As we head into a busy billfish season this summer, now is a great time to take stock of your essential gear to be certain you have everything you need to fish safely and more effectively than ever before.
Marked in highly visible increments, the Release Ruler is a great way to more accurately judge the size of your blue marlin, especially in tournament situations where the fish must meet a minimum-length requirement. It’s available in versions for blue, white and striped marlin, as well as sailfish, swordfish and tuna.
Every boat needs a handy pick gaff, and this one from Bubba is one of the nicest we’ve seen. It has a lightweight carbon-fiber shaft, a corrosion-resistant 17-4 stainless-steel hook, and a nonslip grip handle that makes it effective when gaffing smaller gamefish, or to pick up dock or mooring lines at the end of the day.
Donmar Titanium Pliers
A good pair of pliers makes any rigging chore easier, and Donmar’s Checkpoints are real beauties. The replaceable tungsten-carbide blades will cut mono up to 450-pound-test as well as single-strand wire and wire cable up to 180-pound-test. Handcrafted in the US, they will not rust, corrode or oxidize.
That Flippy Floppy Thing
Adding an active teaser is the single easiest thing you can do to make your trolling spread more attractive to any billfish species. Squidnation’s Flippy Floppy is among the best because it mimics a predator crashing bait on the surface; the Killer Pink color pattern is a favorite.
Although we rarely use wire leaders for billfishing these days, the name stuck, and having a good pair of wiring gloves is critical for hand protection. Two favorites: Fish Monkey’s Quick Release and the Patriot from AFTCO. Both are versatile medium-duty gloves for all-around use.
Are your release flags faded, worn and ratty-looking? Great, that means they’ve gotten a lot of use—time to invest in a few new ones from Taylor Made. Whether you fly them upside down for a release or right side up is your call to make.
The Charles Perry Pro bucket harness from Seamount is among the best we’ve ever seen for serious heavy-tackle fishing. It’s stiff enough that it won’t collapse under the strain of heavy drag, while still offering good comfort, durability and ergonomics, with easily adjustable reel-harness straps.
All products shown are available through Tackle Direct at tackledirect.com.