Looking for some hot new fishing gear for the summer of 2021? Here are some of our top picks.
ACR Bivy Stick
You want to text anywhere, anytime, even when you’re fishing in the middle of nowhere with zero cell coverage? Whether you’re deep in the swampy Blackwater backcountry or 60 miles off the Mid-Atlantic coast your tests will go through — and you’ll have an SOS button close at hand — with the Bivy Stick. While this was originally developed by a bunch of land-dwelling hiker types, marine company ACR Electronics bought Bivy this spring and its version of the Stick is waterproof to IPX67 standards, has an internal lithium-ion polymer battery good for up to 120 hours of use, weighs a mere 3.35 ounces, and is about half the size of a deck of cards. Once it connects with your phone you can enjoy two-way texting virtually anywhere in the world. Price: $349 for the hardware; data plans start at $17.99. Visit ACR Electronics for more information.
Seaguar Smackdown Braid
If you want an unusual color braid so that you can spot your own line among the tangled web being weaved by all the other anglers around you, Seaguar has what you need. Their Smackdown braid is now available in “Flash Green” (sort of a glossy lime) in 40-, 50-, and 65-pound test. Previously available only in 10- to 30-pound classes (150-yard spools), Flash Green is an eight-braid line with a clear-coat finish. Seaguar claims that not only makes it more visible, but also prevents the line from digging into the spool. Price: $29.99. Visit Seaguar to learn more.
Expert Power LiFePO4 Kayak Fishing Battery
Kayak and small boat anglers in need of a 12-volt power source will likely want to enjoy the low weight and high potency of a LiFePO4 lithium iron phosphate battery, and for the past six months, we’ve been testing an Expert Power EP125 in our pond-hopper. Powering a Humminbird PiranhaMAX fishfinder we’ve been unable to put a dent in its five amp-hour capacity, fishing for two full days in a row without drawing it down. The really crazy thing, however, is just how light this pint of a powerpack is: a mere 1.6 pounds. At 3.5 x 2.8 x 4.0 inches it’s also small enough to fit into the smallest compartments. The EP125 is rated for 2500 to 7000 cycles or 10 years, and has an integrated battery management system to prevent overcharge or deep discharge. Price: $56 bundled with the two-amp charger. Visit Expert Power to learn more.
Rogue Fishing Protector
Spend enough days fishing, and you will no longer be able to count on two hands how many precious possessions you’ve dropped to the depths. Nowadays, that little pocket computer we rely on daily can set us back as much as $1000 if it ends up in the drink. Whether you are on a boat, kayak, or fishing from shore you’re always in proximity to the pond, so what better way to protect your investment than with a convenient phone tether? The Protector from Rogue Fishing features a silicone attachment that wraps around the four corners of your mobile device. A metal ring is secured to a coiled leash and can be attached to you with a carabiner clip. Kayak fishing in a CPR tournament this past winter the tether added a lot of confidence when whipping out my brand-new smart phone to record each catch. The Protector is compatible with most phones up to seven inches. $19.99 Visit Rogue Fishing for more information.
June Bug Umbrella Rigs
With May comes trophy striper season for 2021, and that means it’s time to think about June — June Bug Umbrella Rigs, that is. You’d be nuts to leave the dock on a striper trolling trip without umbrella rigs aboard, and the locally hand-made June Bug rigs are the bread and butter of countless trolling charter boats all across the Chesapeake. If you want lures that are proven winners in your spread, these will be tough to beat. There are several varieties, but our fav is the 12-inch, four-arm model shad and a Big Eye Ruby Lip hook-bait. White and chartreuse, people, white and chartreuse! (But also get some darks for cloudy water and low-light conditions). Price: $29.70 - $34. Visit June Bug Tackle for more information.