Frank G. Dwyer
December 9, 2003
Most Fishermen I know can't get enough of fishing gear, gadgets and anything else to do with our beloved sport, so why not consider a few of these select items for the angler on your holiday shopping list.
A good set of pliers is invaluable to a fisherman. I’d been through many cheap pairs, prior to investing in a pair that at first seemed expensive, but after doing the math for all the “cheapo’s” I’d gone through and the other’s lost overboard, I decided a decent pair that would not rust, combined with a lanyard for safe-keeping was the best bet for me. There are many out there, but in my opinion, the ones offered by The Surfcaster, a catalog-shopping outfit for anglers, are the best. The Surfcaster offers several options in both stainless-steel and titanium, with a very useful telephone cord lanyard that allows for use while safely clipped to your belt or jacket. Prices range from $89 to $279 depending on size and quality. Check them out at www.thesurfcaster.com
I used to laugh out loud when I’d look through the many fishing catalogs I receive and see some guy modeling a “miner” style head lamp. While it may look silly, I found out this past fall how useful this light can be when fishing on a beach at night in a wind-driven rain. These lights are widely available in many hardware stores, as well as tackle shops and catalogs, and offer a terrific light source while leaving both hands free for releasing fish, tying on new lures in the dark, and generally any night-time situation where hands-free light is needed on a sporadic basis. These lightweight flashlights are attached to an elastic headband that allows for a comfortable fit over your head, allowing light to be shone in any direction you face. Should be a hit for a lucky angler on your list.
Good fishermen get better by keeping detailed fishing logs. A logbook helps you notice patterns in fish movements and behavior related to water conditions, food supply, weather, tide, time of year and time of day. Information that should be in your logbook includes site, date, time, weather, temperature, water clarity, water conditions, barometric pressure, water level, how you fished, depth, lure (type, size, color used and presentation), number and size of fish caught, plus anything else you think that could be helpful down the road. Whether you fish for freshwater or saltwater species, a well kept logbook will dramatically increase your odds of catching fish consistently. Many anglers just use notebooks or plain journals, which work fine, but there are some nice fishing journals out there for anglers who want a bit more. Major bookstores have several varieties I have seen, and some tackle shops also carry them. A quick web search for “fishing log” at Amazon or Barnes and Nobles will also provide you with several options.
Putting new line on fishing reels is a common occurrence and most anglers do so several times a season. Fishing line winders are a must have for the serious fisherman as it allows for an easy and reliable way to spool (an un-spool) fishing line. There are many variations of products from winders that will attach to a rod for manual spooling to electronic spooling machines like the ones you see used in tackle shops. I recently picked up one from Berkley Fishing (www.berkley-fishing.com) called the “Dog Bone Line Spooler” which costs about seven bucks and is easy and reliable to use. Held between your feet or legs, the winder has a tension spring you control during the winding. Cabela’s (www.cabelas.com) also has a wide variety of line winders, as will most large bait and tackle shops.
Handling and releasing fish got a whole lot easier when I was given a BogaGrip as a gift a few years ago. Boat and Shore fishermen alike will enjoy this easier way to handle, weigh and release fish. It’s especially useful with the toothy fish! The BogaGrip works by using the weight of the fish to shut the prongs of the grip to stabilize your catch. It comes with either a 15 or 30-pound scale built into the handle that is quite easy to read. This is a great gift for the angler that has almost everything. BogaGrips are available in most fishing and tackle stores, as well as at www.bogagrips.com .
I got sick of all my rods leaning up against the wall in my garage and invested in a very nice looking, yet functional, fishing rod rack. The rack I purchased is made of solid oak and holds 24 rods and reels, all in a very compact space. It is on wheels, allowing me to move it around the garage as I rig for my next outing, all the while allowing the rods to be kept in a safe place for years of use. There are many varieties to choose from and you can get a good idea of the many variations available by visiting www.cabelas.com and clicking on the rod storage/rod racks section.
May your holidays be filled with family, happiness, health, peace and visions of large fish and tight lines for the New Year!