The holidays are coming up fast, and your someone special loves Chesapeake Bay fishing, running into the open Atlantic, or angling anywhere, anytime? Then you'd better start shopping, and fast. Here are some top picks from the new fishing gear we checked out this month in FishTalk.
Shimano Curado 200 M: Casting Call
You need a new casting reel that helps you throw farther and apply serious power to big fish? New this year is the Shimano Curado 200 M. This latest-version Curado has been upgraded with a MagnumLite III spool to reduce weight and start-up inertia, and is tuned for quieter casts. The body is aluminum Hagane for maximum rigidity and cranking power, and the drag is cross-carbon. There are six models in all, with six ball bearings, 6.2:1 to 8.5:1 gear ratios (retrieving 27, 32, or 37 inches of line per crank), 7.4- and 7.6-ounce weights, and max drags of 12 or 13 pounds. Line capacity is 180 yards of eight-pound test mono or 190 yards of 30-pound braid. Price: $199. Visit Shimano to learn more.
Savage Gear Manic Shrimp and Panic Pencil: Going Savage
Whether you’re chasing white perch in Whitehall Bay or puppy drum in the Poquoson, the fish you’re casting for enjoy eating shrimp. And Savage Gear has a new way to tempt those fish with the Manic Shrimp RTF. The Manic Shrimp is modeled after 3D scans of real shrimp, and they do look so much like the real thing you’ll be tempted to sprinkle on the Old Bay and reach for a steam pot. They’re scent-infused and made with “Duratech” plastic which the manufacturer says is 12 times tougher than the norm. We can’t verify the numbers, but we can say that after multiple attacks from perch and stripers the 3” model showed no signs of giving out. Designed to be fished under a popping cork or au natural, the Manic Shrimp also has a built-in rattle. There are a number of color patterns ranging from natural looking to utterly bizarre, and they’re available up to 4.25” in one-quarter to three-quarter ounce weights. Price: $10.99/2-pack.
Also new from Savage Gear is the Panic Pencil Popper. These big topwater baits stretch to 5.75” (1.75-ounce) and 6.5” (2.75-ounce) and have rattles that do double-duty as a weight-transfer system to shift aft on the cast and boost your slinging distance. These plugs have “steps” in the “hull” (the slots really do look like the steps in some boat hulls) intended to suck in air and boost the lure’s bubble trail. They’re designed for taking on B-I-G fish, too, and their construction matches their size. The split rings are hefty, 1/0 and 2/0 hooks are 4X, and they’re through-wired. Panic Pencil Poppers are available in six different color patterns. Price: $15.99. Visit Savage Gear to learn more.
Fenwick World Class Rods: Worldly Character
Fenwick has a new line of rods out that they’re calling the World Class because, well, they’re world class. We got hold of a 7’0” medium-light fast-action rod rated for eight- to 17-pound test to try out, and after several months of use we’re thoroughly impressed. The rod is shockingly light, engineered from a 40- and 36-ton graphite blend reinforced by their proprietary resin (which is claimed to be 30-percent stronger for the same weight), and the rod is every bit as sensitive as they come. With a half-ounce head we could feel the jig tapping down in 20’ of water. Part of the uber-sensitivity can also be credited to the grip, a unique mix of cork and composite with smooth interlocking parts that transmit vibration right into the palm of your hand. Guides are titanium with zirconia inserts, and there’s a single-loop hook-keeper at the base. The lineup is extensive, too, with 41 casting and spinning models from 6’6” to 7’10” in medium-light to extra-heavy, so you can pick one that’s prime for your main mode of fishing. We could argue all day about who builds the best rod on the face of the planet, but one thing is beyond question: use one of these rods, and you’ll agree that it deserves the moniker World Class. Price: $419 to $474. Check out Fenwick to learn more.
SiriusXM Fish Mapping App: Getting Sirius
FREEBIE ALERT! FREEBIE ALERT! SiriusXM has a new app for Marine Fish Mapping, bringing a new level of fishing intel to your smartphone or tablet (either Apple or Android). The app is free for Fish Mapping subscribers, displays prime fishing zones via sea surface temperatures, subsurface temperatures, weed lines, plankton fronts, sea surface height anomalies, currents, and historical data. It’s all overlaid on bathymetric charts, with the same sort of format and color-coding you’re accustomed to seeing at the helm on your MFD with the Fish Mapping satellite service. That means your phone can now deliver the same kind of fish-finding intel you get when you’re on the water, for pre-trip planning from the comfort of your couch.. Note: the Fish Mapping app does not include SiriusXM weather and cannot be purchased separate from a subscription. So, you know what that means - if your loved one doesn't already have a subscription, now's the time to get them one! Visit SiriusXM to learn more.
You say you still haven't spotted the perfect gift for your angling loved one? Check out the rest of the hot new fishing gear we've revewed. And remember, we're not playing that "affiliate" game and we don't stand to make a buck whether you buy this stuff or not - we're just calling out the fishing goodies that strike us as cool or otherwise stand out.