Gizmos and Gadgets

Gizmos and Gadgets
Gamakatsu circlehook and a proven dirty water rig, Rattlecork, 30lb flourocarbon leader and circle hook.
Ok, I admit it; I am an official member of the Fishing Gizmo and Gadget Junkie Club. Now this is not an exclusive club and there are many admitted and closet members within the tournament and angling ranks. Not sure if you are a junkie? Let me ask one question- "Has there ever been a time when you went to Academy, Bass Pro Shop or Fishing Tackle Unlimited and did not spend money on anything?"

If you can honestly answer, "Yes," then you might not be a junkie. For me, it is a constant battle; it seems there is always something that I just have to try or test. There always seems to be an item that I can purchase to perform a critical or perceived critical task in the pursuit of tournament wins. The constant search for the one little thing that costs very little and will take me over the wall and put me on the road to success. Well, after spending thousands of dollars, the wall remains in front of me, but I have weeded through plenty of gadgets that did not work out and found several low cost items (less than $20) that truly work well in a saltwater fishing and tournament environment.

Most tournament anglers fish with braided line such as Power Pro for the quicker hook sets and incredible feel that braid provides. If you have not tried braided line, you are missing out and a test drive needs to be on the 2008 to do list. One downside of braided line is that it is so tough, it is very difficult to cut. The best way to cut the line has been a pair of Fiskars. I used to carry a pair of child's Fiskars around my neck to handle all line clipping duties. Well no more, the Aussie Clippers ($7.95) manufactured by Fishpond ( are the only pair of clippers I have found to cut braided line effectively. Most clippers require multiple clips and sawing to get through the line, but the Aussie Clippers quickly and efficiently cut braid with one easy snip. The secret is the stainless steel blade design that cuts braid and mono up to 150 lbs. The clipper is lightweight plastic and easily threads on a neck lanyard.

Another product from Fishpond is the Dry Bag ($19.00). The Dry Bag is a see-through, roll-top closure bag. The bag is heavy-duty and provides a puncture and abrasion resistant bottom. Although not fully waterproof, this bag is great for those not so dry storage areas on your boat. The roll-top closure allows it to adjust to various sizes and it easily opens and closes. On my boat, I keep one Dry Bag that is packed with my foul weather gear, both a set of Frogg Toggs and my heavier raingear for true deluges. Another separate bag holds my digital camera and tournament shirts.

Every angler has a quality pair of sunglasses, but salt spray, sunscreen and sweat can reduce the effectiveness of glasses throughout the day. Keeping a box of Premoistened Lens cleaning cloths, such as Bausch and Lomb Sight-Savers ($3.50 for a pack of 50) will quickly restore vital clarity when needed. The packets are similar to the little wipes that Kentucky Fried Chicken gives out to clean your finger lickin' fingers after a bucket of sticks. The wipes are anti-static, anti-fog and clean glass or plastic. I typically use 2 or 3 per day.

Another item that needs to be on your 2008 to do list if not done already is trying circle hooks. Circle hooks work great with scented baits under rattle corks, which should be a standard setup for redfish anglers in off-colored water. Both Gamakatsu's ( Octopus Circle Hook in red and the Daiichi ( Bleeding Bait Circle Chunk Light are great hooks. It takes a little getting used to circle hooks, because when a fish strikes no hookset is required. All that a circle hook takes is reeling in the slack and putting pressure on the fish. The hook is designed to turn and hook the fish in the corner of the jaw. Many people don't believe that they can work, but they work great and the chances of gut hooking a fish are small. I fish with circle hooks all the time when I can rig one, as I truly believe it greatly improves the chances of releasing fish to fight another day.

Speaking of hooks, there is no hook that should not be sharpened throughout a day of fishing. There are several hooks that are sharp enough to use when purchased (i.e. Gamakatsu and Daiichi), but many need sharpening right out of the package. Every angler should be carrying a good hook sharpener at all times. When a tournament is on the line, a single strike can be the difference between winning and losing and a sharp hook gives the best odds of a hookup. There are many good pocket-sized diamond files and sharpeners for under $10. Any time you feel a bump while retrieving a bait, make it a habit to check the hook sharpness when the bait is reeled in. Any little oyster shell or debris can roll the hook point and if a sharpener is in your pocket, the hook can quickly be re-sharpened. Keep it handy in your pocket or you may not be inclined to use it as often as you should.

Not specifically for fishing, but critical to tournament success, is your boat. Think about what has kept you from starting a boat motor or using a piece of electronic equipment. It is usually a corroded electrical connection, something small that has corroded over time. They are usually easy to fix, but making repairs on tournament day wastes valuable time. An anti-corrosion spray such as Evinrude ( Anti-Corrosion Spray ($6.45) is cheap insurance against corrosion. Anti-corrosion sprays usually provide a heavy waxy coating to protect metal surfaces from rust and corrosion caused by saltwater and salt spray. I will spray battery connections, the engine, power trim and tilt components and trailer parts to stop or slow the corrosion process. There are many types of anti-corrosion sprays, just make sure that what you use is intended for what it is used on.

Another item not specifically for fishing, but that works great on early morning blast offs in the rain, is a paintball mask. There are some expensive paintball masks and there are some masks made specifically for boating, but for less than $20 a good mask can be purchased at Wal-Mart. The mask will have a pair of goggles and a face guard. Coat the goggle lens with anti-fog or Rain-X and you will be ready to stare directly into rain at 40, 50, 60 or more mph. It is a cheap price to pay to avoid hiding behind the windscreen and getting stung by raindrops at speed.

I wish I could name all of the other low cost gizmos and gadgets that work great, like LED keychain lights, Banana Boat Sport Sunscreen Stick for lips, neoprene reel covers to prevent reel rash, neoprene wading socks, Abec 5 bearings from Boca Bearing (, but there just isn't room. So all I can say is hopefully I have given enough information to pique your interest into joining the junkie club. Not so much to have you enjoy these great products, but at least it will assure that I will not be in the club alone.