If you like fishing gadgets— and what bass angler doesn't — you're going to like some of the accessories that will appear in tackle shops this season.
For example, several companies have come up with more and better quality pliers, scissors and fix-up gizmos designed to make fishing more fun and efficient.
In this year's roundup, we lumped tackle storage containers in with accessories because you're probably going to need somewhere to store and help you organize all of that fun stuff.
Tackle storage options continue to expand, with more soft-sided bags, bulk storage boxes, utilities and traditional hip-roof boxes added to the lineup.
Here are some of the new accessories that caught our eyes:
The premium TEC series offers an all-new lineup of angler tools and accessories, while other additions have been made to the value-priced Classic Series.
Items of pertinent interest to bass anglers in the TEC series are:
Digital Scale and Culling Kit weighs fish up to 35 pounds, provides automatic culling memory and a double-sided readout, and comes with color-coded culling clips, note card and marker, all in a weatherproof case.
Engineering elements and the feature-packed kit earned it the author's choice as the best of the 2008 accessories.
Superline Shears snip all sizes of braid with ease. The line-gripping, serrated blades have an oversized spring-loaded pivot.
Power Pliers in 6- and 8-inch sizes have oversized components for added strength. The corrosion-resistant pliers are made of forged and treated 420 stainless steel.
Classic additions include:
Line Spooling Station comes in a compact case and makes it easier to spool line on most baitcast and spinning reels. It has an axle free spool holder and sturdy reel seat. It comes with a line stripper.
Angler's Super Glue comes in an ink pen style plastic cartridge and has a tiny, no-clog applicator for placing a small dab of glue in the right spot. It's odorless, clear and dries in less than four seconds.
Line Spooling Bag holds up to six filler spools and allows spooling directly from the bag.
The company also has come up with tackle storage products. They are:
A large soft-sided Tackle Bag contains eight large utility boxes, minicooler, bait binder, accessory pouches and line dispensing station, and an interior light that turns on and off when the bag is opened and closed.
The versatile Fishing Backpack with Bait Binder carries tackle and a lunch. The bottom provides a cooler compartment that holds up to 10 12-ounce cans or it can be filled with four additional utility boxes. The upper section holds four utility boxes while the outer pack has a removable lure binder. There are exterior pockets, places for pliers and scissors, and padded straps. (www.berkley-fishing.com; 877-777-3850)
2. Eagle Claw
Lazer Tools pliers in 6- and 8-inch models are made of chrome vanadium coated with either platinum black or titanium gold finishes. Handles are a molded double-compound rubber. (www.fishlazer.com; 720-941-8700)
You can carry everything you need in the Ultimate Tackle Storage System, a soft bag that has a large top-loading section and contains six big Tuff Tainer utilities. The front includes a drop-down shelf that has a workspace and special pockets for tool storage. There's a big pouch on the back and big pockets on the sides.
New Strike Bags in three sizes have hook-and-loop fasteners on the top flap to secure three or more utility boxes held within. They have exterior pockets and tool holders.
The Tuff Tainer Satchel (two sizes) is a utility box with a carrying handle. Both sizes provide deep storage space.
The Maximizer Cube offers room for more than 50 large baits in a soft-sided hanging rack system. The water-resistant bag has hard plastic racks inside for hanging lures vertically. It has large storage pockets on the sides and a place for fishing tools on the front. (www.flambeau outdoors.com; 440-632-1631)
The Fisherman's Glove makes handling fish easier with the nonslip textured grip on the rubber gloves. They come with a hook-and-loop fastener belt attachment that allows the gloves to be at your fingertips when needed.
Stink 'N Slime Hand Cleaner is formulated to remove slime and nasty odors from your hands, livewells or landing nets. Ingredients in the 8-ounce bottle are biodegradable.
The 3444 Sportsman net has soft, knotless micro-mesh with a rubberized, tangle-free coating that protects the fish and prevents hooks from catching in the netting. A flat, shallow bottom panel supports the fish and makes it easier to retrieve them. It has a 20-by-23-inch hoop and the handle telescopes and locks anywhere between 24 and 48 inches. (www.frabill.com; 800-558-1005)
The Hooked On Fishing ornament is one of the new additions to Hallmark's line of Keepsake Ornaments, available online and at Hallmark Gold Crown stores. The ornament features a replica of the BASS shield with a 3-D lunker and sells for $12.50. (www.hallmark.com; 800-425-5627)
6. Infinite Innovations
The Nite III's (pronounced "eyes") is the next generation of black lights for night fishing and earned the author's runner-up choice. Why? Because it utilizes 10 LEDs that make your line visible up to 100 feet away for more than 50,000 hours of use. It's small, too, measuring less than 5 inches long and 2 inches tall, so it takes up little space on the boat gunwale. It fastens with suction cups and comes with a 15-foot power cord. (www.niteiiis.com; 800-545-9633)
The Rescue Stick offers a baton shaped, throwable emergency rescue inflatable that weighs less than a pound and stows easily in a boat. Once the "stick" hits the water near a victim, it inflates into a horseshoe shape. Like other Mustang inflatables, it functions on a CO2 cartridge and can be rearmed after use.
The Inflatable Fishing Vest answers the call for a vest with pockets to carry tackle and accessories. The vest only inflates manually so it's unaffected by water while wading or in a rainstorm. It comes with an over-the-shoulder fish bag. (www.mustang survival.com; 360-676-1782)
A pair of new Softsiders includes a large bag with several storage options, four 3700 utility boxes and expandable sides. The large bag has a detachable, mesh hanging organizer and adjustable elastic bands on the top. A smaller version includes a 3500 utility box that contains lures, bobbers and hooks.
The 3758 Guide Series Bag offers bulk storage inside and has a 3750 ProLatch StowAway that fits in an exterior, hard-molded holder. It comes with a 3543 spinnerbait box and a small utility box that fit inside and it has a molded handle and shoulder strap. Two new worm wraps also have been added to the Guide Series.
Extreme Guide Series Cases come in three sizes and provide anglers with waterproof, crushproof and lockable storage for valuable items. For under $20, you get protection for valuables in a see-through plastic case that can be stuffed in a rod box or tackle bag or tossed onto the floor of a boat. (www.planomolding.com; 630-552-3111)
Three collector fillet knives have been added: the Witch's Tooth, which has a small rock placed inside the curly birch and reindeer antler handle; the Classic, a Finnish style with reindeer antler and curly birch; and the Rosewood & Eagle, designed to represent the classic Nordic symbol of strength and power. (www.rapala.com; 952-933-7060)
Two gadgets designed to assist boat anglers are the RaptorFin for trolling motors and the RaptorCap for fishing electronics.
The Fin attaches to the top of the trolling motor housing to provide more stability of the electric motor when in current, wind and shallow water. It reduces vibrations and vertical movement of the bow in rough water, as well as cavitation issues when running the motor in shallow water.
RaptorCap is a custom-fit visor for fishfinders to help make them easier to read in bright sunlight. There's a model to fit most electronics and they attach with hook-and-loop fasteners. (www.raptorfishing.com; 630-725-9373)
11. Rod Wrap
Having trouble hanging on to your fishin' rods? GripWax was created to help solve that problem. Simply rub the wax bar on your grips to make them tacky and reduce the slippage problem. There are two formulas, one for when the temperature is above 60 degrees and another for colder weather. The wax is thermodynamic, thus the heat from your hands activates the polymers to increase gripping power. (www.better waysproducts.com; 541-330-6565)
The Tournament Bag headlines the company's new Pro Series Gear. It includes four 9-by-14-inch utility boxes and two large spinnerbait boxes in the main compartment, while the side pockets accommodate smaller utilities. The bag has several exterior pockets for miscellaneous gear.
The Grab and Go Tackle Bag is for the angler on the go. It comes with four 7-by-11-inch utility boxes and has exterior pockets. (www.snagproof.com; 800-762-4773)
A series of travel bags, made of 500 denier PVC/nylon/PVC materials, were built to protect contents from the elements. Each bag has a wide mouth opening with roll-down facility for content management. The largest version holds nearly 16 gallons of gear and they all have a zippered outer compartment. (www.snowbeeusa.com; 626-453-8377)
A series of tackle, gear and travel bags now carry the SpiderWire name. They are said to be tough and durable, made of 1680 denier, water-resistant sport fabric. All have molded hard bottoms and fishing gear organizers, and some have built-in line spooling stations. One version is designed for backpacking. (www.spiderwire.com; 877-777-3850)
15. Well Mate
The Livewell Caddy is a 14-gallon container made of a strong yet flexible plastic that fits most boat livewells and can be removed easily for transporting fish to the cleaning station or weigh-in. It has slotted openings on the sides for draining water, although a Competition Model for tournament anglers holds 5 inches of water in its base. Rope handles are fastened to the top. (www.well-mate.net; 865-995-9622)
16. Wildlife Foundation of Florida
The 2008 BASS Calendar features amazing color photos by renowned photographer Glen Lau. All profits from the sale of the calendar will go to the new Florida Bass Conservation Center. (www.wildlifefoundationofflorida.com; 800-988-4889)
Floating tool additions include a nut driver set with four sizes of sockets; a screwdriver set that has two Phillips and one flat tip; a prop wrench; and a wrench set that includes two wrenches with different sizes on each end.
Wall and overhead rod racks hold from six to 14 rods, depending upon the model. www.xtools.us; 800-334-9105)
TEC Digital Scale and Culling Kit
The scale and culling kit ($69.99) from Berkley deserves attention from anglers at all levels.
The scale is easy to hold, has double-sided readouts and is accurate within 1/10 of an ounce. It stores up to eight fish in memory and tells which fish is smaller. It comes with eight poly culling clips attached to colored ropes. ($49.99).
Nite III's black light
Armed with 10 light-emitting diodes (LED) instead of the traditional black light bulbs, the Nite III's illuminates fluorescent lines up to 100 feet out. The compact case with an adjustable bracket attaches to the boat with suction cups and has a 15-foot 12V power cord. The LED lights are said to last 50,000 hours and draw less than .1 amp. The unit sells for around $50.
Extreme Guide Cases
For less than $20, you can protect expensive sunglasses, hand-held GPS, iPods, cell phones, digital scales and anything else of value in these new boxes from Plano. There are three sizes of the bulk bottom boxes that provide waterproof, crushproof and lockable storage. The pressure-release latches provide an airtight seal.