Nothing spoils a day on the water like equipment hassles. If you are a tournament angler, a problem like tangled line or a crankbait stuck in the carpet can cost you valuable time. Even if you are fishing for fun, those issues can put you in a bad mood and affect your fishing. But cheer up! There are tons of inexpensive gadgets to help make an angler’s life easier. Here are some of my favorites.
1. The Catch
The Catch is a magnetic hook holder that attaches easily to any rod using a small neoprene o-ring. Not all rods are equipped with hook holders, and this is one of the best and easiest to use after-market holders I’ve found. The Big Catch is the size most likely to benefit bass fishermen, and it costs $8.49. The neoprene o-ring lasts a LONG time, even in the Arizona sun. http://www.getthecatch.com
2. In-Deck Took Garage
My new Ranger has an in-deck tool garage built right in – just in front of the console. It is one of the handiest things ever. No more hunting for those darn pliers or scissors; they ride there just fine, so they are always handy. Installing one yourself is simply using a template to cut a small opening in the carpet and deck. Trust me on this one, you will think it is worth the time and effort.
Bonus item: If you aren’t wild about cutting a hole in your boat, caddies are available that clip onto the seat pole.
3. Rod Sox
Rod Sox rank right up there with the world’s greatest inventions. Think fire, the wheel, Rod Sox. I don’t care what kind of organizer or rod holder you have in your locker, those things are somehow going to get stuck between the rod and the fishing line, and you’re going to end up having to take out a giant handful of rods and untangle the mess before you can even think about getting a line in the water.
Your rods can all be neatly arranged in a rod locker when you start, but bounce over a few waves and make a few turns, and somehow the rods start weaving themselves together like a Navajo rug. Rod Sox puts all that in behind you. I don’t know how anybody even fishes without these unless they only bring one rod along. Rod Sox is a steal at a mere $7 to $9. https://www.tacklewarehouse.com/Rod_Sox_Casting_/descpage-RSOXC.html?from=BASRES
4. Rubber Nails
Yeah, it’s not a joke. Rubber nails are a finesse angler’s best friend. Squeezing a split shot onto light line is just asking for a lost fish. That pinching seriously weakens the line. The solution is to use a small bullet sinker and keep it in place with a rubber nail. Just slip the sinker onto the line, then insert the rubber nail into the base of the sinker. Pull the pointy end tight from the tip of the weight, and your sinker is held securely without damaging the line. You can even change the length of your leader quickly and easily. You can even use one to peg a glass bead on the line and let the sinker slide freely.https://www.tacklewarehouse.com/Bullet_Weights_Rubber_T-Stops_18pk/descpage-BWRTST.html?from=BASRES
5. Fishing Line Conditioner
Is there anything worse than line that casts like a Slinky? Dunking your reel in the drink might help a little, but using a line conditioner is the best way to keep your line casting smoothly. A good fishing line isn’t cheap, so keep yours in good shape. This protects the line from UV rays, takes the kinks out, and even makes your casts longer and smoother. Don’t believe it? You can get a trial size for a buck. Four ounces will run you just under $9. You can even use it to coat the insides of your tackle boxes to prevent corrosion and rust. Check it out! https://www.tacklewarehouse.com/Kevin_VanDams_Fishing_Line__Lure_Conditioner/descpage-VDLL.html?from=BASRES
6. Crankbait Covers: The Fish Clipper
Kids, dogs, carpets, and fingers – are just a few things that treble hooks can latch onto when they are on the boat's deck or in the rod locker. Slipping one hook onto the reel just doesn’t cut it. Those trebles always seem to get embedded somewhere other than a hawg jaw. The best solution I’ve found for this problem is the Fish Clipper. This little gadget has magnets inside that grab hold of the hooks. It’s designed to clip to the rod AND the crankbait, so it securely holds the bait. Since you can attach it anywhere on the rod, you can still use your Rod Sox with the Fish Clipper. My old dog loves to prance around the boat and kiss every fish, so the Fish Clipper makes me feel much more at ease – I know I’m not going to be doing any impromptu veterinary surgery no matter how excited Rosie gets. They are only about $9 to $15.
7. Oval Split Rings
Did you ever see something so simple yet ingenious that all you could do was smack your forehead and ask yourself, “Why didn’t I think of that?” That was my reaction the first time I saw oval split rings. Split rings are the bane of my existence. No matter how carefully I tie it onto a round split ring, the line always ends up right where the little wires meet. Before you know it, the line has slipped between the coils where it gets pinched in a very unfriendly way. Oval split rings make tying on crankbaits so much easier. The split is on the long side, so the line just plain NEVER gets stuck between the wires. The first time I saw these, I bought a ton of them and switched over every one of my crankbaits. Nowadays, some of the better bait brands come with oval split rings already installed, but just in case you need to do some replacing, here’s where you can get them: https://www.tacklewarehouse.com/Worth_Company_Power_Oval_Split_Rings_15pk/descpage-WORTHRG.html?from=BASRES
8. The Absorber
So, how much did you pay for your bass boat? $60,000? $80,000? With that kind of investment, I’m sure you’d like to keep that rig looking fine, which means a quick wipe-down every time you take that beauty out of the water. Mud, spots, and a big scum line on the hull aren’t going to win you points with any potential sponsors. The Absorber is a synthetic chamois that does an amazing job on the boat. It works much better than a towel and hardly takes up any room on the boat. It comes in a plastic tube that can be used for years.
I know firsthand because I’ve had two on my boat for over ten years, and these towels are still going strong. When you’re done using them, rinse them out (we pull the livewell plug and hold the Absorbers in the outflow), then wring them out and roll them up. Our towels have survived the Arizona desert heat for over a decade. Definitely worth the $10.54. Make sure you get two so your non-boater can share the fun.
9. Drop Shot Weight Keeper System
I have a Dobyn’s spinning rod with an excellent little keeper attached. Instead of being a closed loop, this keeper is open at the bottom so that you can slip a drop-shot line through it. Without something like that, a drop-shot rod is one of the hardest rigs to store. You can slip the hook onto the reel or a conventional keeper, but that line and weight will swing around and get wrapped up on everything. There is a solution. First of all, a Dobyn’s Rod. Barring that, get yourself a Drop Shot Weight Keeper system and install it on your rod. It’s easy, and it will make your life SO much easier.
10. Ardent Smart Cull
Culling fish can be a nightmare. Sure, you can use floating colored balls on the fish and write down the weight of each color, but that means that every time you catch a fish, you have to weigh it, then change the list. And have you ever forgotten to change the list and tossed a good fish overboard. It gives you the shudders just to think of it. The Ardent Smart Cull makes much more sense – the weight is actually on the float. Just turn the dials to change the weight when you cull the fish. A glance into the livewell lets you see all the weights bobbing around on top of the water. Each ball can record a weight of up to 15 pounds 15 ounces. No more balance beam and stressing the fish. (Which can make them shrink a bit – a real bummer on a lake with a length limit.) https://www.tacklewarehouse.com/Ardent_Smart_Cull_6/descpage-ARSMC.html?from=BASRES
So there you have it. There are many more great gadgets for bass fishermen, but these 10 are a good start. They will keep you better organized and less stressed and help you spend more time fishing and less time-solving problems.
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