Part I: Hot New Fishing Products

There’s a gang of terrific new 2008 fishing tackle coming. Some of it will even be available late this season and some of it is ready now. Periodically I’ll be reporting on some items that caught my attention at the recent tackle trade show; stuff I think that answers a real need and that I think you’re going to like.

For instance…

PERFORMANCE YOUTH TACKLE

WAvs1_comboshen kids start outgrowing start-up Pirates-of-the-Caribbean, Barbie, Batman spincast rods/reels, what do you get them? One good choice would be the new Advanced Youth Systems (AVS) combos that Zebco/Quantum teamed up to create. The transitional outfits target two age groups: 6-10 and 9-14. The AVS v1.0 rigs for the younger group include spincast, spinning and triggerspin (the reel hangs under the rod and a trigger controls the freespool) models. The latter reel is fitted onto a 4-foot, 8-inch two-piece rod, while the spin and spincast reels are on 5-foot, 4-inch two-piece rods. AVS v2.0 for the older kids includes two spinning reel sizes on appropriate 5-foot, 8-inch or 6-foot, 2-inch medium-light rods. There are two baitcast outfits as well, fitted to appropriate medium-light-action rods. You’ll like the price, too. Depending on the outfit you’re looking at $29.99 to $34.99 for the v1.0 rigs; $39.99-59.99 for the v2.0 tackle. 918-836-5581; www.zebco.com.

WATER SAFESPlano_1425

The other day my cell phone went overboard. The bright side was that my contract was just expiring and I was due for an upgrade, but all my programmed phone numbers now sleep with the fishes! This is not a good thing. Wouldn’t I have loved to have at hand the small size –model 1425—in Plano’s new Guide Series Extreme Case lineup. Like two other new models in the series it’s made of tough polycarbonate, is airtight, lockable and has a pressure-release latch. It would have floated. The small box will hold a phone, wallet, keys and such. It measures 7.75 inches in lengher x 5.5 inches in width x 2.3 inches high and sells for $11.99. The other two boxes –models 1430 and 1435—are a bit larger and sell for $14.99 and 19.99 respectively. www.planomolding.com

NEW TAKE ON SCENT BAITS

FYeh_mon_fishbitesisheries scientist Dr. William Carr was wading the shallows in Florida one day when he cut his ankle. Not a bad cut, but it did bleed. Carr was fascinated that the blood seemed to attract numerous small bait-size fish to the wound. The incident led him into researching just what it was in the blood that stimulated the attraction. Eventually he isolated a number of chemical stimulants fish use to detect and track prey. He found that what humans smell in air and what fish detect have little in common. Carr refined and concentrated the chemical attractants into a line of biodegradable baits called Fishbites. You’ll hardly smell them. They come in various shapes like soft jerkbaits and worms and chunks and strips and ribbons that you can cut to size. While most of the baits were aimed at saltwater fish, the company just made its launch into freshwater with a catfish bait called “Yeh Monn!” If they work as well, it could give a little reprieve from high-octane catfish stinkbaits. Fishbites last between 15-30 minutes on the hook before dissolving. Depending on the specific item, they cost between $3.98 and $9.45 per pack/put-up. Carr Specialty Baits, 877-840-2248; www.fishbites.com

PUSHING THE SPIN REEL ENVELOPE

Shimano must have done something right to garner the award for best freshwater spinning reel at that earlier-mentioned tackle trade show. I’ll have more reports on new rods and reels upcoming but wanted to share news of upgrades on four series from this company: the Saros F, Stradic FI (the award winner), Stradic MgFB (magnesium frame), Sustain FE, and the top dog Stella FD’s.

HSt2500fi_1a_shimanoere’s the deal: While most spinning reels give great out-of-the-box smoothness, that silky cranking often goes south after a season or so of steady use. The new tribe of Shimano spinning mills will keep going smooth for years with their cold-forged aluminum drive gear and hardened brass pinion gears. Cold forging allows manufacture with less metal for reduced weight but is stronger, more durable even than all stainless steel drive trains.

Next was the issue of line twist and periodic line tangles and wind knots from loosely spooled line. A five-component system addresses these frustrations. First a unique spool lip taper allows line to flow from the spool in smaller loops resulting in less line slap in the butt rod guide. That, combined with a long stroke spool gives increased cast distance. The bail, line roller, and S-R cam assembly redesign will greatly reduce tangles and twists, and a new bail-trip mechanism lets you close the bail easily by turning the handle (something we haven’t seen on spinning reels since constant anti-reverse) It also reduces the chance of premature closure during a power cast. Depending on size, Stradic FI retail prices start at $159.99. The Saros (they have a good slow oscillation on the retrieve, not the more advanced Aero Wrap II oscillation of the others), sell for $129.99. Other series are higher. 949-951-5003; www.shimano.com

Stay tuned for more good stuff coming soon.