KEEP YOUR CATCH FRESH WITH SMITH’S CONSUMER PRODUCTS
Whether fishing from a boat, kayak, beach, bridge, dock, or jetty, fish bags, or what are often referred to as “kill bags,” are a convenient way to store and transport the fish you keep. Transferring fish from the fish box from a boat to a cooler and then to the place where you clean the fish is much more efficient if you store and move the fish using a fish bag (plus, if you place your fish directly in the kill bag, you don’t have to clean the fish boxes on your boat). At the beach, dock, kayak or bridge, putting fish in the fish bag makes transporting easy and the bag’s insulating properties keep fish fresh, unlike using a bucket. Similarly, many fish bags also function as live bags, equipped with aerators for transferring live fish from live wells to weigh stations at tournaments or for holding live baits. Therefore, fish bags can be important and efficient parts of your equipment, but it is important to understand what to look for in a fish bag to find the right one for your fishing applications. Here are the main criteria to consider when selecting a good kill bag:
Kill bags are available in a variety of sizes. There are two factors at play when deciding which bag size to select.
First of all, the target fish species should be the main guide to the size of the bag you need. A 40 inch pike or 40 inch bass is not going to fit in a 30 inch bag. If your target is panfish or mangrove snapper, you probably don’t need a 60-inch bag (unless you plan to keep a lot of fish).
Second, consider the space in which you will be using the bag. For one, smaller bags are more efficient in smaller spaces. A smaller bag will be much more useful in a kayak than a bag that takes up most of your deck space and gets in your way. If you are fishing from a boat and your deck can accommodate a larger bag efficiently, then larger bags are a great option.
Also consider the weight of a full bag and how far you have to carry it. Dragging a 60-inch bag along a riverbank or beach can be less efficient than carrying a 30- or 36-inch bag on a shoulder strap.
Also keep in mind that one of the benefits of a kill bag over a cooler is that when you’re not using it (i.e., before you catch your first fish), you can fold it up and store it more easily than you can a cooler. Therefore, it requires less idle storage space.
Most kill bags are made of a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) canvas. PVC bags use a thicker outer lining than TPU bags. TPU bags tend to be more resistant to punctures and tears and have better insulation properties than PVC bags. Also, they resist clinging to the scent.
Since kill bags inevitably get covered in blood and fish slime, both inside and out, you should look for a material that is easy to clean. Marine grade canvas materials are easier to clean with common cleaning products like liquid soaps and are also stain resistant.
Kill bags need to be insulated. Because fish bags are kept outdoors (sun, wind, rain, snow) to protect the bag contents (fish and ice), it is necessary to insulate them. Insulated bags work to retain the temperature of the items placed in them. A good kill bag will help insulate the bag’s contents from the heat of the sun or even freezing on those cold ice fishing trips.
The materials in a kill bag are put together by sewing or sealing them. Many bags on the market are made with stitched seams that are then taped along the seams. Some are made using a system of gluing pieces of material to seal the seams. Some bags are also made by “welding” the seams by heating and melting the pieces of material, but this is a difficult process so it is not used often. Ultimately, bags that are sealed rather than sewn provide more protection against leaks and better insulation.
Most kill bags rely on zippers to close the bag, and you can find bags that rely on metal zippers, plastic zippers, or even coated zippers. Ultimately the risk of metal zippers is corrosion, especially when the bag is used in marine environments. Of course, all wet environments contribute to hardware corrosion, so you’ll want to find a bag that uses corrosion-resistant zippers.
Draining and drying a kill bag can be frustrating. Many are not designed to stay open to dry and are not designed to stay upside down while open to drain. Therefore, having a drainage port near the bottom of the bag may be beneficial.
Drain ports are available with threaded caps or plug caps. The plug covers can be easily opened, allowing the drain to leak and spill. Threaded lids are more reliable, particularly threaded lids that do not separate from the drain but instead open a drain vent. Additionally, threaded drain covers with a rough relief may be easier to grip when your hands are wet and slimy.
Tournament anglers often rely on kill bags to transport fish from live wells on their boats to weigh stations. Kill bags that come equipped with aerator ports can make this use easier. Look for breather ports that are leak-proof and can accommodate a range of breather hose diameters. A 30-inch or 36-inch bag with an aeration port can be an ideal live tournament bag for bass tournaments. They also make great live bait bags.
Kill bags must have flat bottoms. You don’t want to struggle to keep the bag upright when you put fish in it, nor do you want the bag to tip over and spill the fish and ice already in the bag, especially on your truck.
Also, keep in mind that the bottom of a kill bag should be one of the strongest parts of the bag, as it will support the weight of whatever you put in the bag. Look for bags, especially larger bags, that have gusseted or gusseted bottoms.
DO YOU DRIVE
Of course, one of the key features of a kill bag is the efficiency in carrying the bag. Look for bags with multiple carrying options, such as adjustable shoulder straps and handles.
Also keep in mind that kill bags can be heavy when filled with ice and fish, so look for strong, reinforced handles and straps. Consider the seam that attaches the handles to the bag. Look for handles and straps made of heavy-duty webbing materials and D-rings or other hardware made of stainless steel or other corrosion-resistant materials. Avoid straps that snag on plastic materials, as they are more likely to break.
Although you can’t do this before purchasing a kill bag to help you decide which bag to buy, one of the best ways to test a bag for many of the above criteria is to fill it with ice and let it sit. Check how long it takes for the ice to melt for insulating qualities, how much condensation appears on the outside, and if there are leaks around the seams. Also, check how heavy the bag is when full to better understand how the straps accommodate to carry the bag.
Due to their insulating qualities and ease of transport, kill bags can also be great for carrying your beer and ice when you get angry!
Here are some great kill bag options from Smith’s Consumer Products:
30-INCH INSULATED KILL & BAIT BAG (51370)
Smith’s Mr. Crappie Chiller Fish Killer and Bait Bag is constructed of heavy duty washable marine grade canvas. The adjustable padded shoulder strap makes loading and transporting your catch or bait a breeze. The Chiller also doubles as a bait bag equipped with a universal aerator mounting loop with a leak resistant hose port. The drain port allows you to drain the water to keep your catch fresh and ready for fat. 15″ x 30″ bag with 8″ flat bottom keeps cooler sitting upright on boat or truck.
36-INCH INSULATED KILL & BAIT BAG (51371)
Smith’s Fish Killer and Bait Bag is constructed of heavy duty washable marine grade canvas. The adjustable padded shoulder strap makes loading and transporting your catch or bait a breeze. This bag also doubles as a bait bag equipped with a universal aerator mounting loop and leak-resistant hose port. Equipped with a drain port, you can drain the water to keep your catch fresh and ready to clean. The 18″ x 36″ size bag with a 10″ flat bottom keeps the bag upright on the boat or truck.
48 INCH INSULATED FISHING AND HUNTING KILL BAG (51372)
The Smith’s Hunting and Fishing Bag is made from heavy-duty, washable marine-grade canvas. The adjustable padded shoulder strap makes loading and transporting your catch or bait a breeze. This bag has a total of four sturdy handles. The two central padded handles and the two large handles at the ends allow a transport of 4 people when the bag is fully loaded. Equipped with a drain port, you can drain the water to keep your catch or game fresh and ready to clean. The 26″ x 48″ size bag with a 10″ flat bottom keeps the bag upright on the boat or truck.
60 INCH INSULATED FISHING AND HUNTING KILL BAG (51373)
The Smith’s Hunting and Fishing Bag is made from heavy-duty, washable marine-grade canvas. The adjustable padded shoulder strap makes loading and transporting your catch or bait a breeze. This bag has a total of four sturdy handles. The two central padded handles and the two large handles at the ends allow it to be carried by 4 people when the bag is fully loaded. Equipped with a drain port, you can drain the water to keep your catch or game fresh and ready to clean. 30″ x 60″ bag with 12″ flat bottom keeps bag upright on boat or truck.
ABOUT SMITH CONSUMER PRODUCTS:
Smith’s Consumer Products is an Arkansas-based company that traces its history back to 1886. Smith’s produces the broadest line of knife and scissor sharpeners available, ranging from simple fixed-angle removable sharpeners for consumers who want quick and easy sharpening to sophisticated precision kits. Designed for the knife sharpening enthusiast. Our offering includes manual and electric sharpeners that incorporate many different abrasive materials, including diamond, carbide, ceramic, bonded synthetic abrasives, and of course, Arkansas natural stone. Smith’s Consumer Products Edge Experts also design and manufacture a wide range of tools for the outdoor enthusiast, as well as knives for everyday carry, tactical, shop, kitchen, hunting and fishing needs.