Spring is finally prevailing here in the Inland Northwest. Trees are starting to leave out, flowers are blooming, the snow is melting and the rivers are full. I always get excited about this time of year because it’s prime time for me to delve into one of my favorite hobbies…fly fishing.
Fly fishing is a great sport and I hope to actively continue swinging flies for the rest of my life. The only downfall to the sport is that it requires a lot of gear (most of it expensive too)…particularly in the spring and late fall when the air and water temperatures are still very chilly.
“They say you forget your troubles on a trout stream, but that’s not quite it. What happens is that you begin to see where your troubles fit into the grand scheme of things, and suddenly they’re just not such a big deal anymore.” – John Gierach
In a conversation earlier this year, a friend of BestLeather’s, Daryl Calfee of Moore & Giles Co., said I needed to check out the Bray Sportsman Duffel. And now, here it is.
About Moore & Giles
Moore & Giles has been firmly entrenched in the leather industry since it was founded in 1933 in Lynchburg, VA. Currently, Moore & Giles employs more than 70 people in its headquarters in Forest, Virginia with representation in every major metropolitan area as well as strategic partnerships in England, Germany, France, United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Hong Kong. Moore & Giles designs and develops the world’s most luxurious natural leathers for leather upholstery, residential leather, hospitality leather and aviation leather. In 2007 they also introduced a collection of luxury leather bags and accessories as an additional avenue to showcase the inherent beauty and timeless appeal of their natural leathers.
When the Bray arrived in my office, the first thing that struck me was the sheer size of the duffel. At 15”L x 17”H x 13”W, it’s big. It’s not a traditionally shaped duffel either. Most of the time when you hear duffel or duffle, you think of a cylindrical shaped bag. The Bray is more of a cube.
More details about their construction comes directly from Moore & Giles: “The construction process is meticulous – ensuring every stitch and strap are perfectly crafted in place. The leather is our finest Moore & Giles Titan Milled Brown. This leather is crafted in only one small 5th generation tannery located at the foothills of the Italian Dolomites. This leather will get better with age and adventure. The body is constructed of our strong and water resistant Waxwear Rangertan. It too will age beautifully and wear in with a patina that is as unique as the places you take the Bray.”
A lot of great planning went into the creation of the Bray. It’s a feature rich bag that just keeps exposing more and more uses. It’s designed to be an outfitter’s bag or a guide’s bag. But, it’s totally set up for the gentleman who’s off to spend a week at an Alaskan lodge to stalk salmon on the fly, the dude who’s heading down to Bolivia to stalk Golden Dorado from one of the great lodges there, or for the man taking to the salt flats in search of Bonefish. Whatever your pleasure, this bag will carry all of your fly gear in high style.
The interior of the bag is spacious. With one, large top flap you gain access to the interior, which features a removable waterproof lining with a cinch closure. This is perfect for wet waders and/or your wading boots. It keeps the sand, mud, and mess inside. The compartment is vented though, which is great to provide air circulation and prevent mold/mildew inside. The exterior of the bag features an entire side with pockets designed to store your reels, fly lines, fly boxes, tools, etc. And, on each side of the bag are leather straps so you can lash down three of your favorite fly rods in their storage tubes. In addition to the nice, long handles, the bag comes with a solid leather, adjustable shoulder strap, which is great because when fully loaded the Bray can be bulky and heavy.
This is a beautiful bag. The leather is supple and has a great texture to it. The waxed canvas looks fantastic too. The aged brass hardware combines with the other two components to create a trifecta of visual awesomeness. This is definitely a bag designed for adventure. I’ve had the chance to show this bag off to a few different people and the result has been unanimous. They all have loved it. And, they all asked if they could keep it. No chance of that happening!
The Moore & Giles Bray Sportsman Duffel exudes a combination of refined ruggedness and luxury. At $1200, it’s not a purchase to be made lightly for most of us. But, there aren’t many other bags that can contend with it in this particular niche either. If you’re an avid fly fisherman who enjoys traveling with style and likes the leisurely appeal of great lodges, this is a perfect choice for you. In fact, it’s made for you.
It’s definitely a Buy It for Life item and will certainly be something to be handed down to sons and grandsons who have followed in your footsteps and passionately enjoy fishing with a fly rod.