2006 New Gear

2006 New Gear

2006 New Gear

We spooled a new Penn Affinity AF4000 with 12-pound test and put it to work casting topwaters to busting fish. The high-performance drag could be fine-tuned with a few clicks without locking or freeing the spool, and the heavy-duty bail turned over effortlessly. The Affinity Series features full-metal construction and an extra-thick bail arm not found on other inshore spinning reels. The waterproof drag knob keeps salt water out, while a techno-balanced rotor ensures smooth operation. The Affinity Series reels start at $120. Penn Fishing Tackle; (215) 229-9415; www.pennreels.comManfred Koh
2006 New Gear

2006 New Gear

MirrOminnow Suspending Twitchbaits from MirrOlure are designed to mimic small forage and tempt inshore predators from seatrout to striped bass. To achieve a natural look, MirrOlure added a luminescent insert to the baits and kept the body slender. Measuring 3 1/4 inches, MirrOminnows are made to fish on or just below the surface. Created to match rain fish and glass minnows, these lures also resemble northern spearing and bay anchovies. The lures are available in 11 colors and sell for $7. L&S; Bait Company Inc.; (727) 584-7691; www.mirrolure.comManfred Koh
2006 New Gear

2006 New Gear

Performance Braid from Sufix is made with the Y6 Digital Braiding Process that allows more weaves per inch, resulting in a stronger line with a thinner diameter. We tested the braid while drifting live eels off Montauk, New York, and, as advertised, felt even the slightest nudges from fish. Among others, bottom fishermen chasing tautog or grouper will also benefit from the sensitivity. Available from six- to 130-pound test, Sufix Performance Braid comes in lo-vis green and hi-vis yellow. Prices start at $15. Sufix; (800) 554-1423; www.sufix.comManfred Koh
2006 New Gear

2006 New Gear

We've logged enough time in rubber boots to know that while most models will keep you dry, they typically offer no support, especially when you're hammering through five-footers at the end of the day. Thankfully, Rugged Shark Great White Deck Boots have built-in arch support and removable insoles that contour to and cradle the foot. The outsoles are non-marking and feature channels that pump water away, which means no slips and a sturdy grip on wet boat decks. Rugged Shark Great White Deck Boots sell for $64. Rugged Shark; (954) 782-3200; www.ruggedboots.com
2006 New Gear

2006 New Gear

Bushnell Stableview Binoculars feature two modes that compensate for three degrees of motion caused by heavy seas or one degree to eliminate motion caused by shaking hands. Perfect for spotting diving birds or breaking fish from far away in rough seas, Stableview Binoculars are water- and fog-proof and provide 10X magnification. The binoculars are compact and easy to stow in a tackle bag or boat storage compartment. Bushnell Stableview Binoculars sell for $900. Bushnell; (800) 423-3537; www.bushnell.com
2006 New Gear

2006 New Gear

Sea Grip Tooth Proof Gloves are made with material that resists punctures and tears from the wrist to the fingertips. Steel leader, braided line and the spines and teeth of fish are no match for Sea Grips. One Inshore glove sells for $25, and the Offshore style costs $70 a pair. Hi-Seas; (800) 824-9473; www.hiseas.net
2006 New Gear

2006 New Gear

Fatsos from Salmo are made for muskie, but they looked like bunker to us and the striped bass agreed. We added salt water hooks to these 5 1/2-inch plugs and tested both the sinking and floating models at our favorite striper haunts. The diving model got down fast and swam in a tight wobble. Through-wired and made of durable, hardened foam, Fatsos are available in ten patterns (Real Roach, shown) and sell for $25. Salmo; (952) 224-3649;www.salmofishing.comManfred Koh
2006 New Gear

2006 New Gear

The new Rolling Weekender Bag from G. Loomis had enough room for a few days worth of clothes, with tons of pocket space for that extra tackle we couldn't leave home without. The telescoping handle coupled with the built-in wheels help the bag move effortlessly (even on the streets of New York City) while the padded bottom compartment was perfect for stowing reels and camera equipment. The bag is designed to meet airline carry-on allowances, has oversize zippers for easy opening and sells for $95. G. Loomis; (360) 225-6516; www.gloomis.com
2006 New Gear

2006 New Gear

Daiwa's compact Coastal Inshore Special baitcaster features infinite anti-reverse and a Centriflex anti-backlash system, which made for effortless, long casts when we tested the reel in South Carolina. The spool holds 120 yards of 14-pound test, and the frame and sideplates are constructed of aluminum alloy for total corrosion protection. A seven-disk, fiber-composite wet drag gave us a smooth fight against seatrout and redfish, while the fast, 6.3:1 ratio picked up 28 inches of line in one handle turn. The Daiwa Coastal Inshore Special sells for $130. Daiwa; (562) 802-9589; www.daiwa.comManfred Koh
2006 New Gear

2006 New Gear

Ever have an expensive knife rust from salt water? We have too. But Salt Series knives from Spyderco are made from H1 steel""guaranteed not to rust or tarnish, even if stowed wet. The textured, fiberglass-reinforced-nylon handle ensures a firm grip, while an oversize hole in the locking blade makes the knife easy to open with one hand or while wearing gloves. Available in Pacific (shown), Atlantic and Tasman models, the knives feature lanyard holes and reversible pocket clips and start at $82. Spyderco; (303) 279-8383; www.spyderco.comManfred Koh
2006 New Gear

2006 New Gear

Made of proprietary Fishskin material, the upper and lower fins on ProFishCo's Fishskin Jigs maximize underwater visibility in murky or low-light conditions. We tried the jigs from New Jersey jetties last fall and hooked up in turbid water. The lure's natural swimming action enticed stripers, while the extra-sharp hook stayed put and ensured we landed them. The epoxy-coated heads resist chipping and have oversize "scared-prey" eyes. Fishskin Jigs are available in six colors and nine sizes and start at $3. ProFishCo; (866) 677-6347; www.profishco.comCarlos Alayo
2006 New Gear

2006 New Gear

Current Sandals by Mion feature ergomorphic foot beds that permanently form to the wearer's feet for maximum comfort. Compounds in the siped soles become sticky when wet for increased traction. Each sandal weighs just five ounces, so you may think you're barefoot. Whether casting from the bow of a flats skiff or rocking around offshore, the sculpted ribs of the sandal hold the foot in place. Available in 14 colors, Current Sandals retail for $100. Mion; (866) 784-6466; www.mionfootwear.com
2006 New Gear

2006 New Gear

What is the advantage of a transparent fly reel? We'll make it clear. The Evotec CLW Clear ($200) from Loop Tackle Design has a spool, frame and drag housing constructed of ultra lightweight corrosion-proof composite. This virtually indestructible material stands up to the harsh treatment intrepid fly anglers dish out in pursuit of everything from bonefish to blues. The eight-weight reel has plenty of fish-stopping power and holds 197 yards of 20-pound backing. Fly Angler Distributing; (604) 501-0565; www.looptackle.se
2006 New Gear

2006 New Gear

Helly Hansen manufactures the trusted rain gear we use to stay dry in sloppy conditions, but the Skagerak jacket does much more than keep the water off. Equipped with watertight cuffs, the reversible jacket has a fluorescent signal-yellow side that is highly visible on or in the water, while a high storm collar conceals a folding, zip-off hood. A waterproof pocket provides storage for a wallet, cellphone or handheld GPS. Constructed of durable nylon, the Helly Hansen Skagerak is available in three colors and sells for $500. Helly Hansen; (425) 378-8700, www.hellyhansen.com
2006 New Gear

2006 New Gear

We've seen lures that rattle and lures that buzz, but here's one that zaps. Well, not quite, but Mustad's EChip Hoochie features an internal chip that emits an electrical pulse, purportedly mimicking the nerve activity of wounded baitfish. No batteries are required--the mechanism is activated when a steel ball moves with the motion of the lure and strikes the ceramic crystals at each end of the chip. Ideal for light trolling or tying into a bottom rig for fluke, Hoochies come in 20 colors to match local forage and sell for $6. Mustad; (315) 253-2793; www.mustad.no
2006 New Gear

2006 New Gear

There are dredges and there are umbrella rigs, but this combination really packs a one-two punch. The Mojo Fish Umbrella Dredge from Chaos is a heavy-duty wire frame rigged with 14 nine-inch soft-plastic herring, each with a highly reflective holographic core. Pull it as is to tease up tuna and marlin, or remove a few of the baits and add your favorite striper lures to troll right off the beach. Multiple rigs can also be hooked together to mimic a larger school of bait. The Mojo Fish Umbrella Dredge sells for $150. Chaos Rods and Lures; (877) 547-8066; www.chaosfishing.comManfred Koh
2006 New Gear

2006 New Gear

Trouble sleeping? The Outdoor Channel can be good late-night company, but you could get stuck watching infomercials. Enter the vacuum sealer. Finally you can freeze fish to eat or even use as bait. But we wore out three machines before upgrading to the Ary VacMaster SVP-10, a commercial-grade unit that sells for $1,300""and is worth it. Unlike suction units, the VacMaster's hydraulic motor produces negative force pressurization to remove the air from reusable bags in 55 seconds. It will not suck fluids, so it's ideal for chowders, sauces and, of course, fillets. Ary, Inc.; (800) 821-7849; www.aryinc.com
2006 New Gear

2006 New Gear

A good gaff job can mean the difference between rerigging and eating sushi. Ease some of the strain with a new fiberglass gaff from Barefoot Rods & Tackle. Hook sizes range from two to four inches and handles from two to eight feet long and are slightly flexible. Double EVA molded grips create a strong hold on these lightweight gaffs, which float if dropped overboard. The line of Barefoot gaffs are custom wrapped and start at $50. Barefoot Rods & Tackle; (919) 596-5007; www.fishingbarefoot.comManfred Koh
2006 New Gear

2006 New Gear

To get hooked up in low-light conditions, tie on a Grim Reefer from Jock Jigs-Glitterbug. Painted with a trademarked Hyper-Vis coating, Grim Reefers are said to gather more underwater light and draw in fish from a greater distance. The soft lead jigs can be bent for more action. We tested them on a black sea bass trip and found that our lines stayed tight all morning while standard diamond jigs went untouched. More than a few Long Island striped bass fell to the Reefers as well. Available in seven colors and five weights, Grim Reefers start at $5. Jock Jigs-Glitterbug; (360) 736-8403Manfred Koh
2006 New Gear

2006 New Gear

Rough seas aside, there's nothing more uncomfortable than the hot sun on a long fishing trip. Whether you troll offshore or fly-cast on the flats, a Bluewater Technical Shirt from AFTCO will keep you cool and protected from the rays. We wore them while chasing snook in Florida and, despite the brutal sun, stayed dry and comfortable. These soft cotton shirts offer maximum breathability with a ventilated back and sides. The shirts are available in three colors and long or short sleeve and start at $30. AFTCO; (800) 452-3726; www.aftco.comManfred Koh
2006 New Gear

2006 New Gear

SWS Editor at Large George Poveromo knows that big fish and tangled lines spell trouble. So when he told us about the Swivel Trident rod holder from Hydra, we said, "Test it out." Designed to hold three rods from one rod holder and tilt to almost any angle, the Trident swivels 360 degrees, keeping rods pointed at the baits while chasing a fish or when wind or current changes, reducing crossed lines. During the trial, Poveromo tangled with tons of kingfish, but never another line. The Trident sells for $400. Hydra Enterprises; (561) 436-2439; www.rodholders.com
2006 New Gear

2006 New Gear

Costa Del Mar has resurrected their classic Hammerhead polarized sunglasses, adding a few modern twists for today's angler. The frames are wider but feature smaller lenses, giving them a sleeker look and a more comfortable fit. Extra-wide nylon temples keep sunlight out while Megol nose pads hold the glasses in place, even in wet or sweaty conditions. Hammerheads start at $150. Costa Del Mar; (386) 677-3700; www.costadelmar.com
2006 New Gear

2006 New Gear

Between the solid cold-cast acrylic bodies and one-piece stainless-steel center inserts that connect to the hooks, Angry Poppers from Frenzy Tackle are practically indestructible. This design means no more chipped paint and no more ripped-out hooks. Whether you chug the poppers quickly across the surface, twitch them just below or slow-troll them, their highly reflective prism core and oversize eyes draw strikes from inshore and offshore species. They are available in six colors and sell for $10. Frenzy Tackle; (985) 951-8116; www.frenzytackle.comManfred Koh
2006 New Gear

2006 New Gear

As technology pushes ahead, spinning gear is finding its way farther offshore, and the TwinSpin 30 reel from Accurate is the latest innovation that really goes the distance. With a dual drag that applies equal pressure to both sides of the reel, it's not hard to believe the TwinSpin has bested Pacific blue marlin up to 325 pounds. The frame and spool are machined from solid blocks of T-6 aircraft-grade aluminum, and the bail and drag plates are pure titanium. Offering more than 20 pounds of drag pressure, the reel has a retrieve ratio of 6:1. The Accurate TwinSpin 30 sells for $900. Accurate; (888) 222-8372; www.accuratefishing.com
2006 New Gear

2006 New Gear

SWS Editor at Large Dave Lear is a true redfish nut. So when we heard about Mastery Series Redfish Fly Line from Scientific Anglers, we knew just who to have test it. While casting to bulls in Florida, Lear found that the line had very low memory and loaded the rod quickly. The braided monofilament Tropi-Core helped prevent tangles and maintained the stiffness needed in a warm salt water environment. The line is available in weights six through nine and starts at $60. Scientific Anglers; (989) 496-3401; www.scientificanglers.com
2006 New Gear

2006 New Gear

Whether you're storing fish for the table or bait for the trip, freshness is always important. Ultra-Cool iceboxes from Engel are available in gelcoated fiberglass or roto-molded plastic and will keep contents cold for up to 11 days, as both types are insulated with high-grade polyurethane foam. The boxes don't absorb odors and can be used with dry ice when bait needs to be fully frozen for long offshore adventures. Ultra-Cool boxes are available in 13- through 1,270-quart capacity. Suggested retail prices start at $30. Engel; (561) 743-7419; www.ultra-cool.us
2006 New Gear

2006 New Gear

Machined from solid aluminum, Bite Me Jigs ($9) from Big Bites Tackle are aerodynamically shaped for maximum casting distance when the wind is howling and that school of yellowtail seems just out of reach. The lures have a unique darting action and sink more slowly than other metals. The fully anodized bodies resist denting and scratching, which also makes them great for nailing toothy pelagic predators while fishing on the troll. We gave them a shot in Long Island Sound and quickly found out that striped bass couldn't resist the flash and movement of these lures. Bite Me Jigs measure six inches, weigh 1.7 ounces and are available in nine colors. Big Bites Tackle; (215) 384-4079; www.bigbitestackle.comManfred Koh
2006 New Gear

2006 New Gear

Jigs and metal lures are necessities for any angler whether he fishes the bay or chases dolphin offshore. AquaSkinz made these essentials easier to carry with the new Bucktail and Tin Holster ($19). The holster straps conveniently on a belt or tackle bag strap, and features drain holes and heavy-duty Velcro tabs to keep lures secure while protecting the hook points. When we tested the holster in the Jersey surf, our leadheads were always close by and easy to grab--a big plus when a blitz erupts or fishing after dark. AquaSkinz; (631) 956-0369; www.aquaskinz.com
2006 New Gear

2006 New Gear

New from Shakespeare, Cajun Advantage co-polymer line ($7 and up) contains a UV blocker that is said to keep it from drying or fraying from long days in the sun. The red color disappears in the water, making it a great choice for targeting wary species of bottomfish, such as grouper and red snapper. Ultra-low memory and controlled stretch keep you tangle-free, while the abrasion-resistant formula withstands nicks and cuts from underwater wrecks and rocks. The line is available in four- through 200-pound test. Shakespeare; (800) 334-9105; www.shakespeare-fishing.com
2006 New Gear

2006 New Gear

Developed with the serious surfcaster in mind, Ocean Master Cape Point Special surf rods ($140 and up) from Offshore Angler bring a custom feel without the high price tag. With the addition of new Fuji Skeletal Snap-Lock reel seats to the blanks, the rods are extremely light, and after a day of sending six-ounce weights over the bar, our test team reported no arm fatigue. By not including grips on any section of the rod, anglers can add their preferred wrapping or leave the blank grip-free. The rods are available in ten- through 12-foot lengths and come in spinning or conventional models. Bass Pro Shops; (800) 227-7776; www.basspro.com
2006 New Gear

2006 New Gear

Whether rigged weightless or on an oversized jighead, Anaconda soft-plastics from Wave ($5 per pack) emit a strong tail beat that draws in stripers or cobia. Measuring seven inches, Anacondas have a vertically molded tail, so even the slightest twitch of the rod produces a seductive wiggle. Available in 20 colors, these lures match a wide variety of forage and are infused with Molopo oil for added scent attraction. Wave Industries; (903) 383-3573; www.wavefishing.comManfred Koh
2006 New Gear

2006 New Gear

Offshore fishing gear can be pricey, but you don't have to break the bank to haul in that trophy tuna. Available in sizes from the 15- to 40-pound class, Contender lever-drag reels from Pflueger ($90 and up) feature four stainless-steel bearings and an oversize Tritek washer in the drag system. The cold-forged, anodized aluminum spool spins smoothly, and the Smart-Click system means the reel's clicker only engages when line is pulled off the spool—not while reeling. We trolled with the G20L and found that the reel had plenty of cranking power. Pflueger; (800) 347-3759; www.pfluegerfishing.com
2006 New Gear

2006 New Gear

Running offshore in choppy seas can be uncomfortable, but with a LoungAir Convertible Air Bed ($100) in the stern, no one will be hanging on while underway. Unlike beanbag chairs, the LoungAir can be positioned as a flat bed, a recessed recliner or an upright chair and fits neatly in the corner of the transom. Each chamber can be individually adjusted for firmness. LoungAirs inflate quickly with a rechargeable 12-volt pump and stow in a small space onboard when deflated. LoungAir; (877) 240-6158; www.loungair.com
2006 New Gear

2006 New Gear

Whether you're chasing weakfish or tarpon, Quantum Boca PT inshore rods ($100 and up) have you covered. Made from lightweight, high-modulus graphite blanks, the Boca rods have a fast action and withstand major bends. Fourteen models match any inshore angling needs. All rods are extra-sensitive, but still pack the punch needed to land trophy fish. Quantum; (800) 588-9030; www.quantumfishing.com
2006 New Gear

2006 New Gear

When tackle companies unveil their latest reels at the annual industry tackle show in Las Vegas, the heat is on to one-up the competition. Meet this year's top dog. Voted best salt water reel for 2006, the Penn International Torque features an integrated side plate that houses an oversized gear, offering a combination of power and speed when reeling. Designed for use with braided line, the reel uses a heat-treated pinion gear for extra strength and larger drag plates to keep the fight smooth. The frame and spool are constructed of a lightweight aluminum alloy and the Torque series is equipped with five stainless-steel ball bearings that can handle extreme pressure. We put the Torque to the test on numerous species and found it to be a cranking machine.
Penn Fishing Tackle; (215) 229-9415; www.pennreels.com
2006 New Gear

2006 New Gear

Time and tide wait for no man, but there's no excuse to miss either with this watch from Timex. With the push of a button, the E-Tide & Temp ($120) uses a fourth hand to show the current temperature or the tide level at your inlet of choice. This analog watch features a tough stainless-steel case and moisture-wicking strap, while an Indiglo night-light has you covered when hunting swordfish or snook after dark. Water resistant up to 100 meters, the E-Tide & Temp gets you to the bite on time.
Timex; (800) 448-4639; www.timex.com
2006 New Gear

2006 New Gear

Like to cap off a great fishing trip with a fine cigar? Even if the forecast calls for ten-footers, you can bring out the good stuff with the CigarCaddy ($22 and up) from Otterbox -- an air- and water-tight container that keeps cigars fresh and protected in any conditions. Cut foam on the interior cradles each cigar in four available models that hold from two (shown) to 15 cigars. All boxes float and keep water out.
Otterbox; (888) 695-8820; www.otterbox.com
Manfred Koh
2006 New Gear

2006 New Gear

When night falls, striper tins usually end up back in the tackle bag. Not anymore. New Black Knight Tins ($7 and up) from Point Jude Lures are classic metals designed to keep you hooked up after sunset, combining a distinct wobble with a sharp silhouette. Available in three styles, the tins feature a high-gloss black finish, matched with tails of purple feathers and black bucktail. Every Point Jude lure is rigged with a VMC hook and Rosco split ring to help you land your midnight monster.
Point Jude Lures; (401) 846-1808; www.pointjudelures.com
Manfred Koh