Capt. Steve Chaconas talks about the new fishing gadgets and gear from 2011.

BoatUS ANGLER: Do It Yourself Dept.

Gadgets or Gizmos, 2011

by Capt. Steve Chaconas, BoatUS ANGLER Pro Staff

Build a shelf and fishing manufacturers will fill them with every color shape and size imaginable. Trouble is…do they catch fish or fishermen?

Laser Lure When Laser Lures “better idea” light went on, it landed in the nose of some pretty well designed lures! Classic pitchman, Bass Cat/Yamaha pro Michael Iaconelli has seen the light! Ike proclaims his cat-catching laser works on bass too! The same curiosity that killed the cat is hooking bass! Laser pointers beat strings as cat toys and Ike says bass are just as curious when approaching the water-activated, computer-controlled intense beam of laser light that does not diffuse, infused into five pretty good lures. Ike says all of the features wiggle, wobble, colors, rattles, and deflection trigger reaction strikes. Sometimes it's something else, something different and the Laser Lure light sets them off. He also says there are some conditions where crankbaits really might not be effective. The laser light extends the window of opportunity for crankbaits allowing him to use them in water that might be too stained for dim lures. Batteries are included and last about 80 hours. After that it’s lights out, but the crankbaits, poppers and jerkbaits with red hooks and 3-D eyes can still catch fish after losing their super powers. About the same cost as high-end Japanese hard lures. laserlure.com.

Injured Minda fishing lureThinking outside the tackle box isn’t easy in this copy-bass lure market. Knockoffs are the name of the game. But, Minda Lures “The Injured Minda” stays in the strike zone aggravating bass into biting. After all, vulnerable, injured prey won’t swim away. The bright lights of YouTube showcase this Lazy Ike-ish lure. It’s larger and a few small taps on a taught line causes the head to dip down. The injured Minda rocks into a bass-biting lullaby! It will even “walk the dog!” If you really feel the need to go “mainstream”, you can wind this lure and it behaves like a crankbait. mindalures.com

In the late 1990’s, a small Japanese lure maker, Lucky Craft came to the US with $15 versions of existing $3-$6 baits. As Lucky Craft lures raised angler expectations, they also raised the bar on how deep anglers will reach into their pockets to tie on one of their baits. With unique designs, fish-like finishes, weight transfer systems, ballast, and noise, Lucky Craft lures have set Olympic standards for hard baits in every class. And now, Lucky Craft is once again scratching the Bullfishing luresurface, just barely with a unique wake bait. Size does matter! Not only does this bait weigh in at 2 ounces and is 4 inches long…but it’s also louder and flashier than others on the market. Bulky Bullfish loudly announce their presence with rattles and a substantial wake. Surfing bass can catch a wave! But wait, there’s more! Backed up with your choice, an oversized ball bearing propeller or a thumping spinner blade creates irregular actions! The number 2 hooks are stout enough to hook up with the bigger fish this lure attracts. Using heavier line and a stouter rod, the Bullfish is perfect to pull fish out of heavy grass or along the edges of cover like docks or laydowns. luckycraft.com

Feeling creative? Jann’s Net Craft has more than just all of the little stuff, hooks, weights, rod building and repair…the on-line catalog has lures in various phases of construction, components to modify original lures, or supplies to create your own! Some crankbaits only require hooks; others allow air brushers to fancy their own designs. Or, carve up something new from blocks of wood! Jann’s has the lips, hardware, hooks and coloring for nearly every crankbait design on the market, including some of the Japanese designs! Build “custom” spinnerbaits or just attach blades. Paint the heads or buy the pre-painted. Customize with a huge variety of skirts and blade configurations or just repair your old ones! Poppers, walkers, and just about every lure in the tacklebox at super low prices. Jigs of all kinds too! Perfect for the hobbyist or for the angler looking for the edge “uniqueness” provides. jannsnetcraft.com

Checking out new boats and especially USED boats? Elite Series Triton/Mercury pro Brent Chapman turned me on to something new from the trailer winch and jack experts, Fulton! While most jacks and winches do their jobs, they are slow and sometimes hard to engage! Forget about moving your trailer after it’s off the tow vehicle! Now, Fulton has introduced the F2 trailer jack with 1600 lb lift capacity and precision machining designed with the strongest mount and swivel on the market. It’s fast and you don’t get a “winch workout!” The release “pull pin” is easy to use! No more getting the release pin stuck in your fingers! The wider wheel base and the option to have two wheels makes this jack the one if you want to maneuver your trailer into a garage or parking space! And finally a winch that’s strong enough and can be cranked on either side! The new F2 has a user-friendly pull and turn knob that engages the pawl easily. No more exposed springs to pop out or catch on your clothing! If you buy a used boat, replace the winch and jack! If you are ordering a new boat, you’ll be glad you upgraded to a jack that you won’t have to worry about!

Ish Phat Frog fishing lureJust about every lure company is tackling hollow frogs. Snag Proof has probably sold more frogs than all the other companies put together! They’ve been around since the 1950’s! Snag Proof is the biggest frog in the frog pond because they never stop tinkering. This time it's Ranger/Yamaha pro Ish Monroe solving one of the biggest problems with hollow frogs. A molded chamber encases the hook…result? Ish’s Phat Frog is tighter than any other! No more water entering through the hook area, period! Apologies to Harry Ehlers, the inventor of the hollow frog, but this is absolutely the most innovative design in froggy history! I’m sure Harry is smiling down on Ish for turning a frog into a prince of a leak proof bass catcher! Ish’s Phat Frog has a very soft body that compresses to reveal the business end of two very strong hooks! Oh, the colors are awesome…leave it to Ish to colorfully moniker his line up! Da Man is white, Papa Midnight is black. The rest of the colors have colorful names, including the Sexy Ish…snagproof.com

Aquateko's Invisi SwivelsAnd here’s a small item that could make big changes in tackle systems. Until now, swivels have been made of metal. Metal sinks and will affect the fall of lures. A new concept putting fishing techniques on a new swivel is Aquateko’s new Invisi Swivels. The fluorocarbon swivels are invisible under water and neutrally buoyant. These features allow baits to be attached to a leader to braided line without interfering with the natural action of the bait. It’s also easier to tie a knot from a leader to the braid using the Invisi Swivel. Many applications in Carolina rigs and weightless soft plastics to eliminate line twist! aquateko.com

But, as you pull out the plastic to pay for your new stuff, remember, three axioms that come to mind…fishing lures don’t catch fish…fishermen catch fish…fishing lures catch fishermen. With every new season, come a new gadget or gizmo and an angler eager to own one. As my wife says, “fish until you drop!”

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