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Tackle Storage Review


Albackore II, a tackle solution designed by anglers for anglers
 

Date: 7/7/02
Tackle type: Tackle Storage
Manufacturer: Albackore by Enjay
Reviewer: Zander






Total Score: 9.08 + EDITORS CHOICE

Introduction: Enjay Functional Solutions delivers enhanced features, improved construction, and increased flexibility with the redesign of their Albackore tackle bag. We take a close look at the Albackore II tackle bag to see if this is the tackle solution that we have all been waiting for.
 

Albackore II Tackle Bag Specifications

Size 18"H x 12"W x 10"D
Materials PVC-backed 600D Nylon
Storage Compartments 1 Enclosed, 3 mesh (2 covered), flexible shelf system
Water Resistant Yes
Stowaways 3 - 3600 "StowAways"
Color Black
Price as tested $99.99
Warranty Limited Lifetime Warranty


About the Albackore brand and Enjay Functional Solutions: Enjay Functional Solutions is successfully run by CEO Jeff Jost, Enjay assists several small companies to bring their products to market. They have now designed their own line of sport fishing gear, brand named Albackore. These "Functional Solutions" provide a solution to a specific problem encountered in the outdoors. Their first product, the Albackore Fishing Tackle Bag was well received, and due to the great success of their launch product they have redesigned an even more feature rich product...the Albackore II. 

 

The Albackore II is compact and solid yet thanks to great design is incredibly flexible and holds a great deal of tackle


Impressions:
Over the last year we have field tested a number of tackle solutions ranging from PVC plastic boxes to soft bags with drawer systems. Though every system had its own merits, none seemed well suited for a wide range of applications. (No tackle solution has ever achieved an overall score above 7.58) That's where the Albackore comes in. Originally when I was first contacted by Jeff Jost he showed me the original Albackore design but wanted to hold off on sending TackleTour a bag for review because Enjay had just finalized the layout for their new and improved Albackore II. From what Jeff described it looked like this re-designed bag would address a lot of the issues we had seen with other tackle bags being much too limiting in application.

 

When the Albackore II first arrived at the office we were immediately impressed by the quality of material that went into the construction of this bag. The 600D Nylon weave is much thicker then competitive products and the Albackore II boasts extremely large toothed zippers. In addition the bag was packed with numerous extra straps and shelving. Most eye catching of all was the inclusion of a insulated lunchbox in this tackle solution...the first of which we have ever seen.

 

The Real World Test: The Albackore II is designed to be an extremely flexible bag that is equally well suited for both fresh and saltwater applications. Bearing this in mind we took the Albackore II out for some deep sea rock fishing, shore fishing for reservoir trout, and largemouth fishing off a bass boat.

 

On fresh and saltwater boats the bag is able to handle heavy spray with ease. Not only is the nylon water resistant but covers and zippers shields contents from water

 

Materials: The Albackore II is extremely sturdy with the use of a PVC skeleton frame underneath the black padded exterior. On the outside the bag is constructed with 600D Nylon which is extremely strong and resists snags with sharp objects. (Running a hook across the bag did not induce any loose threading at all.) In addition the Nylon is water resistant and resists spray from even saltwater well. If the bag is completely covered with water, a wave for example, the Albackore II effectively holds out the moisture with its industrial grade zippers, unlike other bags where water will seep into the drawer system .

 

The Albackore II is highly customizable. Notice the lunchbox strapped on top of the bag [left] or fits in the customized shelving system [right]

 

The Albackore II was able to hold steady on boat tests even with the deck of the boat moderately wet. This is accomplished with five very large rubber toothed feet. The bag's zippers are easy to open because the Albackore II has weaved zipper pulls that make it easier to identify and pull zippers quickly.

 

The lunchbox is designed to fit perfectly in the top padded section of the
bag as well!


Configurable System
: The Albackore II is able to fit multiple fishing situations thanks to the highly customizable system. Every shelf and divider in this bag is able to be removed and reconfigured to meet your storage requirements. For example, the top of the bag features a padded interior that is able to hold reels and camera equipment, and prevent it from moving around in the bag due to soft padded dividers that attach via use of Velcro. The lunchbox can be put into the shelving, on top of the bag, or even fit neatly inside the top compartment.

 

The top section is fully padded and comes with 2 removable adjustable dividers


What we like best about the bag is the shelving is not constraining. While the bag comes with 3 Plano 3600 series configurable boxes you can basically use 3 boxes and the lunchbox, 5 boxes with standard shelving, or 6 boxes stacked on each other! (If you really want to pack heavy you also have 3 mesh pockets which we like to put plastics in, but you can use to fit up to 3 more Plano boxes!) These pockets are expandable and the side pockets have Nylon flaps that close with Velcro, preventing items from falling out when the bag is being carried. All these storage areas allow you to highly customize your lure assortment for any trip.

We noticed that pulling boxes in and out of the bag, when fully loaded, took a bit of effort as pressure was being applied from the other boxes on the soft shelving. On the other hand this tight fit makes it so that the boxes do not rattle like other plastic shelved bags. This is important because when used as a backpack over extended distances the bag is remarkably quiet as it holds all contents firmly. We did notice that with more use the boxes did loosen in the shelves and became easier to remove.

 

The Albackore II is the only tackle bag on the market to come with a fully insulated removable lunchbox that is designed to be part of the modular system

 

The Lunchbox: When was the last time you saw a tackle solution with a built in lunchbox? This was our first. The Albackore II provides excellent add-on value with this nifty feature. The lunchbox is built with the same exterior components as the Albackore II and features a fully insulated interior. We were able to fit a days supply of food and drinks in the bag, and when secured in any of the three positions the lunchbox didn't seem awkward at all. To get a better idea of how much this lunchbox is able to  hold we were able to put a six-pack and icepack easily into the lunchbox. In addition the lunchbox can be used by itself for everyday use and is quite comfortable to carry via a convenient handle strap.

 

The side mesh pockets are enclosed with a heavy duty flap which seals with Velcro, this keeps items from dropping out while the bag is being carried

 

Flexible Ergonomics: We have looked at a number of other tackle bags, all of which were uncomfortable to carry over any extended distances, especially when fully loaded. This is where the Albackore II really stands out from the competition. There are 3 ways to carry this bag!

 

1) Hand carry: For short distanced and heaving into a boat there is a  small padded handle that provides an easy and firm place to grip the top of the bag.

 

2) Over Shoulder Strap: When quick access is required and for medium distances the shoulder strap is a good choice. This is the best shoulder strap we have ever seen. First of all the shoulder strap is removable and fully adjustable. Second, the shoulder pad is ergonomics are outstanding! Buffered with extremely thick padding and soft rubber grip it actually covers your entire shoulder, not just the one stress point. This pad is adjustable and even removable for cleaning.

 

3) Backpack: The most innovative method of carry is the integrated backpack. These two straps are well padded and fully adjustable. This innovation allows anglers to carry all their traditional tackle over extended distances, in comfort.

 

The Albackore II is extremely flexible in terms of portability and can be carried with the hand strap, over your shoulder with the enlarged padded strap,
or as a backpack

 

Surprisingly though there is relatively little padding on the back of the bag and yet it is still comfortable to carry. One thing we did do to further increase comfort was actually store a folded fleece jacket in the mesh pocket on the back which effectively acts as a buffer for your back. Once again the flexibility of the bag is outstanding with the inclusion of so many pockets, straps, and panels.
 

The backpack straps are well padded making the Albackore comfortable, even when fully loaded

 

Applications: Any tackle solution that actually helps you broaden your fishing capability is a good one...and the Albackore II does exactly that. Because of the incredibly flexible design it allows you to carry more lures, more tools, over longer distances. For our boat fishing the customization of the shelving allowed us to not only pack more lure types but also to quickly identify where they were with the organized shelving.

 

On the side of each pocket is a tool/rod holder that is a great place for shore anglers to place their rods while awaiting bites

 

The Albackore II proved to be just as innovative for shore fishing as well. With pockets that sport rod/tool holders and 2 more d-rings and extra Velcro straps you can basically bring any additional items you want to that perfect spot. For example, we were able to strap in an extra rod, collapsible net, and folding chair! Once we got to our spot we found another great use for the bag....a standing rod holder. Because the bag is weighed down with your lures, gear, and lunch it is able to effectively hold two rods rigged for bait fishing very securely.

 

Ratings:

Albackore II tackle Bag Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Great quality that we simply haven't seen in any other tackle solution. We can tell that no expense was spared in the materials or construction. 9
Performance Excellent performance in all applications. Very sturdy and compact, able to hold a lot of tackle with customized shelving. 9
Price Decent price for a tackle solution that is able to offer so much in terms of features and construction 8.5
Features Features, features, features....the Albackore II is full of them! The insulated lunchbox is a nice touch! 10
Design (Ergonomics) Designed to be durable and carried over long distances the Albackore II is the first bag we have tested that allows anglers to carry their entire tackle arsenal in comfort over long distances. 9
Application This tackle system is great for fishing saltwater and fresh, and for both boat and shore applications 9

Total Score

9.08


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Durable materials L Hard to buy in some areas
J Rigid PVC frame strong L Initially the boxes are a bit tight
J Flexible drawer system  
J Backpack is great for distances  
J Insulated Lunch box  
J Extra Velcro straps a plus  
J Decent price  


Conclusion: The Albackore II tackle bag is designed by anglers for anglers and offers an unprecedented balance of features, flexibility, and construction. This bag addresses all of the issues and concerns we have had with other tackle solutions being too limiting in design. The Albackore II will delight anglers with incredible flexibility coupled with excellent materials and construction that really can take a real beating. The ability to use one flexible tackle solution for inshore and offshore fishing is a big plus. In addition the Albackore II is packed with features like rod holders, flexible drawers and compartment design, and even an insulated lunch box. There may be other tackle solutions that are cheaper on the market, but we have yet to find one that is able to deliver as much as the Albackore II. Enjay Functional Solutions is just delivering these new bags to market, and while most anglers may not be able to simply walk into your local stores and get one now, we highly recommend this tackle solution. The combination of excellent construction, thoughtful design, and abundance of features makes the Albackore II the only tackle solution to ever win TackleTour's Editor's Choice award.

 

Until Next Time....Tight Lines!


 

 

 

 

 

 
 





 

 



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