Everyone knows that the fishing is always better somewhere else, so more and more anglers are taking off in their boats or on planes to get a taste of the world’s best fishing spots. Since it’s the gift-giving season, we decided to put together a list of neat new products for the traveling angler. Some of them will make the travel time a bit easier, while others will help you have a good time once you get out on the water. We hope that someone special in your life surprises you with one or more of these unique gifts.
While a lot of folks decry the ubiquitous nature of cellphones, guys and gals on the go know how useful a tool they really are — it’s nice to be able to contact loved ones from half a world away or navigate streets with your phone’s map if lost. Travel can take a toll on your phone, however, so it’s a good idea to use some kind of case that keeps it looking pristine. Nautilus Cases makes cool phone covers from exotic woods, genuine mother-of-pearl shell or a combination of both. They even allow you to create a personalized case of your design. All of the inlays are made from mother-of-pearl or other shells. The cases come in many different styles, and they even have a waterproof version. For more information, visit www.nautiluscases.com.
It’s no secret that most offshore fishermen are a vain lot that like to look good while pursuing their favorite pastime. And although the guys like to look good, for the ladies it is much easier. West Marine recently introduced a line of women’s rain boots that keeps a lady’s feet dry without making her look like a commercial fisherman. Available in red, blue and teal in sizes 6-10, these waterproof polyurethane boots offer a bright alternative to the old white work boots. In fact, some fellows might like sporting a pair of these beauties themselves. For more information, visit www.westmarine.com.
Pelican on Your Back
Pelican Products Inc., the global leader in the design and manufacture of high-performance protective case solutions and advanced portable lighting systems, recently unveiled the Pelican ProGear S115 Sport Elite Laptop/Camera Pro Pack. The S115 is a camera pack that features a tough laptop case integrated with a water-resistant front compartment with padded dividers that hold and protect multiple camera bodies, lenses, flashes and other camera equipment. Its built-in laptop case is a watertight, crush-proof and impact-resistant compartment that can fit any 15-inch notebook up to 1 inch in thickness or any 17-inch MacBook. The S115 laptop compartment is rated IP67 (watertight to 3.3 feet for 30 minutes) and the automatic pressure equalization valve prevents vacuum lock within the case. The S115 has a ventilated back panel pad system and comfortable floating ergonomic shoulder straps. For more information, visit www.pelican.com.
When jumping from boat to boat on a trip, you can sometimes find yourself using tackle that just isn’t up to snuff. Instead of plunging on and using inferior hardware, try picking up some of the rigging kits that American Fishing Wire & Hi-Seas came out with to take the guesswork out of what you need to carry on your trip. The all-in-one kits offer system-matched line, leader and terminal tackle components selected to work in tandem for medium-duty inshore fishing or for light and heavy tackle species. These convenient kits also make great gifts. The premium quality rigging kits offer a generous assortment of dependable components for building strong, reliable rigs. Each kit is packaged in a sturdy plastic storage box with a hinged lid for easy organization and handling. These convenient, all-in-one kits offer a great value versus buying the parts separately. For more information, visit www.afwhiseas.com.
Traveling crews and anglers spend a lot of time together in some very close quarters, so it’s not long before everyone knows who’s stinking up the joint. Some captains even use this measure as a tool to pick their mates; if a mate can’t clean himself up, how is he going to keep the boat clean? The Orange Kit Emergency Personal Care Kit can come to the rescue if you find yourself or someone you are close to in need of some emergency hygiene assistance. Developed for military use, the OK Kit contains enough gear to keep you smelling clean for three days. It’s a perfect addition to any carry-on bag as a backup in case your luggage is lost while traveling. The kit contains waterless shampoo and body wash, a disposable razor, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, anti-bacterial wipes, toilet tissue, water purification tablets and more. For more information, visit www.usa-spirit.com.
Join the Chairman’s Club
When you join The Billfish Foundation, you can rest assured that your largess helps ensure the future of billfish and billfishing, but joining the Chairman’s Club takes that support to another level. TBF works worldwide to advance the conservation of billfish and associated species to improve the health of oceans and economies. By accounting for the roles of billfish within the marine environment as well as in relation to their interactions with humanity, TBF’s conservation campaigns maintain the flexibility to adapt to emergent threats as well as those which have historically confronted resource managers. TBF employs a multitiered, proactive suite of initiatives involving research — both biological and socioeconomic — education and advocacy projects. For more information, visit www.billfish.org.
A New Truck
While some guys don’t mind pulling up to the dock driving a sweet Mercedes, most of the anglers I know prefer to drive a more utilitarian vehicle that can carry a bunch of drinks, ice and tackle without holes getting punched in fine Italian leather. Chevrolet just redesigned its popular Silverado line of full-sized pickups, and the all-new models underwent more than 13 million miles of testing, resulting in a truck that’s stronger, smarter and more capable than ever. All three of those qualities are also embodied in the new EcoTec3 engines. The EcoTec3 5.3-liter V-8 provides 355 hp, offering up to 23 mpg on the highway, making it the most fuel-efficient gas V-8 pickup engine ever made. The standard 4.30 liter EcoTec3 V-6 offers 305 foot-pounds of torque, the most of any standard V-6 in its class. Improvements continue beyond the hood, however, with a boxed frame, larger axles and an available Max Trailering Package that allows the Silverado to offer a class-leading trailering capacity of up to 12,000 pounds. Cargo-bed enhancements like the CornerStep rear bumper, pocket hand grips and optional removable cargo tie downs make it easy to secure cargo. For more information, visit www.chevrolet.com.John Roe
We all love looking at those great helicopter shots of boats busting in and out of an inlet or running along at top speed after a Bimini start, but have you ever checked out how much it costs to rent a helicopter for an hour-long photo session? It’s high. Now you can get those great aerial shots all by yourself by purchasing a DJI Phantom. The DJI Phantom is a remote-controlled quad copter and camera holder that offers users astounding stability. The Phantom comes equipped with the Naza-M + GPS multirotor autopilot system that lets you hit a button and make the copter hover in place. The copter will also hover in place if it loses your signal. It even has an automatic return-to-base feature. The Phantom works with a number of small lightweight cameras, including GoPros. For more information, visit www.dji.com.
Gift of a Lifetime
The best gifts are the ones that keep on giving throughout the whole year, and a lifetime International Game Fish Association membership fits that description to perfection. In addition to helping out one of the most important fishing organizations in the world, a lifetime membership in the IGFA comes with an incredible number of benefits. Along with the knowledge that you are doing a good thing for the sport, the lifetime membership comes with a limited-edition Guy Harvey lithograph signed and personalized by the artist, a lifetime subscription to both International Angler and the IGFA World Record Game Fishes book, unlimited admission to the IGFA museum, access to all world record information on the website and 10 percent off anything in the IGFA store. Lifetime members also get a cool hat and some stickers to make sure that everyone knows you support the IGFA. As a bonus, your membership fee is partially tax deductible! For more information, visit www.igfa.org.
If you are going to chase the big blue dogs, you’ve got to carry along something that you know they are going to eat; you could do far worse than bringing along an assortment of Makaira Pulling Lures. Tested in the Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana — some of the best blue marlin water in the United States — Makaira Lures will get you a bite if the blues are in the vicinity. The original Lena (bottom) sports a 2.5-inch-long head and 1.15-inch diameter. The overall length of this yap-style head with an offset leader hole is 10.5 inches, plenty big enough to attract a blue marlin and a killer lure when pulled down the center. However, by popular demand for a larger Lena, Makaira introduced both the Meredith and Big Lena this season. Meredith (middle) sports a 3-inch-long head with 1.3-inch diameter head and a 12-inch overall length. Big Lena boasts an enormous 3.5-inch-long head with a 1.5-inch diameter and a 14-inch length. As with all Makaira lures, you can choose between unweighted, keel-weighted or center-weighted versions — they are all custom and made to order. For more information, visit www.makairapullinglures.com.
In the CLEAR
While traveling to and fishing in foreign countries can lead to some memorable trips, the actual traveling part is getting to be more and more of a hassle. Standing in line for a half an hour or more to clear security isn’t the most pleasant way to start — or especially end — a long trip. You can take a lot of pain out of the airport experience with a CLEAR security membership. A prescreening service, CLEAR offers the fastest way to navigate airport security. With just a tap of a finger and your CLEAR card, you can skip long, painful lines and speed through security in less than five minutes every time you fly. You can use CLEAR for all airlines, in every terminal and for all departures — both domestic and international — in nine airports. You can use your CLEAR card in San Francisco; Orlando, Florida; Denver; Dallas; San Antonio, Texas; San Jose, California; Westchester County, New York; and both Houston airports. For more information, visit www.clearme.com.
There are only a few items that will actually make fishermen turn the truck around and head back to the house if they leave without them — and sunglasses are at the top of the list! It’s even worse once you are already at the airport. The folks at Native Eyewear know that fishing without sunglasses is no good and that fishing with the wrong lens is almost as bad. That’s why the new 2013 line of Native sunglasses come with a pair of interchangeable lenses to help you adapt to changing conditions. The Kodiak, Sidecar, Eastrim, Bigfork and Lynx models come with two sets of lenses, a polarized set for normal daylight and bright conditions and a Sportflex set for dealing with low-light situations. The lenses snap in and out of the frames in seconds. The glasses also come with cam-action hinges, mastoid temple grips, air vents to help reduce fogging and cushioned nose pads for added comfort. For more information, visit www.nativeyewear.com.
Warm and Dry
Columbia exploded into the fishing market with the Performance Fishing Gear brand last year, and its high-tech products have been a big hit. Columbia’s latest offering, the FireStorm Jacket, employs a unique blend of technologies: a thermal reflective lining in the front and back traps body heat for warmth and a wicking insert provides breathability in high-sweat zones. The FireStorm’s Omni-Tech microporous coating and waterproof zipper provide excellent water protection, while the wicking technology carries sweat away from the body four times faster than similar products. The jacket also sports two large cargo pockets on the chest with waterproof zippers and a full, elasticized hood to ensure a tight fit in the rain. For more information visit www.columbia.com.
Bring Your Own Gear
While some of us learned to always be prepared in the Boy Scouts, those who did not can wind up using some pretty bad fishing gear when traveling to out-of-the-way places. Those who like to exercise a bit more control over the rods and reels they intend to use should look to getting a set of Flying Fisherman travel rods. Touted as the “Professional Rods for the Global Angler,” Flying Fisherman rods come in two-rod sets, with one fly rod and one spinning rod in each kit. The kits come in three different strengths — heavy, medium and light — so you can tackle just about any fish you encounter by choosing the right gear for your targeted species. The fly rods range from a 6-, 8- and 10-weight, while the spinning rods go from an 8- to 14-pound up to a 15- to 25-pound in the heavy kit. The rods are built from an extremely high modulus-strain Japanese graphite with nano resin and utilize high-quality Portuguese cork on the grips. The rods come in a durable, practical and stylish travel case. For more information, visit www.flyingfisherman.com.
With all the high-dollar items on this list, the Thermacell Outdoor Lantern might not seem like a big deal. However, once you find yourself sitting on the dock or on the front porch of your beachside condo being eaten alive by no-see-ums or mosquitoes, you’ll thank us for recommending this little beauty. The Thermacell Outdoor Lantern is the best option for keeping mosquitoes and other insects away in any outdoor setting. The Patio Lantern provides a 15-by-15-foot mosquito-free zone, is 98 percent effective and is tested and used by the Department of Defense and the U.S. Army, making it the most effective insect-repellent device on the market. It is also nontoxic, safe and nonintrusive, DEET-free, silent, portable and odor-free. The lantern weighs just 13 ounces. For more information, visit www.thermacell.com.
Your Very Own Big Gun
Bigger is not always better, but when you are chasing 1,000-pound marlin, it’s best to break out the big guns if you want to end the battle in a timely manner. Drag kills, and if you are using only 27 pounds of drag on your 80s or 130s during the fight, you might as well use a 50-pound reel. Penn’s International 130 VSX boasts enough line capacity and drag to bring in the largest fish that swims. The Penn 130 delivers up to 80 pounds of drag, which is 30 to 60 percent higher than International V two-speed reels on average. Penn builds the International VSX in its Philadelphia manufacturing center. Penn’s Dura-Drag system results in smoother startups and virtually eliminates hesitation, even under extreme drag settings. Also, the Quick-Shift two-speed system shifts into high or low gear easily during the fight, allowing you to adjust to any fishing situation on the fly. For more information, visit www.pennreels.com.
A Billfish Education
What big-game angler wouldn’t enjoy at trip to a hands-on offshore learning experience like the one offered by our very own Marlin University? Students at Marlin U get to fish with some of the best captains and mates in the business in some of the world’s best billfishing locales. They also get to meet and fish with our legendary instructors: guys like Peter B. Wright, Charles Perry, Randy Baker and Bo Jenyns. The class fishes over four or five days (depending on the location) with an instructor on board each boat. At night, students attend several seminars taught by either our instructors or the captains and mates we use during the class session. On the last day, the group fishes against each other in a mini International Game Fish Association tournament to make sure they know the rules and have picked up a few special skills. For more information, visit www.marlinuniversity.com.
Furuno elevates marine touch-screen technology to an entirely new level with the industry’s first multitouch MFD. As soon as your fingers touch the display, taps, pinches and swipes are instantly transformed into action. You will learn the controls so quickly that you’ll be up and running in no time. To make operation even easier while underway, adjustments, such as range and gain, are easily made from either the on-screen touch menu or the patented RotoKey. NavNet TZtouch’s TimeZero technology delivers seamless chart handling, zooming and panning without the screen disappearing. Navigating in a fully 3-D environment offers you a true perspective and wider area of view around the boat, which allows you to better plan your routes. As a bonus, TimeZero technology updates the information on your screen with virtually no redraw. NavNet TZtouch is the only chart plotter on the market that provides users the ability to choose from official National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration raster and vector charts or optional “C-Map by Jeppesen” and “Datacore by Navionics” vector cartography. For more information, visit www.furuno.com.Staff