With the summer of 2022 well underway, at this point you've probably lost some lures, busted some fishing gear, and broken off a few leaders. Is it time for a restocking? If so, check out these cool new fishing-friendly goodies:
- Max Cooler Bait Trays
- Hi-Seas Grand Slam Bluewater Leader
- Fishbites Dirty Boxer
- Shocker Hitch
- Shimano Macbeth
Small boat offshore anglers often find that bait trays are a great addition to coolers used to chill rigged baits, but if they slide around on the ice all of your pre-rigging work can go to heck during a bumpy cruise to the canyons. Enter, the Max Cooler Companion. These draining bait trays are sized to perfectly fit popular marine coolers including Igloos, Engels, and Yetis, from 35 to 123 quarts. They’re designed to be stackable and interlocking, allowing you to layer in a rack of ballyhoo for the tunas and a rack of squid for the swords, and keep them all sorted and secure no matter the sea state. Construction is .08 powder-coated aluminum, so these are trays you’ll buy once and then use forever. Price: $54.99 to $149.99. Visit alltackle for more information.
You want to get the most bites possible? That means using a fluorocarbon leader, which most closely mimics the refraction of light as it bends when passing through water, to minimize visibility. For over a year now we’ve been testing the waters with Hi-Seas Grand Slam Bluewater leader. The net result? We’re sticking with this stuff, because its proven effective both in the Bay and on the ocean. Diameter for the 20-pound test we’ve been tying on for striper fishing is .04 mm, and we also used the 30-pound test, at 0.50 mm, while chunking for leader-shy tuna at the Hot Dog.
In both inshore and offshore cases it gets the thumbs-up and one thing that really struck us is that unlike some fluoros, the Hi-Seas is surprisingly soft and easier than usual to cinch down when knotting. Price: $11.49/25-yard spool. Visit AFW Fishing.
Just about every Chesapeake angler knows that Fishbites work great when it comes to replacing those stinky (and expensive!!) bloodworms. So, why the heck don’t they make soft plastic swimming grubs infused with that yummy Fishbites flavor? They do! We got our hands on a pack of five-inch Dirty Boxer curly tails, which come in eight different colors. The maker doesn’t state just which fishy flavor these biodegradable, “hydrogel matrix” lures exude, but says they are “heavily infused with our proven flavor/scent technology.” When we ripped open the package and took a snort, it struck us as very similar to some other flavor-infused grubs with a pungent, almost tart aroma somewhere between churned bay anchovies and pureed shrimp. We soon noticed, however, that these grubs have a leg up on leading brand scent-infused temptations: they’re more rugged. One tail stood up to three specks and five rock before giving up the ghost. We also noted that the material is a bit more supple than some and the tail swims beautifully in the water. Added bonus: Fishbites also now offers paddle-tail, jerkbait, and shrimp style tails as well. Price: $5.99/six-pack. Visit Fishbites and inhale deeply.
Check out our video of the FishBites Fight Club line:
Sick and tired of feeling every bump and shock travel through your trailer and into your tow vehicle? The Shocker Hitch aims to ease that pain, while at the same time reducing wear on both your trailer and your truck. An integrated airbag cushions the junction between trailer and truck and absorbs shock, while at the same time providing an adjustable drop hitch (two inches of rise to eight and a half inches of drop) for two- to three-inch balls. Models are available in versions rated for 12,000- or 16,000-pound capacities and fit standard receiver tubes.
We haven’t ridden with a Shocker Hitch just yet, but we did speak with Brian from Tradewinds Marina, the area’s new Shocker dealer (and a FishTalk supporter — thanks, guys!) and he says it makes a significant difference. The ride becomes more comfortable and you can feel that fewer vibrations are making their way into the truck, reducing wear and tear. Give ‘em a call at (410) 355-7000 to check one out.
Double, double, toil and trouble, what shall ye cast, to catch thine next bass? Perhaps a Macbeth, a new line of “hybrid edge” square-bill crankbaits from Shimano. The mid-sized Macbeth 63F’s internal molded weight keeps it upright at various speeds while the bill produces a three- to five-foot dive, a tight wobbling action, and the ability to skip off of structure. There are six Macbeths in the collection, ranging from the Tiny (weighing an eighth of an ounce and under two inches long) to the Big (three-quarters of an ounce and three inches long). Each of the Macbeths is available in 10 color patterns. “Yes, I do fear thy nature…” sayeth the bass. Price: $9.99 to $11.99. Visit Shimano to learn more.