In a normal year, we’d mention that baseball’s Opening Day (originally scheduled for March 26) was a good time to start thinking about fishing season, which usually comes soon after the Boys of Summer start playing again.
But even without baseball, it’s a good time to start rooting through your tackle box, tossing out the old stuff, polishing up that which is still good, and maybe making a wish list of things you’d love to toss in there.
So we did a little Internet shopping and came up with some really neat gadgets and gear that any fishing person would love to have.
Line Loader. New year often means buying some new spools of line. After a year or two of use, your old fishing line can get worn, frayed, creased or otherwise in need of replacement. But buying some new spools of line calls for that age-old chore of re-spooling the line on your reel. So this ingenious device from Piscifun caught our eye. Put your new line–mono or braid–on the spooler and just reel it onto your reel! Brilliant! Around $52 on Amazon
Knot Tying Tool. Wish we had one of these when we were kids. The Hook-Eze Knot Tying Tool makes tying a new line onto a hook a snap. Run the line through the hook eye, snap it into the Hook Eze device, make a few turns, trim off the extra with the cutter mounted on the back and you’re done! Fits everything from standard 4/0 size down to a tiny No. 28 hook. And the Hook Eze doubles as an effective carrier to protect both hook and your gear when traveling. All for about $12.50 on Amazon.
A Good Working Knife. Every serious fisherman needs a good fillet knife. Both for cleaning your caught fish, but for anything else that may come up on a fishing trip. Fillet knives come in all shapes and sizes, with prices from around $8 up to as much as $150.
On the lower end, we liked the Mercer Culinary Millenia 7-inch flexible fillet knife, with a high carbon, stain resistant Japanese blade, ergonomic Santoprene and polypropylene handle, which weighs about five ounces. About $15.
A good medium-priced fillet knife is the Fish Elite Razor Sharp Blood Red 9 Inch Fillet Knife.It’s got an offset blade angle for greater precision and sight-lines when cutting, and comes with a protective nylon sheath. Around $39.
If money is no object, try the Wusthof Classic 7-inch fillet knife. German made, this knife features a full tang carbon stainless blade forged from a single block of steel. The company’s Precision Edge Technology produces a blade that’s 20 percent sharper and with twice the sharpness retention over other models. It comes with a quality leather sheaf. This is a knife that should last a lifetime. Around $140.
All of these knives can be purchased on Amazon.
Japanese Fish Scaler. The Japanese make wonderful hand tools, for almost every purpose there is! This ingenuous device will help you quickly de-scale a striped bass or other deep-sea fish. It’s got brass serrated sawteeth to quickly and efficiently remove scales, even the hard to reach places near fins and belly. The wooden handle is ergonomically designed to fit comfortably in the hand. The three grooves in the top are designed to catch loose scales and keep them from flying off onto your table or clothes.
About $18 on Amazon.
Hands-free Night Light. Someone gave us one of these for Christmas a year or two ago, and we laughed, thinking it was a gag gift. Then we used it four times in the next two weeks, doing odd jobs around house and car! If you fish at night, or so anything else on and around your boat at night, you’ll quickly come to love this useful ultra-thin headlamp. The insulated adjustable band fits comfortably on any size coconut, and the 300 lumens LED light casts plenty of illumination where you need it. Recharges with your USB port. Around $60 on Amazon.
Hand Protection for Fishing. Hooks, knives, fast-running line…a fisherman’s hands are in constant danger of nicks, cuts and slices. The Bubba Ultimate Fillet Gloves help provide protection when fishing or doing anything else outdoors. The gloves have a Kevlar layer to help protect against cuts and punctures, the palms and fingers are non-slip and the fingertips allow you to work your dashboard or telephone touchscreen. They come in a variety of sizes to fit all hands. About $30-68 on Amazon.
If you’re a surf-fisher, or fish for species likely to take your line and run with it, try the Aquaskinz Finger Shield. Designed for either hand, this finger-guard contains Kevlar material for protection and wraps securely around the wrist. If you use super braid line and catch a fish that wants to strip out the line, these finger guards will be very helpful. Around $18 on Amazon.
Aerate Your Livewell. The Marine Metal Aeratr Bubble Box will provide aeration inside your livewell or beatbox, keeping your baitfish happy and active. The battery operated pump sits outside the baitwell and the air hose goes inside. Lasts for hours on two C-cells. About $8 on Amazon.
Lightweight Grill. So you’ve caught a few beauties, filleted them perfectly with your new fillet knife … now it’s eatin’ time! This UCO Flatpack Portable Grill and Fire Pit is just the right size for grilling a few fish fillets on the back of your boat, or on the dock back in port. It folds down to 1.5 inches thick and can fit in a backpack, but the stainless steel grill is 13 x 10 inches, and once the fish is cooked, it doubles as a fire pit. Priced at $30 on Amazon.