Every year I receive numerous news releases about new products on the market that are intended to be of interest to sportsmen. Sometimes the "new" products are an improvement of an older version, but every year brings a few new and interesting items too. I've chosen to share a few of my favorites with you during this Christmas shopping season.
It should be remembered that it doesn't matter how innovative or interesting a product might be if a person has no need for it and doesn't utilize it. However, as I believe most sportsmen will readily attest, there is nothing better than a good product that is useful and is the subject of envy among fellow sportsmen. With that in mind, here are a few items that passed my "interest" test. I've included manufacturers claims on all items and selected a few for personal observations.
My first gift ideas is:
The company line: “’MICROspikes’ stretch over any footwear, providing a quick and easy solution to slippery situations. They’re ideal for anything from wet rocks to slick sidewalks to icy driveways, or even the added confidence that comes along with extra traction on the trail. Trusted by the U.S. Ice Fishing Team since 2010.”
In my opinion this is a good product. They are very easy to put on, easy to wear and work great on ice.
The company line: “Great fishing knots — Easily! Fishing knots for castable 100% fluorocarbon fishing lines and leaders! Also for dry monofilaments. Line diameter range 12 to 20 pounds.”
I have not used this product on the water because I primarily fish with braided line and, according to the instructions, it is intended for fluorocarbon and monofilament line. I have tried it at home and it seems to work as advertised.
It is a product of Finland and apparently designed to tie loop knots to Rapalas. In those fishing situations where 12- to 20-pound fluorocarbon or mono is used, it should work fine. For those who have trouble tying knots due to physical limitations, I would think the Click2knot would be especially useful.
Micro Candle Lantern
The company line: “The ‘Micro Candle Lantern’ is our smallest ever and is a tealight lantern that also collapses for compact storage just like the ‘Original Candle Lantern.’ It’s perfect for taking along in your backpack as it compacts down to 2.5 inches in height. When you take apart the Micro Candle Lantern to replace the candle, you will find one of its most innovative features — hidden in the base is space to store a second tealight candle. This allows you to carry enough tealights for six to eight hours of light. The Micro Candle Lantern is made with the same high quality as our other candle lanterns, it just happens to be a little lantern with a lot of light!”
I have used the Original Candle Lantern and found it to give off a surprising amount of light. I liked it but, for my purposes, it eventually gave way to a small battery operated lantern. However, there is something special about the appealing light supplied by the Candle Lantern that cannot be duplicated by battery power.
Magellan eXplorist 310
The company line: “The ‘Magellan eXplorist 310 GPS receiver’ is pre-loaded with the World Edition map, which includes a complete road network in the U.S., Canada, Western Europe, and Australia and major roads throughout the rest of the world. This unique preloaded map also includes water features, urban and rural land use, and city centers. Regional versions of Magellan’s Summit Series topographic maps are available for download to expand mapping coverage and level of detail.
A vibrant, transflective color screen allows for the best readability in direct sunlight. The SiRFstarIII GPS chipset provides accuracy of 10-15 feet. The power of two AA batteries provides 18 hours of constant usage.”
The Magellan 310 is both fun and practical. It is easy to carry into the field, keeps track of routes and waypoints, even helps zero in on a favorite fishing spot. It is designed to go from pocket to vehicle to boat and is easy to operate.
Chaheati All-Season Heated Chair
The company line: “Oversized and sturdy, the ‘Chaheati All-Season Heated Chair’ is designed with comfort and durability in mind — the seat is oversized and weight-tolerant to accommodate any body type. The rechargeable lithium-ion battery provides up to six hours of heat per charge and lasts for over 500 uses. It features a heating element that is guaranteed to keep you warm for up to six hours at 100 degrees, or up to 145 degrees for 1.8 hours.
“An AC car adapter is also available. The Chaheati is also made from durable fabric rates at 600D Fire and Water-Resistant Denier so you don’t have to worry about it shorting out if it’s a little wet outside.”
I have not tried this chair but found it intriguing enough to include as a gift idea. My first thoughts for use would be ice fishing or in a deer blind. The company’s website claims the chair has therapeutic value whether utilized for camping or at the local football game.
Take One Minnow Trap
The company line: "The 'Take One Minnow Trap' was designed to help all fishermen bait his hook faster. The Take One Minnow Trap is sure to revolutionize baiting your hook and will eliminate using a net or submerging your hand into the water to acquire a minnow. Guaranteed to give you one minnow every time, we believe this tool is an absolute must-have for the occasional, avid or professional fisherman. On those cold days, your hands will stay warm and the amount of water on your hands will be reduced to drops. No more chapped hands!"
This product performs as claimed, even better. Simply lean the Take One Minnow Trap against the side of a minnow bucket and pull it out when a minnow is needed. There will be a minnow in the tube every time.
I've used the Take One during winter fishing at the Tailrace. It eliminated the dreaded wet hands that usually occur when getting a minnow out of cold water. Keeping hands virtually dry was great! By attaching a short lead to one end of the Take One, it can easily be retrieved should it tip over in a minnow bucket or live well.
There's some unfortunate news about Take One, too. The distributor, (kasswinns.com), informed me that the nifty item was out of stock at the time of this writing. It was unknown when, or if, manufacturing would resume.