The small things that make the difference
Whilst most of the chat online and on the forums, is all about which rods, reels, lures or bait is best to use, little is ever spoken about the accessories which many of us use and take for granted. I know from personal experience there are a few key bits of kit which I would simply be lost without and have become just as valuable to my fishing experience as my tackle and lures. So, I thought I’d share with you some of my essentials and give you an insight into why they have become integral to my bass fishing.
Polaroid Sunglasses [Costa Del Mar]
Many of you will have seen anglers running about with sunglasses on and whilst some may just be a fashion statement, a true pair of polarizing glasses is a true game changer for lure anglers. Firstly, Costas filter out harmful UV light to provide proper protection from the sun and secondly, they cut the surface glare off the water which dramatically increases visibility not only of fish following the lure but also the structure under the water.
Costa state on their website that their 580 lens technology ‘Cuts haze and blur for greater clarity and in addition to 100% protection from UV light, 580 technology also absorbs HEV light known to cause macular degeneration, pterygium, cataracts and other eye diseases.’ Being able to walk along a mark and see clearly the gullies, drop offs or rocks really enhances your ability to present lures into likely looking areas. It also can be handy for spotting baitfish such as shoaling sand eels along the weed margins.
On occasion, they have been the key to success when sight fishing, allowing me to watch every movement of the fish before making an appropriate cast. My ‘go to’ lens would be the green mirror with copper base as these offer high contrast and are best suited for our U.K. and Irish lighting and weather conditions. Currently I am using the new 2017 Whitetips which fit me perfectly but there are a whole range of frame sizes and styles to choose from to fit your needs.
Many of you may go online now and check out the pricing and be shocked – yes, they are not cheap, however they are an investment and like most pieces of kit, if you can afford to invest in something which is a solid and reliable product you get back what you put in. To give you an idea I have had a pair of Costa Sunglasses now which have lasted me three years and have resisted scratches and scores and still look mint!
You will never see me leave the house without them!
Waterproof Phone Case [Aqua Pac]
I am constantly hearing stories of people drowning their phones and I can never work out why people don’t invest in a proper, dedicated water proof case. Most of us now are using a phone worth hundreds of pounds so a small investment of £20 isn’t really that much to save the potential damage to your phone.
Not only is it a money saver but from a safety aspect I think it is critical to ensure you have a way of contacting someone if the worst was to happen and you needed help. This is why I will never go fishing without my phone in an AquaPac or Overboard case regardless if I am just on the rocks in the shorts and t-shirt or wading up to my chest, the phone always goes in one. Touch wood I will never need it for emergency reasons but I like to have that peace of mind that if the time came I would be ready.
Neoprene Fingerless Gloves (Abu Garcia)
I have had a lot of friendly abuse from people thinking that I am soft and have delicate hands for using gloves but all joking aside, they are a pretty handy tool for several reasons.
The first one is the added grip and protection you get when scrambling over the rocks and general climbing that comes with the territory of lure fishing. I have found these to give me better grip on wet rocks and therefore increases my safety when out and about.
Secondly, they give you a much better purchase on a fish when landing or releasing and allow you to grab leaders with more confidence which all adds up to a much more confident landing and safer releases.
Lastly, they come into their own when fishing in the colder months allowing you to fish for longer without the inevitable cold hands which means more time fishing and increased chances of bass!
A small but great bit of kit for quickly measuring a fish before safely releasing it. It also doubles up as the lanyard for my AquaPac phone case when means I can hang in round my neck and down in side of my waders then a quick unclip and it’s an instant measuring tape.
Great for taking the length and girth etc for your record books or your fish log and does less damage that starting to weigh your catch. You can find all the conversion charts online and on the BASS website for converting the length to a rough weight.
Magnet Clips [Sierra]
These are a great invention, especially for attaching a landing net or a boga grip to your belt, bag or vest. Some of the other clips I have used in the past have been quite weak and more of a hindrance but these Scierra ones are very strong and connect with a good positive snap.
Ideal for keeping a landing net around the back while you are fishing and out of the way until that crucial point where it is needed – saves a lot of fiddling about with standard d-rings and carabiner clips.
Most of you may already be using these types of kit but for those looking to enhance their fishing experience then I would strongly suggest you take a look at your kit and think about these accessories which just make life a lot easier when out fishing.
Being able to eliminate the small problems and fiddly bits means you can give your fishing the full attention it requires and know that all the other bits are in place and there to serve their purpose. In my opinion the bits of kit mentioned above aren’t fashion accessories or shiny collectables like some lures, they are there to serve a use and have to be fit for purpose and I’d be lost without them!
These products in the blog are the preference of the author, but many suitable alternative products are available including Multifunctional Headwear from the BASS shop. More tackle reviews can be found on the BASS members only forum.
©Images and text by Steven Neely.