Hot Tackle 2003 Part 2

A roundup of the year's hottest gear: lures, electronics, and accessories.

Field & Stream Online Editors

_From all the latest innovations and product refinements offered by tackle manufacturers, I've sifted out some especially notable items that can help you catch fish. Earlier, I previewed rods, reels, and lines. Now, here are some great new lures, electronics, and fishing accessories. _

LURES There are so many lures from so many manufacturers that I can't do justice to all of them here, so I'll hit some highlights:

  • Worden's fast-diving, long-casting, and snag-resistant DC-16 Timber Tiger dives to 16 feet when cast (more when trolled) and has a "near-suspend" ability. It weighs 5/8 ounce and comes in a slew of colors.

  • Snapback soft lures from Terminator are durable, highly elastic, and very buoyant, available in five shapes and numerous colors. Also, additions to their Titanium In-Line Spinners include large bucktail and small weedless versions.

  • Rapala's DT series of balsa crankbaits feature non-tumbling long-distance castability, easy retrieval, fast depth attainment, internal rattles, and an object-deflecting lip. There are 10- and 16-foot-depth models in 12 colors.

  • The 19-1/2-inch Stretch Sea Snake from Mann's: half diving-head hard body and half soft-plastic eel tail. Also check out the 8-inch jointed Stretch 25+ deep-diving plug. Both come in seven colors.
    Mann's Sea Snake

  • The Big Ant minicrankbait from Rebel (Pradco) is 1 1/4 inches long and weighs 1/8 ounce. There's also the new Holographic Minnow series and the 3/16-ounce Crickhopper Popper, the first popping plug in Rebel's critter lineup.
    Rebel Big Ant

  • The K13 Lighted Kwikfish from Luhr Jensen has a water-activated strobe light for low-visibility trolling; and the Javelin Shallow Runner, a 5-3/4-inch heavyweight plug, runs just 2 to 3 feet deep.

  • The 3X series of extra-strong, extra-soft plastic baits from Strike King are highly stretchable yet durable baits that float high and come in nine body styles and a host of colors.

  • The Hardcore series of crankbaits from Yo-Zuri have internal tungsten weights for distance casting, balance, and noise. There are six models, including a lipless version, and assorted colors.

  • Power Naturals from Berkley--sold in jars in worm, maggot, and corn nugget styles--are durable and 100 percent biodegradable. Scent Vent Spinners are in-line spinners that hold and dispense scent.

  • The Knuckle-Head, a unique, jointed topwater popper from Creek Chub (Pradco), is a 5-inch, 1-1/2-ounce long-casting plug.
    Creek Chub Knuckle-Head

  • Storm's hot WildEye series of soft swim baits has many new additions. Most notable are the Rippin' Shad (four sizes) and Suspending WildEye (freshwater and saltwater models); these are pre-rigged with an internal leadhead jig with single upper hook, and feature a bottom treble hook, internal rattles, and a salt-impregnated body.

  • Supertough, tear-resistant Gene Larew L'astik soft-plastic baits come in four shapes. There's also the realistic 4-inch Shrimp Cock-Tail soft bait.
    Larew Shrimp Cock-tail

  • The ETI series of crankbaits from Bass Pro Shops have a nonglare matte finish and a body contour-engineered to produce vibrations that attract bass in heavily fished waters.

  • The Gengoal 45 from Lucky Craft, a beetle-imitation sinking crankbait, weighs 3/8 ounce and runs supershallow (three colors); the CB-001 supershallow floating crankbait weighs 1/4 ounce (12 colors).
    Lucky Craft CB-001

  • Lindy has new Techni-Glo Lindy rigs (vibrant red and yellow bottom-walking sinkers) and Techni-Glo Fuzz-E-Grubs, the latter in 10 color patterns.

  • He Dog MirrOlure high-buoyancy topwater plug from L&S; Baits: This 4-3/4-inch, easy-walking plug for shallow saltwater species has a high-frequency rattle and comes in 12 patterns.

  • The Big Mouth plug from Nils Master, a wooden swimming lure with a gaping mouth and a flow-through body channel for water passage is for surface and shallow underwater fishing. It's 3 inches long and available in six colors.

  • The Garrett Mega Tube from Yum (Pradco) is an oversize soft bait in 3- and 4-inch lengths and 19 colors. Also, the realistic CrawBug comes in three sizes and 13 colors.

  • E Chips, from Pro-Troll, are small devices (in two sizes) that attach to lures and bait-holder rigs and give off a light electric discharge to attract fish.
    Pro-Troll E Chips

  • Bomber (Pradco) has the 1-ounce, 5 3/4-inch A-Salt Minnow available in 11 colors.

  • The Sea Bay line of weedless soft lures from Snag Proof have holographic glitter bodies and shapes for inshore and flats species.

  • The Jaws 8-inch hard jerkbait from Land O' Lakes Tackle sports 360-degree hook rotation, a replaceable curled soft tail, a scent tab, a back glow strip, and six body colors.

  • CoreShot and Laminate Senkos from Yamamoto are two-tone soft jerkbaits. The 7F series Flattail worm is for light-line drop shot fishing.

  • The Nano Cranks and Minnows, large-eyed and shallow-running miniplugs with snappy color schemes, from Matzuo.

**ELECTRONICS AND NAVIGATION AIDS **

Humminbird Matrix. There are six sonar models in the new Matrix Fishing System series, all with 240 vertical pixels for enhanced display, 12 levels of grayscale to view finer detail, large screens and enhanced user controls, high-contrast display, dual narrow- and wide-beam coverage, and temperature monitor. Several have color and GPS, some are GPS-capable, and all will be compatible with the also new Techsonic/Humminbird Weather Sense fishing-condition monitor, which detects barometric pressure. About $180 to $550.
Humminbird Matrix25

**Minn Kota wireless remote. ** The new CoPilot is an add-on to various old and new Minn Kota electric motors, providing cordless and peddle-less operation from anywhere in a boat. The compact transmitter is about the size of a car's keyless-entry remote and communicates with a small receiver attached to the motor side plate. About $150. Minn Kota has also added four new onboard battery chargers to its accessories line.

Depthmate portable sonar. This flashlight-size digital-readout unit weighs only 7 ounces, fits in a tackle box, and floats. Get instant straight-down depth-only readings, or measure distance to side objects. From Speedtech, about $150.

**Eagle Cuda sonar. ** Simple to operate and capable to 600-foot depths, the new Cuda 128 and 168 sonars (with 128 and 168 vertical-pixel display respectively) include temperature sensor, Fish I.D., alarms, zoom with bottom tracking, and up to 60-degree bottom coverage. About $79 to $99.
Eagle Cuda 168

Garmin radio and handheld GPS. Garmin's two Rino radios are waterproof two-way devices with GPS incorporated, including the ability for one radio to locate the exact position of the other (called Peer-to-Peer Positioning). About $159 to $269. Also new is the GPSMAP 76S, a handheld navigation device that accepts detailed maps from MapSource CD-ROMS, which cover many North American waterways. About $269.

Maptech Marine Navigator. Perhaps the most advanced and complete navigation system software yet, this features NOAA 2-D charts, contour 3-D charts, Maptech's Offshore Navigator, and real-time GPS in one product. For big-water boaters, this makes navigation easier by seamlessly integrating complex and detailed information. About $500.

ACCESSORIES

Plano hanging bait Guide bag and ProLatch Stowaways. Nearly two-thirds of the new 3392 model soft-sided Guide Series bag is taken up by an adjustable top-accessed injection-molded rack that holds from 16 to 32 lures. Other features include storage for three tackle trays, five front and side zippered pockets, and a padded shoulder strap. About $60. There are five models of ProLatch Stowaways, clear trays with color-coded, strong, locking latches; about $3.50.

**Finovationz Tackle-Rack. ** This unique, molded polypropylene "box" is a terminal-tackle storage system whose contents are immediately visible and accessible. It features vertical lure hanging, built-in small-object storage bins, repositionable dividers, a slotted tool-holding handle, and a removable lid that snaps onto the bottom as a base. About $40.

Rapala Lock 'n Weigh and Electric Fillet Knives. Rapala's ProGuide Lock 'n Weigh is a one-handed stainless-steel fish-holding tool with a cam-lock grip, release trigger, nonslip handle, and built-in scale; there are 20- and 60-pound-scale models that cost $60 and $70. Also new are three ProGuide Electric Fillet Knife sets: 12volt/DC for boat or car; 110 volt/AC; and a deluxe combination set for all power sources. Each has two blades; costs vary.

PolarEyes Fits Over sunglasses. Designed to be worn over prescription glasses, lightweight Fits Overs feature tough, scratch-resistant polycarbonate lenses, adjustable ComfortFlex temples, molded-in polycarbonate side lenses that will never fall out, and UV-400 protection. They come in three sizes, two frame colors, and gray or copper lenses, with a zippered clip-on-belt case. About $50.

**Fitovers low-profile Otto sunglasses. ** Also meant for use with prescription eyewear, the Otto series of Jonathan Paul sunglasses are designed for use with large bridge sizes, square or octagonal frames, and small frames with wide temple attachments; these polarized polycarbonate-lens glasses with UV-400 protection come in three frame colors, amber or gray lenses, and small or large sizes. About $80.

CD-ROMS, which cover many North American waterways. About $269.

Maptech Marine Navigator. Perhaps the most advanced and complete navigation system software yet, this features NOAA 2-D charts, contour 3-D charts, Maptech's Offshore Navigator, and real-time GPS in one product. For big-water boaters, this makes navigation easier by seamlessly integrating complex and detailed information. About $500.

ACCESSORIES

Plano hanging bait Guide bag and ProLatch Stowaways. Nearly two-thirds of the new 3392 model soft-sided Guide Series bag is taken up by an adjustable top-accessed injection-molded rack that holds from 16 to 32 lures. Other features include storage for three tackle trays, five front and side zippered pockets, and a padded shoulder strap. About $60. There are five models of ProLatch Stowaways, clear trays with color-coded, strong, locking latches; about $3.50.

**Finovationz Tackle-Rack. ** This unique, molded polypropylene "box" is a terminal-tackle storage system whose contents are immediately visible and accessible. It features vertical lure hanging, built-in small-object storage bins, repositionable dividers, a slotted tool-holding handle, and a removable lid that snaps onto the bottom as a base. About $40.

Rapala Lock 'n Weigh and Electric Fillet Knives. Rapala's ProGuide Lock 'n Weigh is a one-handed stainless-steel fish-holding tool with a cam-lock grip, release trigger, nonslip handle, and built-in scale; there are 20- and 60-pound-scale models that cost $60 and $70. Also new are three ProGuide Electric Fillet Knife sets: 12volt/DC for boat or car; 110 volt/AC; and a deluxe combination set for all power sources. Each has two blades; costs vary.

PolarEyes Fits Over sunglasses. Designed to be worn over prescription glasses, lightweight Fits Overs feature tough, scratch-resistant polycarbonate lenses, adjustable ComfortFlex temples, molded-in polycarbonate side lenses that will never fall out, and UV-400 protection. They come in three sizes, two frame colors, and gray or copper lenses, with a zippered clip-on-belt case. About $50.

**Fitovers low-profile Otto sunglasses. ** Also meant for use with prescription eyewear, the Otto series of Jonathan Paul sunglasses are designed for use with large bridge sizes, square or octagonal frames, and small frames with wide temple attachments; these polarized polycarbonate-lens glasses with UV-400 protection come in three frame colors, amber or gray lenses, and small or large sizes. About $80.