form either squares or rectangles. Making rounded corners or circles may jeopardize the integrity of the foam along those edges because you will now be cutting against and reducing the size of each ¾-inch cubed surface area. Also, a step-down type cutting effect would be the way to work around irregular shapes as with the fly reel shown. Maintaining at least a 1½-inch distance [two (2) cubes] between inserts will offer better support. Additionally, the convoluted construction of the eggcrate-like foam cushioning above and below the mid-section sheet serves to secure items firmly in place. If you do make a mistake in cutting, you can easily bond the foam piece(s) back together with either DAP Weldwood Original Contact Cement or Elmer's General Purpose Rubber Cement. But be warned that the fumes from those adhesives can impair the integrity of the O-ring seal running along the inner lip of the case. To avoid this problem, simply remove the mid-section sheet of foam that you are working with and move it to an area away from the case. Bond what pieces of foam you need then wait for the adhesive to thoroughly dry and until there is no odor remaining before reinstalling the sheet and using the case—usually a couple of days to be on the safe side. Good to go.

If you do decide to Plasti Dip the mid-section foam sheet, remove it from the case and carefully follow the directions on the aerosol can's label. Building up several thin coats of this rubber coating is better than laying it on thick. Again, allow the product to thoroughly dry and be odor free. In a well-ventilated area, work the aerosol spray back and forth with overlapping strokes, holding the can approximately eight inches away from the sheet. When spraying, avoid direct sunlight, high humidity, and breezy conditions. You'll note that I worked toward the front of the garage for good ventilation, out of the way of pollen, cluster blooms, polynoses, and other matter flying around this time of year.

Plano mid-section foam sheet sprayed with Plasti Dip

All Items Fit Neatly Into the Customized Spin & Fly Travel Case for Fresh & Saltwater Applications

Left corner: Cabela's Fish Eagle 54m graphite 4 piece 7-foot spinning rod (line weight 8–12 lbs. lure weight ¼ – ¾ oz.) ~ Shimano Sustain 3000 FE spinning reel.

Across top: Plano Guide Series model 3540 waterproof lure box ~ Wheatley fly box; Orvis canvas tri-fold fly wallets.

Right corner: KastKing Katmai #8 weight 4 piece 9-foot fly rod ~ KastKing Katmai 7/8 weight (gun metal) fly reel ~ packages of Cabela's and Rio tapered leaders ~ mini spools of tippet material.

Packages of tapered leader material, Wheatley fly box, and the Orvis tri-fold fly wallets fit beneath the Plano lure box. The mini spools of tippet material fit behind the lure box. You'll note that there is still plenty of room to create and further customize your kit. But for now, I'll consider this case complete. Last but not least, I'd put in a couple of Desiccite (moisture) packs for good measure. As foam can absorb and hold dampness, I would not store equipment (especially guns) in a sealed case for prolonged periods of time.

Other fine Plano cases for fishing tackle, archery & gunning paraphernalia; i.e., scoped rifles/slug guns, etc.

Plano has the perfect case for you and yours. For Donna and me, traveling to new areas to explore and enjoy our outdoor adventures is living life to its fullest. See you on the water, in the woods, fields, and mountains.

Bob Banfelder

Crime-Thriller Novelist & Outdoors Writer

Member: Outdoor Writers Association of America
New York State Outdoor Writers Association
Long Island Outdoor Communicators Network

Cablevision TV Host Special Interests with Robert Banfelder & Donna Derasmo

Bi-monthly contributor to Nor'east Saltwater ~ presented on the 1st & 2nd of every month.

Available on Amazon in paperback & e-book formats

Available on Amazon in paperback & e-book formats

Comments (2)

Hunt n' Fish wrote 3 months ago


flytier wrote 2 months ago

I guess the number one (1) means that you enjoyed the article. Thanks.

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