New & Noteworthy
Fish gripper/scale; oil-free lube; world's tiniest depth finder.
1. Fish Gripper/Scale
The gripNweigh from X-Tools is a fish gripper with a digital readout scale and watertight electronics. The weights of five fish can be stored in its memory. It’ll weigh fish up to 25 pounds, has a two-year battery life and vinyl padding rather than bare metal…and it floats. _($89.99; 941-894-0040; www.xtools.us) _
**2. World’s Tiniest Depth Finder **
The Smartcast RF30 is a combination device made up of a tiny LCD depth finder you wear on your wrist and a transducer that ties to fishing line and casts out like a lure. The LCD’s readout gives both contour and numeric depth on a screen the size of a sports watch. Mode buttons allow you to change the sensitivity and depth range and to turn on a “fish alarm.”
The unit works fine in both fresh and salt water. I checked it out in the brackish depths of the Little Manatee River near Tampa and found it drawing the contours just as accurately as the big color machine on my boat. Be careful, however. The transducer has metal “wet switch” pins that activate it when it hits the water, and these will corrode after saltwater use if not rinsed in fresh water.
Another potential problem: That little green floating transducer looks an awful lot like a frog wobbling across the surface, so don’t be surprised if a lunker bass gulps it down. _($99.99; 334-687-0503; www.humminbird.com) _
** 3.Oil-free Lubricant**
Imagine a lubricant that can be used on anything on your boat, or, for that matter, on anything that slides, spins or turns, and you’ll understand what the Ultra-Pro lubricant can do. The stuff repels moisture, leaves a scentless, invisible film and gets things moving again. Best of all, it doesn’t drip. _(From $6.99; 800-255-3505; www.ultra-pro.us) _
4. All-Around Wet Shoes
Hodgman Flats Stalker Wading Shoes (first designed for Southern wade-fishing) worked well for me as general-purpose wade/boat shoes last summer. They have a tough non-marring sole, side zippers, a one-way valve that purges water as you walk and an enclosed toe. _($59; 800-221-4221; www.llbean.com) _
** 4. Ultra-Packable Wading Jacket**
After a few stormy days on the water wearing the Gore-Tex PacLite Stowaway Wading Jacket from L.L. Bean, I have five remarks: 1. I loved that it folds up into its own hand-warmer pocket. 2. My arms stayed dry while releasing fish, thanks to the cinch on its cuffs. 3. I had no problem adjusting its low- profile cordlocks with one hand. 4. The jacket has a big lure-box pocket in front, right where it’s needed. 5. It has hand-warmer pockets that zip closed. _($159; 800-221-4221; www.llbean.com) _