Editor’s Note: Need some new gear for a late-summer angling adventure? Looking for the next best thing for 2018? Military Times outdoors columnist Ken Perrotte has you covered. Read all about the latest fishing accessories below, and click the links for reviews on lures, boats and reels. Items with an asterisk (*) earned best-in-class honors at this year’s American Sportfishing Association’s ICAST show, short for International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades, in Orlando, Florida. Prices are MSRP unless noted.
Dozens of new kayak fishing accessories are debuting, with new storage options abundant. Wilderness’ new Catch Cooler is a soft cooler designed to fit in the bow of a sit-on-top kayak. It has two segmented compartments with ice-pack slots: Keep your catch cold in one and your food and drink in the other.
The large compartment designed to hold fish is a puncture-resistant, TPU-coated, rip-stop 420-denier nylon that’s easy to clean. It has a mesh net on top and is easily transported with shoulder straps. $149.99. Available now.
Tackle storage and transport can be a problem, but the well-designed Rod Runner system makes it easy to carry several rods simultaneously, prop them on the sand or dock while fishing, and then hang them in a convenient location when finished. It’s made of light, but durable, plastic and accommodates baitcasters and spinning reels. A new holder with a base pin helps support accessories such as nets or gaffs. You can hang the rods vertically and remove them all in one quick motion.
The wall-hanging mount, sold separately, is made of powder-coated steel, has an extra-large backplate and includes all mounting screws and anchors. It supports up to 75 pounds. The Rod-Runners run $39-$59, with the wall mounts going for $16.20. Available now.
HUK ATTACK FISHING SHOE*
Voted the top new fishing shoe, the Huk Attack is a well-designed product addressing three essential angler needs: Comfort, traction and drying speed. The shoes have a wet-traction, nonmarking outsole to go with form-fitting, fast-drying uppers with speedy “Performance Lacing.” They come in the wildly popular Kryptek camouflage pattern. It’s available in sizes 7-13. $84.99. Available in September.
Wiley X’s new line of sunglasses provide lightweight, excellent coverage and comes in Kryptek camo patterns. The WX Boss combines Kryptek’s Highlander pattern with advanced polarized, mirrored, amber-tinted lenses; it’s designed for fishing in bright conditions or sight-fishing in shallow water. The sunglasses feature Wiley X’s patented soft, removable Facial Cavity seal to block out peripheral light, wind and airborne debris.
For anglers seeking a more nautical style, the WX Omega glasses are offered with amber-tinted, polarized emerald mirror lenses and Kryptek Neptune camouflage frames. All Wiley X adult eyewear styles meet ANSI-Z87.1 High Velocity and High Mass Impact Safety standards. You can also order them with prescription and bifocal lenses. $160. Available now.
These innovative glasses conveniently fold down into a compact shape about half the size of the original frame. They can be stored in a protective case that floats. The new POPH2O series features several tint options for the polarized NyDef nylon lenses made by Carl Zeiss Vision. These are unique, comfortable new glasses, with lenses about 20 percent lighter than those made of polycarbonate.
One knock is they’re not yet available with ballistic-rated lens, something company representatives say is in the works. $189. Available now.
HYDRAPAK SEEKER & KATADYN BEFREE FILTER
What: HydraPak is touted as the largest original equipment manufacturer of hydration packs in the world. Company reps say it’s because they know how to make stuff that won’t leak. They’ve paired the popular Seeker 2- and 3-liter collapsible bottles with Kataydyn BeFree filters to offer an easily packable combo that can help you drink up even when water is suspect in terms of purity. The bottle is TPU construction and durable, expanding if placed in a freezer with water. It’s BPA and PVC free.
HydraPak is also offering in 2018 a new Stow bottle, which is basically a flexible canteen that holds up to 500 milliliters of liquid. It rolls up small when empty. It’s $14. The Seeker 2L goes for $18, the 3L for $20, and the BeFree filter for $39.95.
Flambeau Outdoors teams with Bassmaster Elite’s Mike Iaconelli in this updated, customizable tackle tray that features anti-corrosive, Zerust-treated removable boxes. Many tackle trays have partitions that fit into slots; this tray has divider boxes in four sizes. Use them to fill the entire tray or leave some out to create larger spaces for items like pliers, bags of soft plastics extra-large lures and line spools.
The new boxes are molded from Zerust-emitting blue plastic, greatly increasing the surface area of Zerust corrosion inhibitor. This is good stuff and does a remarkable job in keeping tackle rust-free. It’s especially useful in saltwater environs. The series is available in three sizes: The smallest checks in at 8.1x13.2x2.4 inches ($10.34), the largest at 16.5x13x 4.6 ($26.99). Available now.
The V-Crate takes the popular kayak-fishing milk crate model and adds storage on each side with open slots capable of handing two Plano 3600 or 3700 StowAway utility boxes, secured with rubber straps. The unit also has a rail system on each outer wall to attach rod holders and other accessories. It’s designed to sit behind the kayak seat.
The center section offers large bulk storage. The base compartment is waterproof. The main unit easily detaches for transport or stowing. $119.99. Available in January.
The lid has a large storage area and additional zippered pocket. Numerous D-rings and two tool holders offer easy access to pliers, hook removers, etc. $49.99. Available in January.
This unique gift item is designed to be an alternative to traditional taxidermy or even fiberglass replicas of trophy catches. Just document the dimensions of a trophy fish you caught and released. Field notes on the print document the angler’s name, date caught and species of fish. The print is the exact size of the fish caught. Prints are created using archival paper and inks. $5 per fish inch. Available now.
FROGG TOGGS SIERRAN TRANSITION WADERS*
The suspenders are dual adjustable, and a cinching chest cord helps keep waders up and water out should you take a slip. $199. Available in September.
BERKLEY FIRELINE ULTRA 8*
This thermally fused FireLine has 8-carrier Dyneema fiber braid and is touted as being four times more abrasion-resistant than original FireLine. It comes in two colors (smoke and crystal) and sizes from 4-pound test to 30-pound test. $19.99 (125-yard); $39.99 (300-yard); $199.99 (1,500-yard). Available in September.
This patented, creative hook style also won last year with the single hook design. The “round bend” treble hook is unique with each hook having a box-shaped “trap” designed to help anglers land more fish.
Conventional hooks are mostly solid curved wire with a barb at the end to hold the fish. If they beat the barb, they escape. Trapper hooks have two right angles and two vertical shafts, plus a barb. This increases the degree of difficulty for caught fish. Look for these to be popular swap-outs on existing lures; I’m swapping out my hooks on a couple Rat-l Traps to give these a try. $6.99-$8.99. Available now.