Wishing, wanting, lusting – whatever we call our desire for new fishing tackle, it definitely comes to a head this time of year. Of course it's closing in on Christmas, but as I get older the holiday is more about eating and family time and watching my son open new presents and light up with the joy of a child on Christmas morning.
But for fishing tackle this is the time of year when all that new stuff we saw back in July becomes available to those of us who've been dying to get our hands on it. We're fortunate at Wired2fish to be the first to use a lot of the new products, sometimes before they are released at major events like ICAST and the Bassmaster Classic. It has quelled my anticipation but led me to realize we have a duty to give our take on some of our favorite new tackle this time of year.
Maybe you are letting folks know what to get you, maybe you're looking for your significant other who loves fishing and you don't know what to get them. So we all put our heads together and came up with more than 30 items that we think folks will enjoy adding to their fishing next season. These are some of my favorites for the 2012-2013 fishing seasons. More of Walker's and Terry's favorites will be coming in the next several days.
Minn Kota Talon, $1,449
To be perfectly honest, I was a bit skeptical about the shallow water anchoring systems until I got them and used them for a season. But now, while I'm sure I can live without them, I don't want to. They have served so many purposes this year, from launching a boat alone, to flipping and even fishing shallow areas at night. It's an invaluable tool now and has made me so much more efficient. It's a high priced item that really aids your ability to deal with things like wind and pressure. I'll have a full blog on what I learned from the Talon this year in the next month. But for now, I can say I love its easy install, easy programming and operation. There's no hydraulics to worry with and the grey poles on the back of the boat have been the hot conversation piece for me at local gas stations.
Lowrance HDS Touch, from $1,299
The new Lowrance depth finders appeal to the "techno-geek" in me. They operate more like a tablet or smart phone with intuitive layouts and menus. The screen eases strain on your eyes, even in direct sunlight. I love the easier rigging with the units, with a direct connect from the Structure Scan transducer and Ethernet networking. They look great, work well and for someone who spends long days staring at a graph, they are just a joy to use.
Abu Garcia Revo 3rd Generation Baitcasting Reels, from $129
We got our first few Gen. 3 Revo reels from Abu Garcia back in the spring, and we were so excited after the first outing, we couldn't wait to start talking about them. The reels are lighter, lower profile, cosmetically appealing and cast as far and as smooth as any reels we've ever used. They offer blazing speeds up to 8:1 gear ratios and the same low-end power from their 5.4:1 models. From styling to functionality, these are truly some of the best reels we've ever used.
Denali Terry Bolton Offshore Worm and Jig Rod, $209
I reviewed this rod earlier in the year, but can say it's been a staple in my rod collection all season. The rod works for pitching docks equally as well as it does casting big worms offshore or hopping spoons for deep bass. It's listed as a heavy action but fishes more like a medium heavy with some power on a long, deep hookset. At 7-feet, 2-inches, it gives you a good casting rod, easy to fish rod and powerful fighting rod for all your "away-from-the-bank" needs.
13 Fishing Omen Baitcasting Rod, $99
13 Fishing impressed us with their introduction at the 2012 ICAST show in Orlando. From the way they talked about their products and fishing to their "design and manufacture everything" mentality, they show a unique insight to building quality tackle. Their Envy rods are amazing great rods, but we're equally impressed with their $100 offering, the Omen series. These rods feature great styling, a small frame Japanese high modulus blank, custom made components like a split grip that allows you to touch the rod blank with the tip of your finger. Their styling and quality will make this rod very popular among anglers in 2013.
Megabass Ito Vision 110 FX or FX Knuckle 60 , $27
We thought Megabass did a good job of making some lures more practical to the situations anglers face. Two of those baits that debuted at ICAST really proved their forward thinking in designing tackle. The Ito Vision 100 FX expanded on their weight-transfer system that already helped make their slender and lively jerkbaits cast better in windy conditions by adding a collapsing bill that greatly reduces a jerkbait's tendency to helicopter on the lip's turbulence in the wind.
Meanwhile the Knuckle 60 gives you a square bill and sub-surface crankbait for fishing over the top of shallow grass in one. With a lip that locks in place in two positions you can fish 2-4 feet deep or just 1 foot deep with the snap of the lip. The bait has a great casting weight, hunts and tracks well and swims well over and through cover. The colors are the same great Megabass colors anglers have come to demand.
Browning MPACT Zeiss Fishing Collection Sunglasses, $179
I've been wearing these shades most of the year while fishing. They are light, comfortable and fairly stylish. But the real draw is in their Zeiss optics and Ripel water and grime protection that is built into the lenses. The lenses stay clear even in a down pour and they are easily cleaned with a wipe to keep your vision under the water at maximum potential. Their Back Country lens is the best early morning low-light lens we've used to date. We know several pros who were using these in those sight fishing slugfests to finish in the top of the pack by finding more beds in practice than their competitors. A great set of glasses for an avid angler.
TH Marine G-Force Handle, $30
This would make a great present for any angler that owns a boat and trolling motor. As a guy who has literally been flung out of a boat when a trolling motor cord snapped, I can tell you I have a new found love for this seemingly simple gadget. I'm an angler who moves a lot because I know fish generally bite when you put a bait near them. So I try to hit as much water in a day as I can. That's a lot of lifting and dropping of the trolling motor. This cable reduces the effort, makes snug or worn trolling motors pop in and out of place so much better.
Strike King KVD Jerkbait, $9
I'm always on the lookout for jerkbaits that look a little different, act a little different, but perform very well in terms of casting and erratic dancing on slack-line twitch. Jerkbaits tend to have a narrow window of opportunity in an angler's strategy, but for $9, you're going to want to have a few of these in your jerkbait box this winter. They have great colors, two different sizes, they get down well and suspend well and dart lively. They sound good and look good and that's reason enough to own a few to me.
Rapala DT Custom Ink Crankbaits, $7
Generally "new colors" in lures don't thrill us much as anglers. But sometimes a new color or set of colors comes out that really produces and it's hard not to get on the new color band wagon. The DT line of crankbaits have been a staple. The DT 6 is a coldwater killer and the DT 10 is the perfect mid-range crankbait while the DT 16 and 20 catch a lot of deep bass on offshore structure. Now with the new Ike's Custom Ink colors producing so well, our confidence has increased with this crankbait line. The blueback herring and Smash colors have fooled a bunch of bass this year for me and I'll be getting a bunch more in the different sizes of these two colors.
Zoom WEC E2, $20
It was tough to review this crankbait because it's one of those baits to keep under wraps but it's just too good not to share. It's a wide wobbling, hunting lure that can wreck the bass around shallow wood cover. And as a little side note, the smallmouth hate this crankbait. Each bait is hand assembled, hand painted, clear coated and packaged. They are not readily available everywhere so that sort of adds to my confidence with the cranks when I find a shallow cranking bite.
Heddon Chug'n Spook, $7
This bait remained hush-hush though the fall topwater bite, but several anglers revealed the power of the new Heddon Chug'n Spook as something "the bass hadn't seen before." It's big, makes a big commotion, loud, casts a country mile and comes in great colors. The hooks are cheap and need to be replaced, but the bait is solid for a little less than $7. Folks underestimate the power of a big walking lure. If you don't have one in your box, this is a good one to start.
Lazer Trokar EWG Treble TK310, $7
Trokar brought a new sharpness to fishing hooks and now they've brought it to treble hooks. Not to say they are the sharpest but they are a new sharp. They've made it vogue to pressure set on fish and this type of edge on a fishing hook makes more sense to me on a treble hook. The price will be inhibitive to some anglers, but I can tell you a handful of my favorite baits are rocking the new EWG and short-shank hooks from Lazer Trokar.
Stay tuned to Wired2fish.com for more Wishlists from other staff members in the next few days.