Hopefully, we’ve seen the last of the snow and can start thinking about warm-weather outdoor sports like fishing, camping or trying to sneak a shot at those woodchucks awaking from their winter nap.
And while we’re thinking about them, here are a few recently introduced outdoor toys some might want to add to their equipment. Let’s take a close look at a few good choices.
Bass anglers, especially those who fish tournaments, are probably familiar with Kevin VanDam, the winningest pro bass angler of all time. He and several other fishing-savvy guys have designed and developed a way to call up fish. Called Hydrowave, it incorporates the latest in patented sound-emitting technology that effectively imitates the audible underwater sounds of baitfish and fish-feeding activities. Their research has proven it stimulates feeding impulses in game fish and triggers a feeding frenzy. All of the sounds are programmed into the Hydrowave unit’s software. Measuring 4×4.5×1.5 inches, the Hydrowave is incased in a 100-percent waterproof, injection-molded housing. Testing has proved it can handle any rough boating conditions. Simple to operate, the Hydrowave is powered by the boat’s 12-volt system and can be mounted on the bow of the boat with a speaker that can be easily mounted on the underside of the trolling motor.
Does it really work? Kevin VanDam had it in his boat when he blew away the field in this year’s Bassmaster Classic with a record-setting performance.
The manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $390 (www.hydrowave.com).
Several years ago, I tested Doug Hannon’s new WaveSpin spinning reels in bass tournaments and by putting them in the hands of some of my fishing clients, and they really are tangle-free. This year, he’s introduced two new models, the ZTR 1500 and ZTR 3000 with four ball bearings and a 5.0:1 gear ratio. Designed with the same no-tangle technology, the new WaveSpins have a lightweight graphite body and rotar, can accommodate left- and right-handed anglers, are equipped with a handy never-fail line clip and come with a one-year warranty. The ZTR 1500 weighs eight ounces, the ZTR 3000, 10 ounces.
Suggested retail price is $46 (www.wavespinreel.com).
The iPhone has become a daily part of our lives, and OtterBox has introduced a great way to insure the protection of these handheld communication implements with its Defender Series cases. It’s a polycarbonate shell and built-in screen protector completely encasing the phone, and is finished with an impact-absorbing silicone skin that covers all parts and plugs, but still allows easy access and use. For carrying convenience, the Defender has a holster-style swivel belt clip that doubles as a media stand.
Suggested retail prices range from $15-$90, depending on the type of phone (www.otterbox.com).
I’ve worn the same Bolle Fisherman’s sunglasses since I retired 12 years ago. I wear them every time I am on the water from mid-May to mid-September, usually three or four days per week. In February, I got two new pair of Bolle’s new Marine Collection series, and in the two months I’ve had them, I’ve used them every day, on and off the water, in sunny Florida. They were definitely a good choice.
The Bolle Marine Collection actually offers 15 different styles from which to choose. My selections were the Python Inland Gold and the Tetra. The Marine Collection features two specialized lens hues, Inland Gold for low light and Offshore Blue for the harsher light of open water. Both are polarized, a must feature for on-the-water activity. It eliminates distracting glare and enables one to see below the water surface. Seeing beneath the surface is not only desirable for safe boating, but I’ve caught my share of bass because I was able to see underwater logs, rocks and even fish at times.
Another feature of these glasses I like is their reflective treatment designed to eliminate backside reflections, providing a continued clear front view. The hydrophobic coating also disperses water from the lens, hinders smudging by sunscreen and skin oils. One of the most important features to look for when choosing sunglasses is, how secure and comfortable they are. These glasses have Thermogrip temple tips and nose pads that remain flexible and comfortable all day.
Suggested retail price is $130-$170 (www.bolle.com).
With the spring crappie spawn just around the corner, now’s the time to upgrade to a good rod and reel. You can begin with the Bass Pro Shops (BPS) Crappie Maxx Mighty Lite Low-Profile Baitcast Reel. What caught my eye on this three-ball-bearing reel was its 6.3:1 gear ratio that picks up 24 inches of line per handle turn. Other features include a 7.7-ounce graphite frame, aluminum spool with a line capacity of 100 yards of 10-pound-test monofilament, zirconia line guide and external magnetic braking system.
Suggested retail price is $45.
My rod choice is the BPS 10-foot, two-piece Crappie Maxx Signature Series Universal Crappie rod. This rod is constructed of a well-balanced IM6 graphite blank featuring a universal reel seat accommodating spinning and baitcasting reels. It has a moderate action, PAC Bay Hialoy guides and EVA grips.
Suggested retail price is $45 (www.basspro.com).
Spring is a time for adding those much-needed new lures many of us have been seeing pros use to catch lunkers on the Outdoor Channel. I understand completely, we do need them and when we get them, I’ve found just the place to keep them — the XPS Stalker Rigging Tackle Bag.
This gray/black/red bag measures 22×16.5×10 inches, has a zipdown, molded front shelf working platform, heavy-duty 840 denier, water-resistant polyester construction with a reinforced bottom. The fully padded main compartment holds eight No. 360 or five No. 370 utility boxes, has integrated binders for organization, rubber mesh back pockets, double-flap side pockets, external pliers holder and a molded holder for your sunglasses. The carry handle is wrapped neoprene, and it comes with a removable oversized padded shoulder strap.
Suggested retail price is $60 (www.basspro.com).
One of the greatest electronic driving aids ever introduced was the automobile navigator/GPS. I’ve had a Magellan Maestro for at least 10 years and use it frequently, not only in New York state, but whenever I go on trips. When I fly to hunting and/or fishing destinations and rent a car, the Magellan is always in my suitcase. It saves a lot of time getting to and from the airport, finding my outfitter’s lodge and finding the nearest location to get my hunting/fishing license.
But I’ll be upgrading to a new Magellan, the RoadMate 9055. This unit has some very convenient features that begin with its seven-inch touch screen. In addition, the 9055 has a hands-free calling and noise-cancelling microphone with Bluetooth technology, a one-touch favorites menu that allows bookmarking destinations and searches. Another important driving aid it provides is free lifetime traffic information to help avoid traffic jams, detours and construction zones. Other features include a Highway Lane Assist that shows realistic highway signs to guide you and ensure choosing the correct lane when approaching an interchange or exit.
The RoadMate has a built-in AAA TourBook for the US and Canada that includes ratings and descriptions on AAA approved hotels and restaurants. This feature doesn’t require a AAA membership. All directions are clearly audible and include street names, which way to turn, multiple destination routing, A/V input so you can watch movies or listen to music during downtime. If you’re a AAA member, you can get their member roadside assistance phone number and exact location displayed right on the screen.
Suggested retail price for the RoadMate 9055 is $300 (www.magellangps.com).
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