For anglers keen on their sport, there’s no better present at Christmas than the latest fishing gadget or piece of tackle. Any fishing item is better than jocks, socks or a new weeding wand. The following items are just a small sample of some of the new or well-priced tackle that has become available over the last year. Some are only available from specialty tackle dealers and others can be bought at any tackle outlet. I have included approximate retail prices, however these may vary slightly between outlets.
Soft plastic lure fishing has increased greatly in popularity. While there’s already a great selection on the market, plenty of new products have recently hit the shelves to whet anglers’ appetites. Squidgy have released a Pro Range of plastics including Critters, Slick Rigs, Wrigglers, Worms, Flick Baits, Lobby, Fish and Pro Shad. These are supplied with a sachet of the Squidgy S-Factor Attract Trigger for smearing on each plastic to provide supplementary fish-exciting appeal.
Impoundment barra anglers will especially like the new Slick Rigs which have a lighter internal weight to allow slower rolling of plastics, allowing them to be kept in the strike zone for longer. All Squidgy Pro Range plastics are round $12 a packet.
The new Slugger Shad 6” from Sizmic Lures is a stick bait style lure that comes in some awesome colours and will appeal to an array of species from flathead to longtail tuna. Slugger Shads are around $11 a packet.
The popular Berkley Gulp range has been increased with the introduction of Gulp Alive. These plastics come in a screw top tub full of Gulp juice but have a more limited product and colour range than the traditional packets. The attractant formula is 20% stronger and they swim 34% better than other Gulps.
Included in the range are peeler crabs, swimming mullets, sand worms, minnows and shrimps. These things are so close to being bait that it’s amazing they don’t need to be kept in the freezer. They retail for around $30 a tub, which includes the contents of three to four packets of normal Gulp.
Berkley has also released a Gulp Alive scent in a piston trigger pack in garlic, nightcrawler and crawfish scents. These can be sprayed onto any of your plastics to make them even more attractive to fish. It’s around $30 for a 235ml bottle.
With catch and release fishing being an important aspect in marine conservation, many anglers have looked for ways to increase the survival rate of the species they target. One of these has been the improvement in landing nets, initially started in this country by Environet’s inventor, the late Dave Irvine. The Environet range is now expanded to include the Big Barra net, spurned by the popularity of impoundment barra fishing. Several other models of varying sizes and handle lengths have also been added although the retail prices have been trimmed, with Environets now being in the $40-$100 price range.
Another new landing net recently released is Berkley’s Pro-Select Net, an aluminium frame with UV stable rubber netting, which prevents hooks and trebles tangling with the mesh. It is relatively light in weight compared to similar nets and has a ruler added to the handle to allow quick measuring of fish before release. It retails for around $60.
Flybridge have also released a range of rubber landing nets called Fastnet. While these are a little heavier in weight than Berkley’s, they do offer several different sizes to cover everything from trout to barra. The Fastnets are very sturdy and replacement nets are available to fit to the aluminium frames if required. They retail for between $40 and $60.
Gillies’ tackle packs offer anglers a selection of terminal tackle to get them out fishing with a minimum of fuss. Included in the small tackle box are all the hooks, sinkers, swivels and other terminals to allow you to target a variety of species. There are four different ones currently available and include bream, whiting, snapper and flathead packs, each coming with an appropriately sized spool of line for that species. They retail for around $14.95.
Plano also have a great little starters tackle kit which includes a selection of hooks, sinkers, swivels, floats and other accessories, all housed in a Plano 2100A cantilever tackle box. There are 100 pieces of tackle in each kit and the retail price is around the $25 mark.
Eric Grell is an Australian rod builder with over 20 years experience in designing and building premium quality fishing rods. With this experience under his belt, Eric has recently released his Egrell and The Bear range of rods. Each rod is personally hand-built and specifically designed for the task. Each rod features quality tested, titanium/silicon guides and graphite comfort reel seats.
The full contact Cork Grips are ergonomically designed allowing maximum feel through the palm, which is the most sensitive part of the hand. The tapers of all the blanks are designed after rigorous testing to produce the perfect tool for the job at hand. This premium range of rods will only be available from limited dealers and retails from $320-$380 for The Bear range and $420-$470 for the Egrell Range.
With an array of soft plastics being used by anglers these days, many have found a need to customize the jigheads they use. Several new products have become available to do this.
Do-It Lure and Jig Paint is kind of like a kids finger painting kit and has nine bright colours and a brush to allow jigheads to be customized. It will paint over 200 1/4oz jigheads and retails for less than $20.
Pro-Tec Powder Paints are a do-at-home powder-coating system. Tubs of individual coloured powder are used to dip the jighead into once it has been heated. A paint stripper gun is an effective way to heat the jighead, which after dipping has a hard, durable, gloss coating. There are currently around 10 colours available and it retails for around $15 per 2oz tub.
Quick-Coat markers are like a permanent colour pen that produces a paint-like finish when applied to jigheads. These are possibly the easiest and quickest for anglers to use, but the colour range is limited with only gold, black and silver. There are six different pen tips included in each pack and it retails for around $10 per pen.
Here are only a few of the more popular reads that have hit the market recently.
For anglers new to the sport it would be hard to go past Alistair McGlashan’s The Complete Fishing Bible with loads of hints and information to fast track your learning curve. It has extensive chapters on fish species, locations, tackle and techniques for saltwater, freshwater and sportfishing applications. Also included are some great recipes. There are over 420 large hi-gloss pages of info with loads of awesome colour pics. It is a quality hard cover publication with dust jacket and retails for around $50.
Keen fishers will find it hard to walk past a copy of the Australian Fishing and Lure Encyclopedia. It has loads of info on lures readily available to Australian anglers as well as general fishing info on a broad array of species. Tactics, knots and rigs, as well as information on saltwater and freshwater fishing are all covered. It retails for around $35.
Veteran Australian angler Rod Harrison has acquired extensive information during his barra fishing career, which he’s cumulated into a book entitled Rod Harrison’s Barra. For any keen barra angler, whether fishing in salt or freshwater, this publication is sure to provide some invaluable information on the barra’s habitat, attributes and feeding habits. It retails for around $30.
Successful Fishing In Australia is another how-to book by Geoff Wilson, packed with all sorts of information from locations to rigs for the keen angler. It covers fishing situations in estuaries, freshwater, beach, offshore, float fishing and much more. This publication retails for $35.
Many anglers have realized the quality of the numerous lures imported from Japan and to a lesser extent the USA.
Evergreen have two that have become popular with the barra anglers: the ES Drive and ES Flat. The ES Drive is a very good garfish imitation when fished in the shallows with a slow drawing sweep of the rod. It would be hard to find a better boney bream profile than the ES Flat. Both lures are jointed to provide realistic action in the water. They have proven successful and strong enough to handle the barra impoundment scene. They come in several awesome finishes and retail for between $60 and $75.
The Jackall 180 and 180 Junior are other popular lures for serious impoundment barra anglers. These shallow divers have proven popular for working on the flats and adjacent to weed lines, especially with a dead sticking approach. They have a huge array of trophy fish to their credit from several different impoundments. Expect to pay around $60.
Lucky Craft have recently imported the Real Cal 128, a bibbed, jointed lure with a spinner blade on the tail to provide extra flash and vibration in the water. This blade can be alternated with a soft rubber tail, which is also supplied. It comes in an array of eye-catching colours and retails for around $55.
The Zillva 140S by flex lure technology is another shallow lure that is especially effective when worked slowly in the shallows. A credible gar imitation, the Zillva 140S comes in several great colours and retails for around $45.
There have been plenty of new storage items, however Berkley and Berkley Gulp produced the range that impressed me most, in relation to value for money.
These weather resistant storage bags, satchels and cooler bags come in an array of colours, styles and sizes for a array of tackle storage applications. There are plenty with clip seal storage envelopes for soft plastics and pre-made rigs, some with the addition of stowaway style tackle boxes for jigheads and other terminal tackle. Most are available in red, blue and yellow for easy bag selection.
Soft plastics anglers should check out the Flat Pack and Twin Pack systems. The Berkley Satchel was my favourite and now holds a selection of wind-on-leaders, pre-made rigs and other stuff. The Velcro closures mean no more seized zips.
Most of the Berkley and Berkley Gulp storage systems retail for between $20 and $30.
Having quality tools is definitely a big advantage. Not only do they do the job more efficiently, they also last longer.
Owner has a great range of pliers that are large and strong enough to handle most jobs, yet small enough to fit in your pocket or tackle box. I have been impressed with the six models I have seen so far (GP10, GP20, GP30, GP40, GP50 and GP60) which include various de-hooking and split ring models made from stainless steel. They retail for between $60 and $80.
Wizard Tackle has a great and inexpensive set of cutters that are awesome for anything from light braid to heavy monofilament. There is a 6” and 8” set, the latter I personally own and have used extensively for the last 5 months. They come with a nylon sheath and retail between $20 and $30.
Snow Peak have a premium range of scissors and small pliers available which are of high quality and well made, featuring ergonomic handles. There are several different scissors and small split ring pliers in the range. All are designed for easy carriage on the angler, so as to be on hand when required. They retail for between $22-$35 each
The Japanese definitely come up with some innovative quality fishing equipment and the Bouz Drag Checker is a good example of this. Unlike a spring balance set of scales, the Bouz Drag Checker allows you to take a drag setting from any position on the tackle.
It has a memory-needle function, which memorises the drag pressure until you reset it. The DC 1005 has a drag measurement range between 0.3-5kg and the DC 1015 has a drag measurement range between 1-15kg. Although they retail for around $150, the Bouz Drag Checkers are a precision piece of equipment that any serious angler should have in their tackle box.
To quench anglers’ thirst for knowledge especially on the days when you can’t go fishing, there have been a lot of new DVD titles released this year. Although of varying entertainment value, all will help to improve your knowledge. Some of the newer ones include The Fishing DVDS Vol. 1-9, 2Dans Fishing (2 titles), Wild River Bass, Luring Murray Cod, Steel City Snapper, The Fishing Show, Fish Awoonga, Berkley Top to Bottom, IFISH series, How to Catch Barramundi and a host of others. They retail between $10-$40.
The Daiwa Leader bag is a great way to keep your spools of leader material under control. It holds five spools of leader material and has holes for each so that the leader material can pass through, and be peeled off the spool with a minimum of fuss. It retails for around $30.
Reel grips are tubular rubber grips designed to fit on the handles of baitcasting reels to provide a thicker grip, which is more comfortable and easier to grip securely. They come in an array of colours and I have also found that they fit many smaller spinning reels with paddle style handles as well. They retail for around $12.
Keen fly fishers, especially those delving into serious bluewater and impoundment assaults will be pleased to get their hands into one of Waterworks Stripper gloves. These come in several sizes, have reinforced palms and fingers and can be purchased in right and left hand models. They retail for around $15.
Snowbee have a range of waterproof bags available for items such as rain coats, camera gear, spare clothing and anything else that you don’t want to get wet. They come in several sizes, are of a simple design, and moderately priced at between $20 and $40.
Another great product from Snowbee is the Chest pack, which is kind of like a bum bag that can be worn around the chest area for situations such as wading and kayaking when you need your tackle high. The Snowbee Chest Pack has a huge number or compartments to store all items such as leader material, line cutters, terminal tackle and lures. A small stowaway style box could also be added. It opens at the front and folds out into a little tray to make rigging up easier. Made of mesh and quick dry materials the Snowbee Chest Pack retails for around $50.
With Christmas fast approaching, it pays to put in your order early to avoid the disappointment of not getting what you want. If all goes to plan, you will be sporting a shiny new piece of fishing tackle at Christmas instead of a pair of Bob the Builder boxer shorts. Good luck and seasons greetings!Reads: 620