Normally, you won't read too many product reviews here in the fly fishing section of Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine. It's not that I don't like new cool tackle and gear I do. But, I generally would rather talk about fishing than fishing gear. This month's article though, breaks with tradition and showcases several items that have proven either through versatility, originality, or sheer fun to be well-worth their purchase price.
Brinkmann Waterproof Go-LED Mini-lights
I stumbled on to these lights in the hardware section of a local Target department store recently. According to the package, the button-shaped lights were waterproof and had a continuous run-time rated at 170 hours. They looked like they had potential as lights for the interior of a skiff or maybe a kayak, so I bought a pack to experiment. Price: 6 bucks.
I first mounted the lights under the front and rear decks of my J-16 skiff with adhesive-backed Velcro pads. Honestly I didn't expect much, but when I turned the lights on I couldn't believe how good they looked. The normally dark and cramped areas beneath the decks were suddenly bathed in a clear cool light. I have since tried the lights inside my kayaks and also in several tool boxes and they worked great. Although they are not designed for extreme environments, the Brinkmann Waterproof Go-LED Lights are ideal for a variety of potentially wet situations where hard-wiring is impractical or unnecessary. Thumbs up!
Pentax Optio WP 5.0 Waterproof Camera
Priced around $250, the Pentax Optio WP 5.0 mega pixel camera was one of the first waterproof point-and-shoot digital cameras to gain wide popularity among fishermen, especially kayakers. The compact Optio WP offered a combination of quality and durability (waterproof to 5ft.) anglers were thirsty for. I bought an Optio WP several years ago, and after thousands of on-the-water shots, it is still going strong. I love this little camera.
The Optio WP is compact- about the size and weight of a deck of cards. It fits neatly in your front shirt pocket and won't interfere with your casting motion. The controls and settings are intuitive, and it is easy to review/delete photos on the water. The quality of the Optio WP's photographs is more than adequate for 90% of the folks who are likely to use it, and for those who put a little planning into their shots, the Optio WP can turn out really impressive results.
In addition to still shots, the Optio WP records video. The built-in microphone is pretty much worthless, but the quality of the video is surprisingly good considering the compact Optio WP was designed primarily to take still images. Some anglers take full advantage of the video feature and clip the lightweight Optio WP to their caps for a "helmet-cam" effect. And although it's risky, I have suspended the Optio WP below a buoy and tossed it into schooling fish in clear water. The results were cool.
The latest version of the Optio is the option-loaded W60, released by Pentax in 2008. I have not had a chance to check out the new Optio W60 firsthand, but have read mixed reviews on it. Perhaps Pentax shouldn't have messed with a good thing. No doubt the W60 is up against some stiff competition, namely from the crushproof, freezeproof, waterproof, and more widely available Olympus Stylus 1030.
If I ever have to replace my Optio WP, I'll look hard at the Olympus Stylus. It is a darn tough camera. Until then, I'll keep dunking, splashing, tossing and having fun with my old Optio WP.
Fly Fisherman's Guide to Saltwater Prey, by Aaron J. Adams, Ph.D.
Fly fishing literature needed a book like Aaron J. Adams' Fly Fisherman's Guide to Saltwater Prey. The book s a simple catalogue of saltwater prey species and shows the flies that imitate them. C are provided species listed along with a Adams then matches popular fly patterns to the prey species and includes s and tying tips/comments for each pattern.
Fly Fisherman's Guide to Saltwater Prey, is a book that is destined to be used time and time again by readers, not just stuck on a shelf. It is a winning combination of science, art, and angling wisdom. Get a copy and enjoy it. ISBN 978-0-8117-3460-8.