For anglers in need of a space-saving option on fishing trips, a fish bag is your best bet. They’re flexible, durable, and insulated to keep your catch fresh.
But not all fish cooler bags are created equal. In this buyer’s guide, we’ll be going over what different types of fish bags offer so you can get the one that’s right for you.
Fish Bags vs. Fishing Coolers: Which Should You Buy?
Choosing the right kind of container for your catch will save you hassle on the water, so be sure you have the right one before setting out.
A fish cooler bag is similar to the kind of cooler you might take on a camping trip. They have hard plastic exteriors that are built to withstand hard use and the elements, and are made to keep ice from melting for long periods of time.
The drawback to fishing coolers, however, is that they’re heavier than fish bags and take up more space, making them inconvenient on smaller craft and near-impossible to use in kayaks.
Fish bags are smaller and more flexible, but are still very durable. Insulated fish bags are a good option for those with smaller fishing boats or kayaks, or for quick solo trips. However, it’s possible to use them on longer trips as well.
Overall, fish bags are the more versatile option. They’re usually made of heavy-duty materials like polyester. Reliable Fishing Products’ fish bags are all made from vinyl-coated polyester, and sewn with UV and mildew-resistant thread.
What to Check Before Buying a Fish Bag
There are eight aspects you should consider when buying a fish tote or bag:
- Extra features
We’ll go through each of them in more depth below.
Size is an issue when you have limited space to store your catch. That’s where insulated fish bags come in. You’ll want to select the right size for your craft and for the kind of fish you’ll be after. You wouldn’t take a salmon bag fishing for tuna, for example. Reliable has a wide selection of bags for just this purpose, from 18” by 36” salmon bags all the way to 30” by 90” tuna bags.
All of Reliable’s fish storage bags are constructed with sturdy handles, which makes carrying them easier, even when they’re full from a successful day of fishing. They don’t have to lie flat, either, meaning they save even more floor space compared to conventional coolers.
When choosing a fish chiller bag, few factors are more important than waterproofing. Make sure that the one you select will keep the water away from your fish. It goes without saying that water is part of the package when fishing, and your gear will get at least a little wet. Reliable's bags are made with vinyl-coated polyester that's guaranteed to keep the water out.
Your average fishing cooler will be heavier than a bag almost every time, and are more cumbersome as well. If you’re looking for something that’s easy to carry around, a fish bag is your best bet.
At Reliable, we offer both soft and structured designs. We insulate the latter with several inches of closed-cell foam to keep fish chilled on a level that competes with most coolers. Although structured bags are rigid, they’re still compact and portable, made to fit inside a kayak.
Never forget to check the insulation of the bag you’re buying. After all, that’s its whole purpose—to keep your fish cool until you get home.
Check to make sure the insulation layer is thick enough to keep ice from melting during long days on the water. Our line of bags is equipped with a half-inch of closed-cell foam insulation, which locks in the chill for longer. (It also blocks moisture, which makes the inside of your fishing bag much easier to clean.) All of our bags are colored white to reflect sunlight to keep their contents cool.
You want a bag that can stand up to the elements. Sun, wind, and water are all going to batter your gear, so yours needs to be tough. Think about how well the material of your bag will hold up. Is it prone to puncturing?
At Reliable, we take every aspect of the construction of our bags into consideration, making sure they’re as rugged as possible. Our bags are made with heavy-duty, 18 oz. polyester coated with vinyl that will stand the test of time.
The thread we use to sew our handles and seams is resistant to damage from mildew and UV light, preventing fraying. Our bags also feature YKK zippers made from non-corrosive metals that will hold up to repeated use on the water.
When shopping for any new product, it can be tempting to go with the least expensive option. However, the cheapest options don’t usually yield the best results.
It’s best to think of your fishing gear like an investment. Springing for a cheap fishing bag may save you money in the short term, but it will cost money in the long term when you end up needing to buy a replacement a year down the line.
The same holds true for DIY fish bags. Because they’re repurposed from other materials, they aren’t as well insulated as genuine fish bags, and aren’t likely to last very long.
However, you don’t have to spend huge amounts of money to come away with a good product. Reliable’s products are priced competitively, giving you more bang for your buck when compared to other top brands.
When making any significant investment, you should consider purchasing a warranty. Fish bags are no exception. Most sites that have quality bags for sale will offer some kind of warranty to back your purchase, and it’s usually worth it.
At Reliable, we’re so confident in the quality of our products that we offer a one-year warranty on the workmanship of all of our bags.
8. Extra Features
A good fish bag will usually have a built-in drain plug somewhere on the body to allow for easy cleaning, and our line is no exception. Each bag, including our rigid kayak line, comes with a drain to simplify cleaning at the end of the trip.
Other bells and whistles, while not essential, can go a long way to improve your overall fishing experience. Some bags feature a separate compartment for snacks and drinks, for example, which can keep your lunch and your catch cool at the same time.
The large fishing bags in our line offer gusseted bottoms, meaning they can stand upright on their own, and can expand for even more space to store that giant tuna or stack of salmon until you can get it back to shore.
Invest in a Good Fish Bag
Whether you’re going on a multi-day fishing expedition or just a short kayaking trip, having the right kill bag can mean the difference between a successful trip and a spoiled catch. Check out Reliable Fishing Products to find everything mentioned here and more, including nine different sizes of fish bag, two sizes of kayak bag, and three different fish blankets.
Have a look today, learn our story, and see why we make the best fishing bag and gear in the business. Then grab your bag and get out on the water!