The Best New Reels for 2019

The Best New Reels for 2019

These cutting-edge reels are optimized for smooth casting and hard fighting.

Modern reels are engineered for performance. From lighter materials to stronger drags to the guts of a reel, manufacturers are constantly striving to improve what happens when we cast and retrieve. These new reels offer high-tech casting control, inventive drag systems, racehorse gear ratios, and downsized profiles.

Shimano Curado DC

shimano curado dc

The Shimano Curado DC has four external brake adjustment settings.

Improving on the Curado platform, which is known for durability, dependability, and versatility, Shimano utilizes a microcomputer to control brake force at every moment of the cast through its digital control technology (I-DC4). The DC’s microcomputer monitors spool speed 1,000 times every second and applies the perfect amount of brake to prevent backlashes and maximize distance. An external brake adjustment offers a “max distance mode” for ultra-long casts in calmer conditions, a “braid/mono mode” for the general use of those types of lines, a “fluorocarbon mode” that excels with stiffer lines, and a “skipping mode” for challenging casts and extreme conditions. Left-hand and right-hand retrieve models are available with 6.2:1, 7.4:1 and 8.5:1 gear ratios. $249.99

Abu Garcia REVO Rocket

Abu Garcia REVO Rocket

This reel is built for speed—because there’s nothing worse than wasting time when the bite is on.

Abu Garcia’s blistering new reel has a 10.1:1 gear ratio and an impressive 41 inches of line per turn. Available in right-hand and left-hand models, the REVO Rocket is made with an extended handle with oversized EVA handle knobs, 10 stainless steel HPCR bearings, and an Abu Garcia Infini brake system. The reel features an X2-Cräftic alloy frame and side plate, and it includes a power stack Carbon Matrix Drag System, an Infini II spool design, and a lube port. $299.99

Lew’s Custom Pro Speed Spin

Lew’s Custom Pro Speed Spin

The Lew’s Custom Pro Speed Spin combines finesse with power.

When the bite is tough, downsized, finesse presentations on spinning tackle can be the day-savers. The new Custom Pro Speed Spin keeps big fish buttoned up with a smooth sealed carbon drag system. The aluminum body/side plate, with a flush and drain port (available in 2000-4000 models), gives this reel power when it counts, while the lightweight high-strength C60 Carbon skeletal rotor and aluminum spool keeps weight low. The 12 premium stainless steel bearings yield pro-levels of smoothness, while the Winn® Dri-Tac handle knob provides a stable, comfortable grip. $129.99

Daiwa Tatula 100

Daiwa Tatula 100

The Daiwa Tatula 100 is a light-weight edition to the Tatula series.

Daiwa filled an important niche by adding the smallest and lightest reel in its Tatula series. At just 6.9 ounces, this reel is perfect for all-day use without the fatigue of gripping a larger reel. The Tatula 100 boasts long, accurate casts, thanks to the T-Wing System Level Wind and the Zero Adjuster spool setting, which deliver efficient, manageable casting right out of the box. The aluminum frame provides rigidity and smooth performance, and the Soft Touch handle knobs provide gripping ease. Ideal for finesse applications, this reel is available in 6.3:1 and 7.3:1 gear ratios, with left- or right-hand designs. A hyper-speed (8.1:1) is available in right-hand crank only. $159

 

13 Fishing Concept Z3

13 Fishing Concept Z3

The Concept Z is billed as the first-ever high-performance reel with no ball bearings.

Last year, 13 Fishing introduced the first high-performance reel made with no ball bearings. Their CZB (Concept Zero Bearing) polymer technology is designed to deliver significantly greater casting distance than ball-bearing reels. ICAST 2018 saw the Florida-based company debut a bigger, beefier version—the Concept Z3, which has a fish-stopping 30-plus pounds of drag and large Hamai cut hardened brass H.A.M. gearing that stands up to hefty challenges. Right-hand and left-hand models eat up 33.39 inches of line per crank. $280

Abu Garcia REVO IKE

Abu Garcia REVO IKE

Abu Garcia collaborated with Mike “Ike” Iaconelli on this design.

Tapping into the experience of Mike “Ike” Iaconelli, the legendary reel maker Abu Garcia introduced a sharp looking reel with both panache and performance. With Iaconelli’s trademark phrase “Never Give Up” printed on the outside of the gear case, the reel has an X2-Cräftic alloy frame, a C6 carbon palm side plate, an aluminum handle side plate, a Power Stack Carbon Matrix Drag System, an EverslikTM coated pinion shaft and pawl, a IVCB-6L braking system, and 10 stainless steel ball bearings plus 1 roller bearing. The design also includes a compact bent handle and star, a titanium-coated line guide, a lube port, and a round EVA knob. $249.95

Tsunami SaltX

Tsunami SaltX

This innovate reel boasts a game-changing saltwater-safe design.

With both forged and CNC-machined A6061 aluminum body and rotor, the SALTX utilizes 14 seals to fully enclose its innards for a saltwater-safe, water-tight design. The inventive reel includes a sealed hammer drag system, a digitally optimized S-Drive stainless steel face gear, 7 sealed stainless steel ball bearings, a one-piece machined handle with a round non-slip power knob, and a titanium-coated line roller. Available in 4000 and 6000 sizes with 50-pound maximum drag. $379.99

Accurate Tern

Accurate Tern

Accurate’s Tern is the reelmaker’s first high-performance star drag offering.

Well known for building durable, yet light, compact lever-drag reels, Accurate now offers a high-performance star drag reel. Accurate’s patent-pending TwinStarDrag ensures fish-fighting smoothness, consistency, and reliability. The TwinStar Drag has one washer on each side of the gear with friction plates, instead of a stack of washers on one side. This enables the Tern to deliver a smooth payout of drag with every click of the ergonomically designed star. This precise micro-click system also makes it quick and easy to select the exact amount of pressure needed for any given scenario. Available in 300, 400, and 500 sizes with 6:1 and 4.7:1 gear ratios. $279-$299

PENN Conflict II Long-Cast

PENN Conflict II Long-Cast

The Penn Conflict II Long-Cast is comfortable, high-quality, and relatively inexpensive.

With a jet-black finish, this affordable reel’s lightweight design makes it comfortable to handle for long days on the beach or pier. A smooth HT-100 drag offers plenty of stopping power, while the CNC Gear technology and high-quality stainless steel bearings do the internal work. The Conflict II features a 7+1 stainless steel bearing system, HT-100TM carbon fiber drag washers, and a Superline Spool with a rubber gasket that prevents superlines from slipping. Sizes 4000, 5000, 6000, 7000, and 8000 are available, all with 4.8:1 gear ratios. $39.99-$59.99

Zebco ROAM

Zebco ROAM fishing reel

The Zebco ROAM offers pizzazz and performance at a low price point.

The Zebco ROAM is ideal for pontoon boat trips, family camping trips, and kayaking excursions. Constructed with the same internal components as Zebco’s flagship 33 spincast reel, the ROAM flaunts trendy colors (bright green, orange, pink) and a cutting-edge 3D design that will look good in pictures. Three internal bearings enable long, smooth casting with tangle-free efficiency. The soft-touch handle knobs and thumb button add to the reel’s overall comfort. The ROAM combo includes a 6-foot, 2-piece rod with highly tactile grip technology that prevents slippage during casting and retrieving. $29.99 reel only, $39.99 combo.

12 Simple, Ingenious Flyfishing Hacks

12 Simple, Ingenious Flyfishing Hacks

Flyfishing is complex and technical, no doubt, but these easy tips will make your time on the water more enjoyable and more productive.

flyfishing hacks

 

1 of 12

Buggy, foam-bodied dry flies can be deadly, especially during hopper time or when used to suspend a dropper. Keep foam-bodied flies floating high by greasing them with a paste line dressing—but in a pinch, chapstick will do the job admirably.

flyfishing hacks

F&S

Reid Bryant

2 of 12

Wyoming guide Clark Smyth always fishes with a telescoping magnet in his bag in case flies get dropped in grass or shallow water. A sweep of the area with the magnet will make even the most hard-to-find flies come out of hiding.

flyfishing hacks

F&S

Reid Bryant

3 of 12

Small-stream fishermen shouldn’t leave home without a pair of anvil pruners. Available at any local hardware store, these pruners can easily remove and save both flies and leaders tangled in riverside brush.

flyfishing hacks

F&S

Reid Bryant

4 of 12

Both time and leader material can be saved when transitioning from heavy to light tippet by incorporating a #10 barrel swivel onto a weighted nymph rig. Run the end of the leader through one end of the swivel and secure it with a clinch knot. Then run tippet through the opposite (terminal) end of the swivel. The swivel will eliminate twists in the leader and will weigh down the rig much like a single BB shot would.

flyfishing hacks

F&S

Reid Bryant

5 of 12

Stripping guides on fly rods are often lined with a carbide ring to reduce friction on the fly line. When transporting a rigged rod, never hook a fly directly onto this ring, but instead secure it to the foot of the guide. A hook stored in the ring can chip the carbide, resulting in reduced performance and rapid wear on expensive fly line.

flyfishing hacks

F&S

Reid Bryant

6 of 12

Many nymph fishermen rely on bobber-like strike indicators, such as the Thingamabobber. Because these indicators ride on top of the water, it can be challenging to see where flies are oriented beneath them. When fishing an indicator, use a permanent marker to draw an index line across the bobber perpendicular with the leader. The line will rise vertically when the fly is directly beneath the indicator, and it will tilt either upstream or down as the fly gets ahead of or behind the indicator. You can then mend to keep nymphs where desired.

flyfishing tips

F&S

Reid Bryant

7 of 12

International fly guide Matt Breuer never leaves home without a set of Sharpies in various colors. That way, if need be, he can quickly change the color of fly bodies or wings while on the water.

flyfishing hacks

F&S

Reid Bryant

8 of 12

Fly tiers use different weights in their nymph and streamer patterns. Differentiate a pattern as un-weighted, moderately-weighted, or heavy by tying different color thread on the head of each fly. The thread won’t spook fish, and it will let you quickly select the appropriate pattern from your fly box. Make sure your color code is consistent across all of the weighted patterns in your box, though.

flyfishing hacks

F&S

Reid Bryant

9 of 12

Streams and rivers typically suffer from periodic grassy spells, during which aquatic blooms can quickly gunk up streamers. In such conditions, tie a leader for your streamer with blood knots every foot or so. By leaving one-inch tags on the blood knots, the perpendicular tags will clear a path ahead of the advancing streamer, letting it swim without getting covered in grass.

F&S

F&S

Reid Bryant

10 of 12

Nymphs—caddis patterns, in particular—will develop gas bubbles under their shuck prior to emergence. Photographer and fly tier Brian Grossenbacher mimics this effect by coating his nymphs with floatant. Spray types, such as MegaFloat, are best at trapping air, but gel floatants work well, too.

flyfishing tips

F&S

Reid Bryant

11 of 12

Increase your casting distance by stretching out your fly line before heading to the stream. Line stored in tight coils on a reel for extended periods will retain the ‘memory’ of that shape. Before fishing, spool line off the reel and stretch it out either between your hands or by passing it around a fixed object. Stretching the line will remove its memory and allow it to shoot farther with greater ease.

flyfishing hacks

F&S

Reid Bryant

12 of 12

Fly-rod sections can get stuck together and become difficult to pull apart. If you have trouble breaking down a rod, first dry your hands and the rod shaft; often, the problem is an angler’s inability to get an adequate grip on the rod, not a stuck ferrule (a connection joint). If that doesn’t help, try to warm the stuck ferrule between your hands. If that too fails, place the rod behind your knees with the stuck ferrule centered, grasp the shaft on either side of the ferrule, and brace your wrists and forearms against your knees. Then push your knees outward, using your leg muscles to leverage the rod sections apart with steady pressure.

The 7 Most Hard-to-Catch Fish in the World — And Where to Find Them

The 7 Most Hard-to-Catch Fish in the World — And Where to Find Them

From muskies to marlins, inexperienced anglers need not apply.

Nature By 
 The sun is pounding your neck and forearms, and you’re starting to feel like it’s time to call it in. The fish have bitten today, but barely hooked, and none are the exact species you’re looking for. Put your rod and reel down for a moment, take a seat in the shade. This list is for experienced anglers who have the skill and gear needed to pull in the most prized fish on the planet — but just need a little guidance on where to go, and what exactly they’re up against.

Muskellunge

Muskies are known as the “fish of 10,000 casts” for a reason. An elusive predator with razor-sharp teeth and a picky pallet, specific gear is needed to fish for the muskellunge — they reach up to five feet long, and can put up a strong fight against the most seasoned of anglers, including Animal Planet’s Jeremy Wade. There’s also a matter of practice: Musky Hunter Magazine says that learning how to cast large bait cast gear, as well as getting to know your local musky-filled waters, is key to success in catching the prized fish.

Also, stock up on a state-of-the-art sonar system with GPS before you head out, so you know where muskies are hanging out. If you’re dead-set on scouting out a spot known for its musky population, Musky Hunter suggests trying your hand on Green Bay, Lake Vermillion, Mille Lacs or Lake of the Woods.

Ontario, Canada, 1985: A female angler stands in front of the Moon River Cottages Store holding a 28 pound 10-ounce muskellunge caught on the Moon River in Ontario, Canada on June 30, 1985. (Photo by International Game Fish Association via Getty Images)

Wahoo

With speeds topping 60 miles per hour, you’ll know if you snagged a wahoo because your reel, quite literally, will be screaming. “There’s not much else that can pull line off the reel like a big wahoo,” Capt. George McElveen told Sport Fishing Magazine. If you want to add a wahoo to your trophy list, there are a few methods you can use, including high-speed trolling, spreading, using wild-colored lures and fishing with live speedos on the kite.

Northeast Florida and off the coast of Louisiana are perfect, warm places to hook wahoo, as well as nice-sized kingfish and yellowfin tuna.

A tuna fisherman hauls in a wahoo aboard a fishing boat in rough seas. (Photo by Hulton-Deutsch/Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis via Getty Images)

Pacific Bluefin Tuna

Seen in high-end sushi restaurants as toro or chutoro, you’re paying top dollar for those cuts of meat for a reason. By top dollar, we mean top — this is the most expensive fish in the ocean, according to the Ringer. (In 2013 someone paid $1.76 million for a 489-pound bluefin. That’s how coveted this fish is.)

The trick to catching these massive suckers — which reach up to 1,000 pounds and reach lengths of 10 feet — is finding them before the competition does. Head up to Nova Scotia in Canada for giant bluefin, or down to San Diego if you prefer the sunshine. You can also bag these in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, or in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

And if you’re eyeing the next few months to get out your rod and reel, we recommend doing so sooner rather than later— the possibility of a ban is being mulled to protect the populations, which are in danger because of how hot of a commodity the fish is.

Australia, South Australia, Port Lincoln, Southern Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus maccoyii) Circle In A Holding Pen.

Apache trout

The Apache trout is difficult to catch simply because there aren’t very many of them left, and they’re only found in White Mountain lakes and streams on forest and reservation lands, per the Arizona Game and Fish Department. It’s the state’s official fish, and it’s endangered, which means you should probably make this a catch and release only fish — at least until the department starts to see returns on their active recovery and management plan to get the population numbers up.

Growing from between 6 and 24 inches, the department notes that artificial flies are best when hooking Apache trout, and the meat is delicious.

Threatened Apache trout (USFWS/Flickr)

Roosterfish

Roosterfish are coveted because they look cool, period. Their dorsal fins are some of the rarest in the fishing world: Seven long spines protrude from their backs, giving the fish its namesake “rooster comb.” Though they’re not necessarily as difficult to catch as, say, a musky, they’re prized and put up a protest when you get them on the end of your line.

“Though they’re very fast and strong fighters, the greatest appeal roosterfish have is their appearance,” Jad Donaldson, a fly-fishing guide from Oregon told the New York Times. “Roosters are exotic, even sexy — and I don’t often use that word to describe fish. They’re the Liz Hurley of sportfish, as far as I’m concerned.”

We want to hang out with the Liz Hurley of anything, so if you’re with us, book a fishing trip to the East Cape of Baja California, where the Times reports that they’re within striking distance from the beach. More of a deep sea kind of guy? Head out to the Pacific coast off mainland Mexico, Costa Rica or Panama. Oh, and don’t use artificial bait. You’ll embarrass yourself. 

Bill Good stands next to his IGFA World Record 66 pound roosterfish caught in Bahia de Los Angeles, Baja California, Mexico on August 14, 1949. (Photo by International Game Fish Association via Getty Images)

Goliath Tigerfish

With razor-sharp teeth and a reputation for attacking humans, Animal Planet’s Jeremy Wadereports the Goliath tigerfish is the “the hardest freshwater fish in the world to hook and land.” That’s because of its limited range in the Congo, it’s difficult to find, and it shreds bait. “Most fish will escape, often within the first few seconds,” Wade said. “The main challenge is rigging the bait…you’ve got to have more than one hook, but if you have too many hooks, this fish won’t even look at your bait. It’s by no means a dumb predator.”

Goliath tigerfish (Hydrocynus goliath) caught in Congo on the Congo river. (Getty)

Blue Marlin

We know you’ve been waiting for it this entire list — the ultimate trophy fish. Catching a blue marlin of your own requires patience, will and endurance. Huk Gear reports that these fish are most at home “in warm, tropical waters like the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and coasts of the Bahamas,” but you can also head out to Hawaii, Portugal or Australia to embark on the fishing endeavor of a lifetime. (Just calculate how much it’ll cost to have that baby shipped back to your homeland.)

While you’re out there, you can troll behind the boat while searching for marlin, but we recommend you catch your own bait, hook it up and toss it back in. Then, the waiting game begins, and it can take ages. Seriously, check the weather before you head out — it’s going to be a long one — but the payoff will be worth it.

The ship’s mate prepares to wire a blue marlin which leaps from the water. | Location: Flamingo Bay, Costa Rica. (Getty)

The Best New Fishing Accessories for 2019

The Best New Fishing Accessories for 2019
These innovative products will improve your fishing experience

BY DAVID A. BROWN JULY 17, 2018

If there’s one thing that ICAST, the biggest sportfishing tradeshow in the world, has shown us, it’s that if there’s a task in the outdoors, there’s a tool for it. Sometimes, companies simply expand on the bread-and-butter concepts with better processes, improved materials, higher-end technology, and increased functionality. Other times, manufacturers come up with truly innovative ideas for problems or procedures not previously addressed. This year’s ICAST collection featured both types of developments and included products that ran the gamut from original rigging items to kayak-fishing tools. Here are the best new accessories you need to know about.

VMC Neko Skirt

VMC Neko Skirt
Neko rigs allow you to fish soft-plastic stick baits at deeper depths.

VMC Neko Skirt

Improving the Neko rig, one of the hottest techniques in bass fishing, required only a modest cosmetic addition. But this change dramatically affects the rig’s appearance, action, and appeal. VMC dressed up its nail weight with a living rubber and silicone skirt, which creates enticing action with slight movement. When the angler shakes and pauses the bait, the skirt strands flare and contract like jig skirts. The conical ribs on the spike-shaped weight anchor the rig without tearing the bait. It will be available this fall in eight colors and 1/32-, 1/16-, 3/32-, and 1/8-ounce sizes. $2.99 (2-pack)

Yakima EasyRider Kayak Trailer

Yakima EasyRider Kayak Trailer
Trailers, like this Yakima Easy Rider, will instantly increase your kayak hauling capabilities.

Yakima

Kayaking with family and friends means you need to figure out hauling logistics. With any more than two midsize kayaks, you’ll need more than one vehicle — unless you go with a trailer. Available by spring 2019, Yakima’s new EasyRider offers two levels: a 78-inch-wide top deck and a 50-inch lower deck. A 500-pound carrying capacity makes the EasyRider a good fit for hauling up to three fishing kayaks and small boats with room below for gear, coolers, etcetera. The EasyRider fits Class I, II and III hitches (2-inch ball), and it includes shock absorbers, tubeless tires, a smart handle, and a fold-away tongue. $2,799

Erupt Rod Threading Device

Erupt Rod Threading Device
The Erupt Rod Threading Device is built to handle the pesky task of threading fishing line through your rod’s guides.

Erupt Fishing

The Rod Threading Device (RTD) is billed as the first mechanical tool that addresses one of fishing’s most dreaded tasks quickly and effortlessly — running fishing line through a rod’s eyelets. Fishing line attaches knot-free to the RTD’s innovative bobbin clip (similar to a dropshot weight), and a guiding module provides a self-centering alignment over each rod guide, which feeds the bobbin and line through each one along the way. Compatible with casting and spinning rods for fresh and inshore saltwater use, the RTD comes with two clear “guiding” modules of differing channel widths that can be interchanged at the front of the unit (determined by a rod’s largest guide). Made of high-impact molded construction, the RTD includes a transparent window for viewing the rigging operation. $39.99

Frabill Trophy Haul Net

Frabill Trophy Haul Net
This fishing net is designed with increasing the catch-and-release survival rate of fish in mind.

Frabill

Made with efficiency and catch-and-release capabilities in mind, this smartly-designed net features a Trophy Haul Yoke with an innovative handle that adds balance, strength, and leverage, while decreasing tension. Also, the Power Extend creates nearly 35 inches of handle length with the single push of a button. The design ensures that fish slide down the conservation netting at a gentle slope into the flat bottom, and a light module illuminates the reflective hoop for better subsurface viewing in low-light scenarios.

Cauldryn Fyre Mobile

Cauldryn Fyre Mobile
The Cauldryn Fyre brings cutting-edge technology to the thermos.

Cauldryn

This vacuum-sealed, 16-ounce insulated stainless steel mug uses a rechargeable, battery-powered heating element to boil, brew, or keep warm liquids. The modular design allows the Cauldryn bottle to fit onto the Fyre heating element, which runs directly from either an AC or DC power source. The Cauldryn Fyre can also keep beverages cold. For life on the go, the Fyre’s dual USB ports allow you to charge mobile devices right off of the mug’s battery. $129

goLock Venture

goLock Venture
Outdoor gear is pricey—this lock keeps your stuff safe.

goLock

This patent-pending, smartphone-enabled electronic lock secures outdoor gear and equipment, especially boats. You can arm and disarm the Bluetooth and Cellular compatible system through the free goLock app (Android or iOS). In the event of an attempted theft, the app sends an alert to the user’s smartphone, while the Venture blasts a 95-decibel alarm. Silicon coated smart cables are available in 1/8- or 3/8-inch diameters and 3-, 7-, 10- or 20-foot sizes. The rechargeable battery lasts up to seven days with normal use. $249.95

Brite-Strike Technologies Solar Powered APALS

brite-strike technologies solar powered apals
These light strips only need some time in the sun to build a charge.

Brite Strike

Ideal for kayaks and standup paddle boards, these All Purpose Adhesive Light Strips (APALS) require no drilling or wiring and come in 8-hour and 12-hour runtime models. They use hybrid solar panels that capture sunlight to charge the lithium cells and then provide 40 lumens of light during the night—and they’re even equipped with an emergency strobe mode. $20-$24

Catch Commander

Catch Commander scale
The Catch Commander is a practical scale for tournament culling.

Catch Commander

This advanced tournament culling scale is made for rough and rugged handling in time-sensitive scenarios, and its user-friendly interface ensures reliable performance. Water resistant electronics provide accurate readings on a large LCD screen so you can track the fish in your livewell (with system prompts for which fish to cull), store five fish weights and display them on screen, customize your cull limit (1-10), and keep a running tally of your aggregate weight. $84.99

Rapala Performance Tool Combo

Rapala Performance Tool Combo
This toolkit has everything you need for removing fishhooks.

Rapala

Cutting, gripping, and extracting needs are all efficiently addressed with Rapala’s new collection. The 6-inch Mag Spring Pliers are made of 420 stainless steel with tin-nickel alloy plating and magnets for holding a fish’s jaws open. The Precision Line Scissors are spring-loaded for easy one-handed operation while cutting line. The 6-inch Floating Fish Gripper is great for securely holding your catch. $39.99

TH Marine Hydra Battery Terminal Multiplier

TH Marine Hydra Battery Terminal Multiplier
This battery terminal multiplier is built to last.

TH Marine

Need to get more out of your battery? T-H Marine Supplies has a solution for you in its new Hydra Battery Terminal Multiplier. With 3-way and 5-way terminals, the Hydra offers easily managed connections with lead-free, marine-grade zinc construction for improved conductivity and superior corrosion resistance.

YakGear Cratewell

YakGear Cratewell
Make the most out of the limited space on a kayak.

Yak Gear

In the interest of maximizing space on a kayak, this compactable bag transforms a standard-sized milk crate into a dry storage solution and also doubles as a livewell for bait (with the addition of an optional aerator). Made of heavy-duty 5,000 D PVC Tarpaulin for light-weight strength, the durable bag features Velcro top access and a large, waterproof, three-sided zipper. The rounded corners promote oxygen circulation and keep bait alive longer. $24.99

Gerber Processor Shears

Gerber Processor Shears
These all-in-one shears are perfect for prepping bait and cleaning fish.

Gerber Gear

Improving upon the basic notion of cutting shears, Gerber expanded their shears’ functionality, while preserving their legendary dependability. Built as an all-in-one tool that works cohesively or as individual pieces, the shears pack easily and feature a take-apart design. They include a gut hook, a ground-in scaler, and an exposed fine edge blade for bait prep. The standard scissor function includes a fin clipper feature. The oversized handle, made of glass-reinforced nylon & TPE, is ergonomic, and it features HydroTread Grip for traction. $42

Pole Daddy Rod Holder

Pole Daddy Rod Holder
Fight like you mean it with the Pole Daddy Rod Holder.

Pole Daddy

Sometimes a fighting belt is as much about convenience and effective rod posture as it is fish-battling leverage. This mindset yielded Pole Daddy’s user-friendly creation, which features a soft pouch mounted securely to a nylon that adjusts for waist sizes up to 52 inches. The rod holding pouch includes ridges to hold the rod in place and three drain holes to release water. A beverage holder keeps hydration close by, while a Velcro side-strap holds a fishing towel or secures your fishing rod while dehooking or rigging. $24.95

Cuda Fishing Tools Fillet Knife Kit

Cuda Fishing Tools Fillet Knife Kit
This set has all the blades you need to make the perfect fillet.

Cuda

This 6-piece set includes a 2.5-inch bait knife, a 6-inch fillet knife, a 7-inch wide fillet knife, a 9-inch fillet knife, a knife sharpener, and a heavy-duty nylon case. All the knives are made of titanium-bonded German 4116 stainless steel and are fitted with non-slip handles. The case features a Prym1 Camo Shoreline pattern that displays the colors and textures of nature with organic shapes. $69.99

Outdoor Edge ChowPal

Outdoor Edge ChowPal
The ChowPal is much more than just an eating utensil.

Outdoor Edge

From campfire meals to shore lunches, eating utensils are one of the most commonly overlooked fishing items. Three-in-one tools are the easy solution, but Outdoor Edge has taken the concept to a higher level with a well-conceived multi-functional tool that adds a can opener, bottle opener, flathead screwdriver, and wrench set to the nested spork-knife. Made of 420J2 stainless steel, the ChowPal set weighs 2.4 ounces and measures 6.5 inches long. $27.50

5 Must-Have Lipless Crankbait Colors

Lipless crankbaits are a major player in the bass fishing arena; they’ll cast a country mile, you can retrieve ‘em at any speed and most importantly, big fish have a hard time resisting them. But with the endless color choices in today’s market, it’s hard to narrow your choices and avoid spending a bunch of money. So where do you start?

That’s what this guide is for. Will other colors and patterns catch fish? Absolutely. But this is a great baseline from which to make future color selections when you’re buying lipless crankbaits.

You simply cannot go wrong with these colors.

Color No. 1: Silver

Conditions: Sunny or cloudy, clear water
Lure pictured: Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap in Chrome Black Back

When most folks are looking at lipless crankbaits, they’re going to be immediately drawn towards this color. It makes total sense: Most baitfish we see are silver, so we match the hatch. I’ve caught fish on this color in nearly every situation imaginable, but you’ll have your most consistent success when using silver lipless crankbaits in relatively clear water.

The flash of this color has a lot of drawing power in clear water. This means that the bass will see it from a few feet away and come towards it to attack it. Combine a tight, wiggling action, loud rattles and an intriguing baitfish-like color scheme and you have all the makings for a darn good day on the water.

Color No. 2: Gold

Conditions: Sunny, stained water
Lure pictured: Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap in Gold

If you find yourself fishing stained water in sunny conditions, it’s hard to beat some sort of gold-colored lipless crankbait. Gold colors penetrate dirty water much better than silver or chrome, which of course increases the likelihood of a bass tracking it down. We’re still taking advantage of the sun by using a reflective color, but just in a different hue to increase visibility.

You don’t need to get too picky on the different color patterns here; you could probably spray paint your favorite lipless bait gold and catch fish— but don’t do that, I’m just making a point.

Personally speaking, I prefer a darker back to my gold lipless baits in order to provide a bit more contrast and flash as it wiggles back and forth.

Color No. 3: White

Conditions: Cloudy, clear water
Lure pictured: Megabass Vibration-X Jr. Rattle In in Bahama Milk Pearl

You’re bound to have some really good days of fishing with this combination. Reflectiveness and flash isn’t such a big deal in cloudy weather because there’s no prominent light source. This means opaque colors will provide a much more noticeable underwater silhouette.

There are a lot of different white color patterns on the market. Some have green backs, some have some lateral chartreuse striping going on and others might be solid white. They will all catch fish as long as the sides—the largest surface area on the lure—are prominently white. If you catch more fish on one white color pattern than the others, stick with it. Confidence is your best friend.

Color No. 4: Chartreuse

Conditions: Cloudy, stained water
Lure pictured: Megabass Vibration-X Jr. Rattle In in GLX Western Chartreuse

I’m surprised more people don’t own chartreuse lipless crankbaits. I’ve seen some big-time beatdowns with this color under cloudy conditions and in stained water. One of my buddies co-anglers wrecked an almost 20-pound, 3-fish limit on Lake Seminole a few years ago with this combination.

Again, since there’s no sun to add any flash to the lure, an opaque color is favorable for an optimal silhouette. Bright colors are known producers in dirty water, so you’re left with a chartreuse lipless crankbait. It might take you a while to gain confidence in such a funky looking plug, but stick with it—it will work if you’re around fish.

Color No. 5: Red

Conditions: Stained water
Lure pictured: Lucky Craft LV 500 in Spring Craw

This color could be considered the mind-blower of this guide. Red-colored lipless crankbaits work excellently in the prespawn period and surprisingly enough, they put off some really good contrast in dirty water; especially if they have an orange belly.