Baking soda fueled a “self-swimming” fishing lure I once received as a holiday gift from a well-meaning—but non-angling—friend. It was the first of many white elephants I have been given over the years by thoughtful friends and family members who know my passion for angling and try to present me with something relevant to my favorite pastime. I accept each gift graciously and place them on a shelf where I keep a collection of off-the-wall fishing tackle that finds its way into my hands as gifts or as samples sent to me by companies trying to enter the fishing tackle market with all manner of ill-conceived contraptions from CO2-powered lure launchers to radio-controlled bobbers.
And that Arm & Hammer-powered crankbait.
Here are some fishing-related items that I have used personally, consider handy or noteworthy, and feel that most fishermen might be delighted in finding under a tree this holiday season.
Camouflaged angling attire ($15-45)
Incorporating underwater photography, digital rendering, and the latest in high-definition imaging to achieve amazing realism, a new line of camo apparel for anglers called “Fishouflage” offers patented patterns in a line of attire that looks—and wears—great. The featured fish images “swim” across a fabric waterscape surrounded by visually-accurate structure and cover to give these angling fashions a “look” that draws double-takes from fellow anglers and non-fishermen alike. Fishouflage is available in six unique patterns: Bass, Walleye, Crappie, Muskie, Carp, and Redfish, with more to come. Fishing shorts, caps, hoodies, pullovers, polo shirts, long sleeve shirts, and tees from $15 to $45 are available at fishouflage.com.
Wild tackle bags offer light and sound ($200-220)
A line of high-quality tackle bags from Go Wild River that turned heads at the recent ICAST fishing tackle trade show in Las Vegas goes a step further than traditional tackle totes by offering built-in lights and/or stereo speakers in addition to lure trays and gear compartments. Two models—the Nomad Tackle Backpack and the Frontier Lighted Bar Handle Tackle Bag—offer integrated, adjustable, three-level LED lighting systems. The third Go Wild River tackle tote offering, the Rogue Stereo Speaker Tackle Bag, includes an integrated speaker system with a digital audio connection, and loses the integrated light show. The bags are priced from $200-220 from gowildriver.com.
Boomerang Angler’s Pack ($62)
Who couldn’t use an additional pair of fishing pliers? Combining their popular retractable CLIP with their handy SNIP tethered fishing line cutting tool (SNIP tool available separately for $13, $16 with LED light), the new GRIP pliers from Boomerang Tool Company are extremely helpful and kept handy all at once. Weighing only 3.6 ounces, the milled aluminum GRIP pliers are seven inches long, lightweight, and long-nosed. They are available separately for $51 or in the Angler’s Pack with the SNIP and CLIP for $62 from boomerangtool.com. Pictured is the 7.5-inch BIG GRIP plier, available for $61 from Boomerang. The retractable SNIPS are a must for anglers using the new super braid lines.
No-tangle net ($59.99-109.99)
For all of us anglers who have missed prime fishing time untangling trebles from a just-used landing net, Frabill offers one with netting notable for not catching fishing hooks. Frabill’s Crankbait Netting is available on five models within the Conservation Series landing-net line, ranging in price from $59.99 to $109.99. For more info visit frabill.com.
Aqua-Vu Claw Discover ($979.99)
And should you drop your pliers (or rod and reel, sunglasses, car keys, camera, or cell phone—you get the picture) overboard, you can get a picture – and the items back – by using the latest rig from Aqua-Vu: the Claw Discover. In addition to allowing you to see firsthand what’s below your boat to help with your fishing a success using the specialized color underwater video camera, the new Aqua-Vu model allows you to find and retrieve items “lost” overboard using a special remote-controlled robotic claw that clamps down on and lifts items weighing up to 50 pounds.
Adaptable rod and reel rig (roughly $400-450 complete)
For an adaptable, high quality fishing outfit, match a new Abu Garcia Orra SX40 spinning reel with the ICAST-award winning Legend Xtreme seven-foot fast-action graphite rod from St. Croix, spool the reel with 12-pound-test Sufix Invisiline fluorocarbon ($14.50/100 yards from sufix.com), and you’ll have a rig light enough to have fun catching panfish and trout yet with the backbone and drag system to successfully battle and boat catfish, walleye, and stripers. The Orra SX40 has eight bearings, weighs only 10.8 ounces and comes with two spools—one for mono and one for braided line—for about $100. The Legend Xtreme rod, from St. Croix’s top-of-the-line selection, isn’t cheap at $300-plus, but offers excellent balance and feels great in the hand with a special grip that allows you to feel everything from a thumping crankbait to a light strike on a jig. Visit abugarcia.com and stcroixrods.com for more info and net the angler on your list a spinning rig that will never be relegated to shelf duty.
Images courtesy respective companies unless indicated otherwise