Tools of the Trade

Tools of the Trade

"Where is my BogaGrip?" I asked no one in particular, but I was looking at everyone in the boat. No one knew the answer, not even Sterling who is the keeper of all things important in our combined collection of rods, reels and every other bell and whistle that has to do with fishing. "If it's not clipped onto your Wade Aid I have no idea where it is" Sterling replied. I told everyone to go on and that I'd be along when I found it.

As the crew moved away from the boat in the pre-dawn darkness I started looking in every place I could think of that might hold my precious fish landing tool. I was still looking through the first compartment when I heard the familiar sound of someone's topwater lure getting thrashed by something big. I quickened my search then but someone else had hooked up and from a little farther away I heard someone else whoop as they hooked up. About right then I decided that I didn't need the tool that bad for this wade.

My first cast yielded a huge blowup and hookup with line peeling off of my reel only to have the fish spit the lure but stuff like that just gets me going. My next fish was just as explosive and fast and it was light enough to see the ladyfish as she sped away. This one didn't spit the lure though and as she finally came to me. I reached for my Boga which of course wasn't there, so rather than using my handy dandy tool that allows me to not have to touch a slimy, yucky ladyfish with two sets of treble hooks attached to it, I had to actually grab the fish by hand. Okay I'm exaggerating a little with my description of the ladyfish and my disdain for grabbing them, but I really did miss my Boga.

Our first stop that morning yielded a lot of action for everyone but not many keepers for me. A couple of redfish made the grade though, and I scheduled them an appointment with the BBQ committee later that evening. We moved to our second spot; and while the action wasn't as fast and furious as at our first stop, the fish were bigger here. I had my personal limit of five trout in thirty minutes and was trying to coax a flounder or two to keep them company on my stringer but none were having any of it, so I made my way back to the boat to wait on the other guys and to renew my search. I wanted my BogaGrip back.

I found the peppered beef jerky from Prasek's first and then a cold drink, so my search for the errant fish grippers had to wait a tad longer. I mean, one doesn't rush while enjoying Prasek's smoked meats, and in fact, I think that's written into one of the Hillje city ordinances somewhere.

Okay, some folks are probably wondering by now, why am I making such a big deal about wade fishing without a BogaGrip. To be honest it really isn't a big deal, other than the price they're not cheap you know and the thought of losing one makes me cringe. It's just that you get used to using them, and like any other tool when you don't have it, you miss it. Yes you can grab fish with your hand and you can land them with a net, but I like landing them with the Boga especially larger fish.

I think we all agree that when releasing, the less a fish is handled the better the fish will be. With the BogaGrip you do not have to touch the fish with your hand, and in the case of speckled trout, risk wiping the protective slime off the fish and possibly causing harm. It also allows you to keep your fingers and hands farther away from the hooks while keeping a lock on the fish so it can't escape. I've never lost a fish after I've gotten the grips locked on its lip, but I've lost plenty and have gotten stuck with some sharp hooks after I've grabbed them with my hand.

I've had some friends chuckle when they see me using the Boga; they say they prefer to do things the old-fashioned way and use their hands to land their fish while wading. I'm quick to point out that if they prefer to do things the old-fashioned way that they should immediately sell their state of the art Shimano reels and pick up some old reels with no drag and no levelwind on them. Hey, progress is what it is. If it makes things better, I say "Why not?"

When my friends and son got back to the boat we searched together, but my BogaGrip was not on board. So I had a thirty-minute boat ride to think of a really good excuse to give my wife when I told her that I needed to spend $120.00 for a new one. Oh that was something to look forward to not!

If you're interested in the BogaGrip you can buy the 15# version that I use at Bass Pro, Fishing Tackle Unlimited, Gander Mountain, Sportsman's Warehouse, and a number of other tackle outlets for $119.99. You can also learn more at

Oh and by the way, I found my Boga right where I had left it on the kitchen table after cleaning it the night before. Sterling needs to do a better job of keeping up with my stuff.

Be Safe,