A – Abu Garcia Villain Rods
Combining ultra-high-modulus graphite and a new low-resin-content system, Villain rods are extraordinarily lightweight with plenty of fish-fighting power and excellent sensitivity. They are nicely finished and feel even nicer in the hand. The rods are available in nine baitcast and five spinning versions.
B – Berkley Havoc Juice Worm
$3.49 for 12
Juice worms, designed by bass pro Boyd Duckett, have longer, slimmer curled tails for enhanced movement in the water. Available in 6- and 8-inch sizes, they’re part of Berkley’s new Havoc soft-plastic series that emphasizes action over scent, and sure enough, they did shimmy and wave enticingly in my initial tests.
C – Button Buck Apparel
$20 for tees
Hip, tasteful, well-made hunting-themed clothing for kids is rare enough. Far rarer still is any outfit my 6-year-old daughter will wear to school without a fuss. But she loves this stuff, and so does her little brother. Therefore so do I and, I’m betting, so will you. Tees, hoodies, hats, and more are made in the U.S. and come in sizes 0-12+.
D – Mophie Juice Pack Plus Outdoor Edition
You can double the battery time of your iPhone 4 or 4S with the rechargeable Juice Pack, and the Outdoor edition hooks you into a GPS app. On a Kansas deer hunt last fall, I used an early sample to download maps, track my progress with an electronic breadcrumb trail, make waypoints, and find my stand in the dark.
–Slaton L. White
E – Rio 0, 00, and 000 Trout LT Fly Lines
A long, fine front taper and a memory-free coating for whisper-quiet liftoff make these uberlight lines feel right at home on low summer streams. Fast-action rods will overpower them, but a few makers are building bantamweight sticks for line weights that start at 0 and go down from there.
–T. Edward Nickens
F – Arno Bernard Croc Knives
$300 for the Grazer Nyala shown
The South African smith’s newest knives are as gorgeous as they are tough. The crocodile hide’s keeled, bony scales offer a super grip on the N690 stainless-steel blade, which is custom tempered in the shop. Each knife ships with a handsome sheath made of Cape buffalo leather. This Croc is my new favorite blade.
G – Whitetail Institute BowStand Seed Mix
The blend contains 12 cultivars that grow in heavily shaded sites. Local testing by Vermont food-plot expert Ken Eastman of Wildlife Habitat Consultants (which has no financial stake in the product) found that BowStand thrived in a small opening that received less than the recommended four hours of direct sunlight. In three weeks, the deer were on it.
H – Kowa SV 8x42mm Binoculars
Water- and fogproof, the roof-prism 8x42s I tested were only slightly less bright than a pair of $1,800 binocs I had for comparison. A little long in the barrel but light, they’re great for hunters wanting to step up from bargain brands but not ready to hand over a month’s mortgage. Lenses and prism are fully multicoated; prism is also phase coated.
From the June 2012 issue of Field & Stream magazine