Fishing season is upon us, and it’s time to check your equipment and to fix, replace and definitely add something new to that already overflowing tackle box.
Here are a few “must have” items I’ve seen during my visit to Bass Pro Shops in Auburn, as well as in local tackle shops and in magazines.
As someone who has recently acquired a much-needed new boat, I’m in need of new electronics, especially an LDC depth/fish finder. The new Humminbird Down Imaging 570DI is just what I’m looking for. It’s truly a whole new way to look under the boat. As a fishing guide, I have to find fish. Weekend/tournament anglers also have limited fishing time and the same need.
The 570DI creates “snapshots” with high-frequency sound waves, showing any structure or activity beneath the boat. The picture is projected on the unit’s screen. Timber, brush, rocks and bridge pilings are all very clearly identified, while the 2D sonar locates and targets fish. The 570DI features a high-resolution, 12-level grayscale, 640 x 320-pixel, five-inch display, dual-beam and down imaging sonar with 2,400 watts output. It has user-friendly technology (just flip a switch) that makes finding and identifying the structure and fish easy. Manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $300 (www.humminbird.com).
Every fishing boat needs a good fishing net, and if you have a motorboat, keeping a paddle on board is a requirement. Frabill has come up with a way to have both by adding a paddle attachment to its Hiber-Net series. The 52-inch handle model net has a 24 x 22-inch bag that’s 24 inches deep, and the 72-inch handle model has a 27 x 31-inch bag, 32 inches deep. Anglers know regular nets are a pain when it comes to storage, but the Hiber-Net is designed to easily collapse and store in the handle. Both these nets are knotless and have a lightweight aluminum frame.
The new paddle option is a rugged polyproplane paddle blade, 6 1⁄2 x 14 inches, that slides over the open end of the Hiber-Net and locks into place with a heavy-duty steel pull pin. Siggested retail prices for the nets are $80 and $100, the paddle, $20 (www.frabill.com).
Keeping tackle dry until it’s time to use it won’t be a problem with the new Plano FTO Elite Big Water Bag. I recently saw this rugged tackle box, and it’s designed to be immune to rain, waves and rough handling. The lid extends over the main zipper to seal out the water, and if it’s being used around salt water, it just needs a hosing after use.
Included are two model 3700 Plano StowAway utility boxes (it will handle four), three water-resistant, zippered take-away bags, stored in the interior lid and sidewalls, and two rubberized side baskets. The FTO measures 21 x 13 x 11 inches. Suggested retail price is $100 (www.planomolding.com).
I’ve always said a good lure has to catch a fisherman first, then the fish, and that’s exactly what happened when I saw these new “fish-getters.”
The first is the Koppers Hollow Body Frog. This little top-water teaser won the Best Soft Lure Award at the 2010 International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades. It’s one of the most detailed and realistic I’ve ever seen — it’s realistic and anatomically correct with attention to details. And in the water, it does everything but croak. Designed to fish in the nastiest grass and weeds, the extra-soft hollow body allows its hooks to penetrate a fish’s mouth.
And speaking of hooks, it has two super-sharp, wide-gap hooks. This lure will catch anything, including pike and pickerel, not just bass. It’s offered in sizes of 2 1⁄4 and 2 5⁄8 inches and brown/black, green/yellow/tan/brown and yellow/black colors. Suggested retail price is $12 (www.koppersfishing.com).
Another new bait that will catch everything is the Rapala Clackin.’ This new lure also won an award from Field & Stream magazine as one of the “Best of Lures” for the year. This fine-tuned crankbait has a cadence rattle chamber that attracts fish, as does the SureSet Flash Feather Teaser Tail and X-Style finish. And it comes with a swimming lip and slow-slinking motion.
Designed to be used for casting or trolling, it runs from three to five feet deep, comes in 16 very attractive color choices, and 31⁄2- and 43⁄8-inch models. MSRP for the Clackin’ is $13 (www.Rapala.com).
Here is a new little spinner that is a real ‘eye catcher — walleye that is. The VMC Revolution Cracked Ice Spinner has high-performance Hydro Flow blades that offer full rotation at slower speeds, making them more versatile. And they definitely give off more ‘eye-attracting vibration and flash. The standard Fastgrip Point hooks actually provide 15 percent more penetration and three graduated, 15-pound barbs for a better hold. The rigging is done with quality 72-inch Sufix fluorocarbon leader and comes with an interchangeable clevis. The Revolution is also available with a single hook, tandem hooks and a 4 1⁄2-inch blade in chartreuse, clown, firetiger, golden shiner, purple and rainbow.