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Blog > Fly Fishing > Product Review > Review: William Joseph Confluence Chest Pack

Review: William Joseph Confluence Chest Pack

Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 08/30/2010 (13363 reads)
Last fall I decided to retire my old vest. Not that new things are always better, but my approach to fly fishing had change since I purchased my old vest 20 years ago.

More recently I find myself hiking into many spots and need to be a little more nimble. I am not fooling myself, I do realize nimble and me parted ways many years ago. Damn carbs! It seemed I was overstuffing my vest with loads of fly boxes and too much extra gear. Quite frankly casting was a bother as I had eight - ten different boxes crammed in all over my vest. One big final new requirement was being able to bring my camera and reach it with relative ease.

Of course I did a lot of research on the Internet and ultimately made my way to over to a fly shop and get the touchy feely thing going. Stopped into TCO Flyshop while on one of my daughters college road shows (please pick PSU, please pick PSU) and got some help from Chris. He was a big help and I settled in on the William Joseph Confluence chest pack. Now this pack has been out for a couple of years, but I still get asked a lot about vests and chest packs.

williamOnce I made the switch I really enjoyed using the chest pack this season. First I had to repack all my fly boxes and gear, which in itself was a good thing. (See blog post here.)

The front of the pack has plenty of room for all my essential small gear. The zippers are awesome. Nothing worse than trying to keep things contained and getting held up on stuck zipper. In the front zippered section I can load up plenty of spools of tippet, split shot, a small knife and sunglasses.

The main front compartment is designed for fly storage. William Joseph provides a foam fly holder, which I keep loaded with several of my go to flies, nymphs and streamers. About the only thing I didn't like with the pack is the mesh that is inside this compartment to separate items like fly boxes and the foam board. Often the flies on the foam would easily fall off and get stuck in the mesh separator. There is room for a couple of fly boxes. I think I found myself with three of varying size in the front. Two zingers and small side pockets were well thought out.

The back compartments had plenty of room for my camera, rain gear, and an extra fly box or two. Most importantly I could unbuckle the side straps and spin the pack around to get to these items. I used to pull my arm out of its socket trying to get my camera in the old vest.

I found the pack very comfortable even in the warm months and easy to move around. Casting is much easier now. What has worked best is the convenience of all my essential flies and gear right in front of me easily zipped up and secure.

Pro's: Comfort and convenience
Con's: Design of mesh separator

Update from William Joseph
The 2011 Confluence Pack will be continued with a few minor upgrades. Mostly the front pockets will have new earth magnets holding the pockets together instead of the zippers. Pretty cool!
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Author Thread
Published: 2010/8/30 18:46  Updated: 2010/8/30 18:46
Joined: 09/16/2006
From: Bucks County
Comments: 178
 Re: Review: William Joseph Confluence Chest Pack
Nice review Dave. Have you had any experience carrying a net with it?

Published: 2010/8/30 20:58  Updated: 2010/8/30 20:58
Joined: 02/14/2009
From: Lobachsville, PA
Comments: 42
 Re: Review: William Joseph Confluence Chest Pack
Been using Chest Packs for years and purchased a Confluence two seasons ago. I love it, as a guide I carry a lot of stuff for myself and clients, and have had no concerns on room. I have found that when you load down the back pack (water/food/gear for the day) it will pull the front up to your chin. Using the side strap wrapped around your wader belt solves this problem. Also the shoulder straps have a habit of sliding off. Solved by my wife. She made a velcro strap to keep them pulled together. I locate my net on the lower back side. I found the middle (high or low) to be a hard reach. The side location works real nice. Easy to reach and replace (magnet). The tippet system in the front pocket performs very well also. I give it a 9 1/2...
Published: 2010/8/30 22:01  Updated: 2010/8/30 22:01
Joined: 09/08/2006
Comments: 1836
 Re: Review: William Joseph Confluence Chest Pack

I do not use a net, but see that one could be used on the back just fine.
Published: 2010/8/31 23:45  Updated: 2010/8/31 23:45
Joined: 03/20/2008
Comments: 12
 Re: Review: William Joseph Confluence Chest Pack
I carry and net and my son has the same pack as well, we did need to be creative and pull the tag that is located under the flap thru it to hang the net for better access. It worked fine. Something they could have done better but we really love the pack. Might be something to suggest to W&J for their next design. I'd buy one again. State College, Huh? Yes, I have one down there and one on his way after this semester. TCO is one of our haunts. Nice Shop!
Published: 2010/9/13 12:14  Updated: 2010/9/13 12:15
Joined: 09/14/2009
Comments: 23
 Re: Review: William Joseph Confluence Chest Pack
I use this pack, and hanging a net from it is irritating. The only other major design flaw is the use of mesh multiple places. I got two flies caught in the mesh on the front of the pack yesterday, and you have to take the pack off to get the flies out. There is also mesh inside the front compartment, in the same place where there is a foam insert for flies. I simply can't understand why companies insist on using mesh in areas where hooks are going to be.

There are reasons to like this pack - its very comfortable, and has some nice features. However, i always end up wishing for fewer bells & whistles when it comes to fishing gear. The fewer places to get hooks caught & line tangled, the better.

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