Tools of the Trade

There’s likely no such thing as too much fish­ing tackle, but we’ve come close to over­load the last few weeks.

Saltwater Sportsman - - Table Of Contents / Departments - GLENN LAW

We’ve been por­ing over quite a bit of it for this is­sue, to pick the best of the new gear, gleaned from sev­eral days on the floor of the over­whelm­ingly large dis­play at the an­nual trade show that goes un­der the im­pos­ing name of In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion of Al­lied Sport­fish­ing Trades. The in­dus­try refers to it sim­ply as ICAST.

There’s a lot of shiny equip­ment on dis­play, and there’s no deny­ing that the lures, reels and rods of­ten func­tion as the jew­elry of the sport. Take a late-night walk down the docks at any big tour­na­ment and you’ll see boat cock­pits dec­o­rated with the gleam­ing and pol­ished out­fits on dis­play, ready to go to work.

But the le­git­i­macy re­mains. These are the tools we rely on, the hard­ware that serves as the con­duit for our en­thu­si­asm.

New tackle rep­re­sents more than just new stuff to buy. Look be­yond the mar­ket­ing and the hype, of which there is no short­age, and the func­tion­al­ity of new tools, new ma­te­ri­als and new tech­nolo­gies holds prom­ise.

When braided lines ap­peared, their dis­tinc­tive ad­van­tages and char­ac­ter­is­tics opened whole worlds of new op­por­tu­nity, and a lot of the fish­ing we cur­rently en­joy wouldn’t have been pos­si­ble with­out them. Graphite rods, once found only in lux­ury tackle lock­ers, quickly be­came the stan­dard.

Where among the sea of gleam­ing new gear is in­no­va­tion des­tined to be a game changer?

We cull through, look­ing for the best, the promis­ing edge, that gear or tech­nol­ogy that el­e­vates our skills just enough to raise our suc­cess to the next level.

It’s too easy to dis­miss new tackle as su­per­flu­ous — what worked for us last year, the year be­fore, and a decade ago is still good enough, right? We all have our proven fa­vorites in rods, reels and go-to lures that al­ways save the day. Once we’ve set­tled on what works, why change it?

When I find some­thing I like, I usu­ally stick with it. Some­times too long.

I had this fool­ish­ness driven home re­cently on an ex­cur­sion in the Ba­hamas.

We were hunt­ing the flats for bone­fish on a par­tic­u­larly blus­tery day. Fish were scarce, then the guide called for a fast, long cast into the wind at a tough an­gle. I couldn’t do it.

I’m cer­tainly no tour­na­ment caster, but I can usu­ally hold my own, and I’ve been at it long enough to have the bugs worked out. But the guide’s or­ders seemed un­rea­son­able. I’m not ac­cus­tomed to step­ping up to an­swer the call and flub­bing it.

Rolling the frus­tra­tion around in my mind at the end of the day, I rec­og­nized the guide prob­a­bly wasn’t mak­ing any re­quest that he didn’t see rou­tinely hon­ored by the an­glers in the front of his boat.

So I sur­mised what any self-re­spect­ing, ra­tio­nal­iz­ing an­gler would: My equip­ment wasn’t up to snuff. Ev­ery­body else he fished with had bet­ter, newer gear.

Once home, my re­search ver­i­fied my sus­pi­cions. I ac­quired some cut­ting-edge rods and found they make a big dif­fer­ence. My con­fi­dence re­turned.

Talk about jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for ac­quir­ing a lot of tackle. I had a wa­ter­tight case.

I’m cur­rently in the process of up­grad­ing my gear. It’s a spendy en­deavor, I ad­mit, but that’s a small mat­ter. It’s a true fact that an­glers who have the most and the best gear not only catch more fish, but they also out­last those who don’t.

The more fish­ing tackle you have, the longer you’ll live.

By Glenn Law

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