If you read part 1, you know I got to field test lots of tackle in 2010 and most was good or at least functional. There were quite a few that stood out so I had to put my favorites in two installments.
The Sidewinder’s “soft ringed” body sinks slow and with a life-like movement. Multiple rings surround the soft bait from tip to tail, trapping air as it’s cast and giving it slight buoyancy. As it falls, the tiny air bubbles escape allowing the bait to sink very slowly. I had great luck using this on a Carolina rig and got to watch it drive bass crazy as it slowly moved in the water column.
Penn Conquer 4000 Spinning Reel
I fish spinning reels almost exclusively with braided, fusion and other “super lines”. This reel is designed for fishing with these kinds of lines and the point of my testing was to see how smoothly and efficiently they work with braid.
After chunking everything from live bait rigged under popping cork, topwaters, crankbaits, spinners and flipping jig type lures, I never once had a problem with those insane, annoying loop type backlashes that just mysteriously pop up on spinning reels. This is usually a result of the reels line capacity rating not being based in reality. I rigged this one to the recommended capacity (or perhaps slightly beyond it) and have had no problems. I have been using Berkely Fireline in 40-pound class and it has cast smoothly with no crazy loop problems and this was with no monofilament backing. A rubber gasket on the spool keeps it from slipping and causing havoc.
Columbia Blood-N-Guts Shirt
When my friends and I go fishing, they typically come home looking as if they walked away from a “GQ” photo shoot and I look like Leatherface the power tool wielding maniac from “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” with blood, slime and guts everywhere. So when Columbia gave me a chance to go fishing and try out their Blood-N-Guts shirts designed to repel blood, motor oil and other nasty stuff I jumped at the chance.
Testing this product involved me fishing with live bait for bass meaning I had to constantly touch the bait and also shot photos with the bass we caught so there was fish slime everywhere. Then I took it out for jetty fishing and caught a bunch of Spanish mackerel which tend to bleed all over the place when caught on spoons with treble hooks.
Well, I didn’t look like Leatherface after coming home this time which should give you an idea. By simply wiping off the slime with a damp rag I could get most of it off and after a wash at home there was no staining so mission accomplished. These Columbia shirts are seriously comfortable and are fully vented giving a cool fishing experience even in hot weather. It even has a UPF 30 rating with Omni-Shade sun protection which is great for guys like me who are skin cancer conscious. Plus, it goes a long way toward keeping you cool. These are very user friendly shirts.
Costa Del Mar 580P Lenses (Jose Frames)
During all of my post ICAST field-testing, I was testing out Costa Del Mar’s new 580P lenses on the Jose frame. When speaking with Costa’s Al Perkinson at ICAST, I learned they were made of a super lightweight, impact resistant injected polycarbonate, which is an alternative to Costa’s existing 580 glass lens. While glass is more scratch resistant it is not able to withstand as much impact, so I figured these were the lenses for me. I can break anything.
I am happy to report not only did they not break but they allowed me to see far more fish than I would have otherwise. The polarization and clarity is great and the frame was lightweight and comfortable. They are also made with a special coasting called C Shell, which helps it with scratch, oil and water resistance. I actually fished these in the rain and had no problems with water sticking to them and causing those funky spots when I finally did dry off before putting back in their case.
Mepp’s Scyclops Spoon
This is another one of those products that has been out for awhile but I just got to seriously fishing. I love catching big Spanish mackerel at the jetties and rigs in the summer and love throwing a spoon for reds and trout as well. This spoon has a killer action when you throw it out and let it flutter down and then give it a few pops. It drove the mackerel crazy this summer, plus I can throw it from my house to Mexico so it is great for pursuing fast-moving schooling reds.
Disclaimer: I was given these products for the purpose of testing.