Years ago I wrote an article that appeared in Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine that was titled A Pocketful of Tackle. The premise was that a person did not need a ginormous tackle box or a boatload of gear to hit the water and catch fish. And, I will stand by what I wrote all those years ago…sort of. It just really depends on an angler’s focus.
With that said, if you know me, you will know that I am about as focused as a 10-week-old bird dog and can be easily distracted…”Look, squirrel!”
Now, what was I talking about? Seriously though, if I go out on a day of fishing for redfish, I can leave the house with a rod rigged with a floating line, some leader material, a dozen flies (4 patterns, 3 of each) and I can get the job done.
But wait, what if I see some birds working over trout in 5- to 8-feet of water? Well, now I need to add a rod with an intermediate line. Or, what about a big school of jacks? A whole other set up is needed. I’m guessing you are starting to see a pattern.
The point being, if you have only one species of fish that you are targeting in a certain type of water and, in only the best of conditions, it is very easy to become a minimalist. But now add into the mix that I am, in fact, a guide and do not always have the luxury of targeting only one species under perfect conditions. The answer to my problem…MORE GEAR!
Over the years I have often confessed to being a gear whore in the pages of this publication. However, it was not until I began packing recently to make the trek from Florida back to Texas that I realized there is not a psychiatrist nor enough medication in the whole country that could fix my “gear issues.”
The revelation came while attempting to cram the insane amount of gear I use in my guide business into the truck and, at the same time, still craving more.
Why more? Well, shortly before packing things up, I had been to the “ultimate crack house” for the fishing guide/fisherman – the ICAST/IFTD show in Orlando. Let me tell you, there are some great new products out there. So many that I cannot begin to tell you about them all so, I am going to pick and choose some of my favorites. Also, some of these products are not necessarily new but, I am seeing some of them for the first time because I skipped the show last year.
Let’s start with rods. As many of you probably already know I am a big fan of not only G.Loomis rods, but also of one-piece rods, in general. Well, G.Loomis has released a new rod that I think, after casting it, is going to be a spectacular redfish rod. The rod is called IMX Pro-1 and utilizes a new technology known as Conduit Core to create a smooth flex to mid-section that allows for throwing larger and heavier flies. The rod is designed for freshwater anglers who throw streamer patterns, however, it is made with saltwater-safe components. Better yet, it is a great casting rod with a great price point.
The next rod I fell in love with is the new bamboo rod from Thomas & Thomas. Now I am going to be honest in that I do not know a whole lot about it other than, if you like the idea of the nostalgia of fishing with a bamboo rod in the salt, this stick is nothing short of incredible. It is available in a range of weights for fishing everything from redfish to tarpon. And, while it is a pricey investment, it is a product that reflects the history of the sport yet has a modern feel to it.
Moving on, let me tell you about a Simms product I fell in love with. First is a reel pouch (koozie) that is ventilated. Apparently I missed this one last year but, am fully aware of it’s existence now that most of my reels in my boat are protected by them. The beauty of this product is that you can literally wash your reels while they remain in the pouch (water drains out) and the ventilation feature allows air flow to dry it.
Now let’s talk Yeti – Holy crap on a cracker! This company has gone nuts with new products. From the new half-gallon and gallon stainless steel Rambler jugs, all the way to products that enhance and make older products more user friendly – they had it all. The best though, is their new Panga Bags which are 100% waterproof and built tough enough to withstand the kind of abuse I dish out.
If you are a hardcore outdoorsman who travels a lot, you are going to want a couple of these bags. On my way home from Florida, I had all of my clothes packed in these bags in the bed of my truck. At one point, it started raining so bad traffic slowed to 15 mph. When I got home to Texas, everything was bone dry. Truly an amazing product that sets a new standard in dry bags.Believe me when I say, I have not even scratched the surface of what is new and exciting out there. However, I will leave you with this thought – whether you are a gear junky like me or just in search of a better mouse trap, start looking out for some of these products. You will be pleased.