Top Gear for 2013

16 great pieces of fishing tackle to look for in your local shop

September 20, 2012

Penn Spinfisher SSV

The new Penn Spinfisher SSV incorporates advanced materials and technology, featuring a full-metal body including side plate, and a rotor that’s built to withstand the rigors of saltwater fishing. The watertight design features six separate seals (nine on the rear-mounted Live Liner models), and the sealed HT-100 Slammer Drag keeps the internal workings dry. A stainless-steel main shaft and five shielded stainless-steel bearings keep the internal workings smooth and corrosion free. Additional features include Instant Anti-Reverse, an oversize aluminum bail wire, line capacity rings on the Superline Spool and Live Liner drag on select models. Reel weights start at 13.4 ounces, while the largest Spinfisher SSV weighs 39.8 ounces. Gear ratios range from 6.2:1 on the smallest, 5.6:1 on the midsize models, 4.7:1 on the larger models and 4.2:1 on the largest. Drag capabilities vary from 20 to 40 pounds. The Spinfisher SSV Model 1050, the largest Penn spinner, holds 415 yards of 30-pound monofilament or 750 yards of 50-pound braid, giving anglers the capacity to outlast the biggest fish. $139.95 to $199.95;

Accurate SR-6 Reel

Accurate has introduced the lightest member of its TwinSpin family of spinning reels. The new SR-6 features Accurate’s patented TwinDrag design, which creates a larger drag surface than in comparable reels, allowing anglers to apply up to 15 pounds of drag pressure. Weighing just 10 ounces, the SR-6 is machined from 6061 T-6 aircraft-grade aluminum, resulting in exceptional frame strength, and with Accurate’s hallmark natural aluminum-anodized finish, the SR-6 offers outstanding corrosion resistance. A 6:1 retrieve ratio picks up 36 inches of line for every handle rotation, and its power handle and beefy, vented spherical grip provides solid leverage on stubborn fish. The high-capacity spool holds 110 yards of 10-pound-test mono or 280 yards of 15-pound-test braid, and 210 yards of 20-pound braid or 160 yards of 30-pound braid. $599;

Daiwa LEXA 300 Baitcaster

Daiwa has engineered its new Lexa 300 series of high-capacity baitcasting reels with the strength to handle up to 55-pound-test braid and battle powerful saltwater fish. The star drag system has carbon-fiber washers for smoothness and can apply as much as 22 pounds of drag pressure. There are six low-profile models, including three left-handed versions, with retrieve ratios of either 6.3:1 (high speed) or 7.1:1 (hyper speed). On the hyper-speed models, you can get a counterbalanced power handle versus the paddle handle on other Lexa 300 reels. All models sport a no-nonsense gunmetal-gray finish. Each Lexa 300 features a high-strength aluminum frame and side plate (on the handle side), seven bearings (six ball bearings and one roller bearing), lightweight high-capacity aluminum spool, Daiwa’s Magforce casting control and infinite anti-reverse. $199.95;

ABU Garcia Revo Toro NaCl

Abu Garcia’s Revo Toro NaCl low-profile baitcasters are engineered to handle the rigors of inshore saltwater fishing. Features include a sealed centrifugal brake system and six stainless-steel, high performance, corrosion resistant ball bearings, plus a roller bearing, for smoothness and durability. The frame and side plate are built with Abu Garcia’s super-strong corrosion-resistant X2-Cräftic alloy, while a Carbon Matrix star drag system offers up to 22 pounds of drag pressure. Available in two sizes: The 50 size has easy-to-grip double EVA handles, while the larger 60 size has a single, oversize round knob. Both models feature 6.4:1 gear ratios capable of gathering 30.9 inches of line per crank. The 50 holds 200 yards of 14-pound monofilament or 250 yards of 30-pound braid. The 60 carries 250 yards of 14-pound mono or 330 yards of 30-pound braid. $299.95;

Shimano Talica 20 BFC Reel

Shimano eliminated every ounce of weight possible in creating the Talica 20 BFC, designed exclusively for sailfish and white marlin. The result is a reel weighing just 28.1 ounces. BFC stands for Bill Fish Concept, a development program in which Shimano listened carefully to the needs of East Coast sail and marlin tournament anglers, and then built the reel. Bucking the trend in today’s new reels, the 20 BFC is made to fish monofilament exclusively: It holds 640 yards of 20-pound or 440 yards of 30-pound line, has a lever drag with a maximum setting of 15 pounds, and a minimum of 3 pounds at strike. The aluminum reel is light, but also very fast. The single-speed 20 BFC comes with a 6.7:1 gear ratio. This allows anglers to gather 60 inches of line per crank, a critical advantage when a sailfish pops the line from a kite or you’re backing down on a marlin. The new Talica features six shielded ball bearings and Shimano’s new I.E. surface treatment on the spool, frame and side plate for corrosion resistance. $799.95;

Fin-Nor Marquesa 40 and 50

There’s a decided trend toward fishing braided line, benefits which include a smaller diameter and tougher break strength than monofilament, allowing lighter reels to be used to battle everything from white marlin to sharks. The new Size 40 and 50 Fin-Nor Marquesas — lightweight and overbuilt for their size — are designed especially to meet this growing demand for smaller reels that have the build to handle relatively strong braided line. The precision-machined, aluminum one-piece frame of the Marquesa is complemented by a forged and machined side cover. A near-frictionless free-spool assures weightless drop-back to sailfish. Hooked up, you’ll put him away quickly thanks to a high-speed 5.2:1 gear ratio. The two-speed version features a powerful 2.8:1 gear ratio that holds up to 1,000 yards of 65-pound braid, and contains a stainless-carbon fiber drag system and removable harness lugs. $369;

Berkley Gulp! JiggHeads

Made with Tundra Composite, Berkley’s three different models of lead-free Gulp! Heads! feature the proprietary Grip Bait Keeper, realistic 3-D eyes and premium black-nickel-finished hooks. The Darter JiggHead comes in six weight and hook combinations, from 1/8-ounce 1/0 and 2/0 hooks to the 3/8-ounce with 3/0 or 4/0 hooks. The Minnow JiggHead is configured for jigging or casting, designed with a thin-diameter hook especially suited for speckled trout and weakfish. Sizes range from 1/16-ounce with size 2 or 1/0 hook to the 3/8-ounce with 3/0 or 4/0 hook. The Bait Delivery System allows anglers to control their bait’s sink rate. Four sizes dictate sink rates from 1.5 to 3 feet per second. The 1⁄8-ounce size and 3⁄8-ounce size feature a 3/0 hook, and the 1⁄4-ounce and 5⁄8-ounce size carry a 4/0 hook. All jigs are available in a variety of colors including chartreuse, white, red and new penny. $4.99;

Sebile Long Slide Jig

Perfectly presenting a slim baitfish profile, the Sebile Long Slide Jig has enough flashing and fluttering action to convince any game fish to strike hard. It can be cast and retrieved or vertically jigged to impart a shimmering, escapist action, and the thin profile design reduces drag in the water, which translates to a lot less wear and tear on anglers’ arms as they jig throughout the day. A full-wire design ensures that it will stand up to the most brutal punishment from hard-fighting species, while the hook-rigging version has a swivel to give freedom to the lure and protect the line, without sacrificing the strength needed to handle a toothy predator. Another hook can be added on top or at the jig’s tail for additional hookability. Available in three models, ranging from 3 ounces to 6 ounces, and in an eye-catching color pattern of Iwashi sardine. $14.50 to $20.50;

Yo-Zuri Crystal 3-D Jointed Minnow

Yo-Zuri’s new Crystal 3-D Minnow jointed lure series sets the bar for realistic presentation and action. Available in both floating and deep-diving models, the lures tout an array of features, most notably the patented 3-D Prism Finish, which produces a brilliant shine that reflects like the facets of a diamond, attracting species even in the most murky water. Twelve lifelike color patterns — combined with realistic eyes and undulating jointed minnow action — virtually guarantee a strike. A newly developed joint mechanism on the plug is built extra strong to ensure you not only hook but hold onto the big ones. The shallow floating version features a Triangle Lip design, enabling the lure to be fished slowly while maintaining an enticing rolling action, while the deep-diving version runs subsurface to get down to the greater depths where big fish often hang. Specs include a 51⁄4-inch long body with a 3⁄4- to 7⁄8-ounce weight. $17.99 to $19.99;

Rapala Clackin’ Magnum

Rapala brings its Clackin’ series of hard baits down deep with the new Clackin’ Magnum. Designed with its signature Clackin’ Cadence Rattle, the stainless-steel ball inside transmits a fish-attracting rattle while pushing vibrations through the water. The deep-diving lure has an oversize lip to dig down to depths of 20-plus feet and can be trolled up to 13 knots. Holographic 3-D eyes, internal holographic foil, a textured translucent body and attractive patterns all add up to one heck of a fish-catching lure. The Clackin’ Magnum stretches 61⁄4 inches long, weighs 21⁄4 ounces, and is fitted with two No. 4 Perma Steel VMC treble hooks that hold fish tight. This new offering will be deadly for striped bass, king mackerel, wahoo, dolphin and more. They come in 10 color patterns, including bunker, blue sardine, bonito, dorado, glass ghost, gold green mackerel, hot head, purple mackerel, silver and silver-blue mackerel. $19.99;

Spiderwire Zilla Braided Line

Spiderwire has taken a new approach with its new Zilla Braid fishing line, ­building in a hint of stretch ­— call it shock absorption — for tackling humongous fish. Company engineers made Zilla Braid 67 percent more elastic than conventional braid by blending Cordura and Dyneema together in one line. The Cordura also offers additional toughness. To be clear, the stretch factor of Zilla Braid is far less than you might experience with monofilament, but the minimal stretch in Zilla Braid offers real benefits when throwing heavy lures or battling fish, enhancing the loading effect when casting, and cushioning the jarring effects of a powerful, lunging, head-shaking fish. This can help minimize angler fatigue. After stretching, the line instantly rebounds to its original length. Available only in moss green, Zilla Braid also has higher density than a conventional braid made from 100 percent polyethylene fibers such as Dyneema, though the diameter is somewhat thicker than a comparable conventional braid. It is available in pound-tests ranging from 20 to 100, and in 125-, 300- and 1,500-yard spools. $14.99 to $219.99;

Seaguar Fluoro Premier

Seaguar has expanded its Fluoro Premier leader material availability with the addition of 50-yard spools and ­50-yard Big Game coils. Fluoro Premier leader material features smaller diameters, and provides excellent knot and tensile strength through Seaguar’s superior, state-of-the-art double-structure process, which creates two custom fluorocarbon resins: a softer exterior resin to enhance knot strength and a high-density interior resin to improve tensile strength, all of which are extruded together as one solid piece. The end result is a high-performance fluorocarbon leader that is incredibly soft and strong. Fluoro Premier also features Seaguar’s Level Wind Technology, which spools the line by laying it down side by side. This eliminates crosscontact marks as well as line overstress and twist, keeping line as pristine as possible from spool to reel. Fluoro Premier is now available in 20-, 25-, 30-, 40-, 50-, 60- and 80-pound-test in 50-yard spools, $9.99 to $33.99; and 100-, 130-, 150-, 170- and 200-pound-test in a 50-yard bagged coil. $48 to $72;

Sufix 832 Camo and Hi-Viz Yellow

Sufix 832, the first line to combine Dyneema and GORE fibers, has introduced two new colors: camo and hi-viz yellow. Formulated with eight fibers — seven Dyneema and one GORE — at 32 per inch, Sufix 832 provides exceptional strength, roundness and line consistency. GORE Performance Fibers improve abrasion resistance, increase casting distance and accuracy, and reduce line vibration. Dyneema adds strength and sensitivity, which creates its small diameter and hydrophobic water-repellent protection. Sufix 832 is available in 150-yard, 300-yard and 600-yard spools ranging from 6-pound to 80-pound-test. $21.99 for 150 yards, $39.99 for 300 yards and $69.99 for 600 yards;

Eagle Claw Lazer TroKar Hooks

Saltwater anglers have a new choice in premium-priced, super-sharp hooks: Lazer TroKar. There are nine new saltwater styles, all featuring a corrosion-resistant black-chrome finish and heat-treated, three-sided, surgically sharp points. Styles include lancet circle hooks with light- to medium-gauge wire, in 1/0 to 9/0 sizes. A new TK5 AP Circle tournament-approved, non offset version comes sized 7/0 to 9/0. The TK7 live-bait hook features light wire in sizes 2 through 4/0, while the TK8 Extreme Live Bait HD hooks in size 1/0 to 8/0 have heavy wire and welded eyes. With deep gaps, the TK9 Inshore Kahle hooks come in 1/0 to 9/0. The TK10 Saltwater Straight Shank hooks incorporate welded eyes and long shanks in sizes 4/0 to 7/0. TroKar’s new TK11 Extreme Octopus hook, also known as Big Nasty, is available in sizes 2/0 to 7/0. Packaged hook quantities vary by style. $21.99;

Okuma Cruz Popping Rods

The topwater-popping craze has hit an all-time high as anglers launch monster poppers to do battle with giant trevally, bluefin tuna and the like, and now Okuma has designed a rod specifically for perfect popping: the Cruz Popping Rods. Blanks are a blend of carbon fiber and glass, and a two-piece spigot ferrule allows for easy transport. Specifically built to withstand the pressure of heavy braided lines, the ALPS 316-grade stainless-steel double-footed guide frames house hard zirconium inserts. The handle features custom ALPS aluminum reel seats, EVA fore and rear grips, and low-profile butt caps on medium-heavy models with a machined-aluminum gimbal on the heavy model. Three models are available from the lightest CRP-S-762M at 7 feet, 6 inches, rated for 30 to 160 gram lures, a medium rod CRP-S-792MH rated for lures of 90 to 200 grams to the heaviest CRP-S-792H at 7 feet, 9 inches, rated for 160 to 325 gram lures. $179.99;

Calcutta Wheeled Tackle Box

Lugging bulky tackle boxes around can be cumbersome, but Calcutta has bucked the trend and introduced its Calcutta Wheeled Tackle Box series. Features include a spacious padded compartment for top storage of large items like reels, cameras and line spools; front-load compartments come with five slide-out 360 or 370 tackle trays for lures and rigs, internal pockets for fragile items like sunglasses, cell phones and licenses, and external pockets for assorted other gear that needs to be stowed. The highlight of the bag is its telescopic handle, and wheels that make transportation of your tackle easy and weightless. Available in two sizes, 360 and 370. $169.99 to $189.99;

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