OK, I’ll admit it…I catch my fair share of catfish. Truth be told. I probably catch your share too. I’m also not too good with using most de-hookers. Since having had a barb cut my knuckle I have put away my shorter de-hookers.
That is why I was pleased when Norton Brass Rattle (makers of the Bullet Brass Rattler Spoon and the Fish Gripper previously reviewed here on SaltyShores) sent me their De-gouger. As soon as I saw it I noticed it was a good bit longer than many inshore dehookers on the market being 14 1/2 inches long (plenty long enough to keep my knuckles from a barb).
The action to unhook a fish was simple for me. I just held the line tight and pushed the forks around the hook While keeping pressure on the D-Gouger I made a quarter turn and the hook was free. It was also used holding the fish with the Fish Gripper and using the same action the hook was dislodged. The packaging said that it was for unhooking hooks 2/0 and larger but I had no issues unhooking a 1/0 circle hook also.
I did make a simple alteration on it though. I drilled a hole through the end of the nylon handle to be able to run a lanyard through to keep from losing it.
Another nice stocking stuffer. They are available at many local Tackle shops for $8.95 (if yours does not have it, ask for it) or you can order it from http://www.nortonbrassrattler.com/index.html
By: Dale Snead
I was very interested in the 7.5 inch Prolite-OS composite fishing pliers from Composite Reel Company
(www.compositereelco.com ) that were introduced at this year’s ICAST and was looking forward to reviewing them.
It was like Christmas morning for me when they came in the mail. The first thing that struck me was “They are light!” The weight? 4.5 ounces! They came with a holster and lanyard attached. All seemed to be of high quality and good workmanship. Even the threads on the holster were uniformed without any defects. The lanyard was attached (with the option to attach either side of the holster or pliers) to the holster and the pliers with heavy duty clips. It opened and closed well and in alignment. I don’t think you have to be concerned with the spring action being weak as they held good pressure.
Since the weather had not been cooperative as of late I was able to tie and retie knots and leaders. I exclusively used these pliers to do this. They cut through the mono and flouro (15lb – 80lb) like it was not there. Many offer that their products cut braid well. This one delivers. I cut braid from 6lb to 50lb without a second cut. I was getting carried away with the cutting and decided to get out my old king rigs. Without issue both the wire and cable were cut cleanly by the Tungsten carbide cutter(which can be replaced when they wear out). Did I mention they were light too?
When tying knots the Stainless steel tips (replacements also available) held onto the line securely (another person I was showing the pliers to could not get them to grip into 20lb braid as if he were tying a Bimini Twist – I guess I had “the touch” because I could not reproduce it, they worked for me).
My final bad weather application involved crimping the barbs, both a delicate and brute force application. Again, they performed well.
Finally the weather lifted and I was able to get out. Numerous fish were caught and the pliers were used to get the hooks out. Again, they performed flawlessly. No slippage. In addition I found the lanyard plenty long without being too long. I must admit, I had to look down a couple of times to be certain I was still wearing them. I mentioned they are light, didn’t I?
I have owned many pliers. Everything from the floating ones to metal from cheap ones to mid range ones. These pliers are the best of both worlds – extremely light (I wondered if the lanyard attached was needed to keep them from floating away into thin air) and like the metal ones durable enough to handle the abuse we put them through.
The list price is $149.95 but I can tell you I can put my hands on 6 other pliers ( total value over $150) I own that no longer go out because they just don’t do what they should – poor design, rusts even though I have cleaned them, lack of ability to cut braid, lack of power, ect… Furthermore I can not tell you the number that sit at the bottom of the ocean.
Time will tell as to how long they will last, as it does with most things in life, but these pliers are without a doubt the finest I have ever used. They are available online and a few other outlets including our own Indian Rocks Tackle in Indian Rocks, FL and, one of my favorites on the East Coast, The Back Country Tackle Shop in Vero Beach, FL. Not too late to see if Santa cann’t get some for your stocking.
The Fish Gripper by Dale Snead
Back on July 17, Sammy reported on some new products at ICAST. One of the products that caught my eye was “The Fish Gripper“.
In a subsequent report on July 25, Sammy gave a brief review of that product. Shortly after that I was on our friend Hank’s boat and saw it in use also my fishing buddy Del got one and was using it in a video Sammy did.
That did it for me. I was the last kid on my block to get one.
I HAD to get one!
Usually I fish out of a yak and most of the time I am in the water. As a result, lightweight is very important to me.
I have been a fan of the Boga grip for a few years and I still am but it is a good bit heavier and bulkier than “The Fish Gripper”.
The dimensions of “The Fish Gripper” is
1/2 inch wide
10 inches long
it has a opening gap of 2 inches (fully opened) and there is a distance of 5 1/2 inches from the lip opening to where your hand is.
It weighs only 5 ounces (it floats)
It comes in 5 colors (the white one I have glows in the dark)
I got my “Fish Gripper” about a month ago and am very pleased with it. It opens and closes like a vice grip. I have not experienced any premature unlocking as it closes securely. When you are ready to release the fish, a simple outward push on the lever does the trick. The use of it is quite simple – you simply insert the lip into the fish’s mouth and lock The Fish Gripper.
The angle you use to insert it is not at all cumbersome and boy does it hold! A couple of weeks ago I has a 30 inch or so red that I used this on and it worked like a charm. Because the lip closes flat and in 1/2 a inch width it does no damage to the fish’s mouth.
This is also true with the more tender mouth of a trout. Sometimes (being metal and having a smaller lip) a Boga can do damage to a mouth so tender. It also holds up to the less than tender mouth of a small shark. When using this on a larger fish the lanyard could be used to hold the fish after The Fish Gripper has been locked.
This way the lanyard would be used as a pivot and the torque would not be passed on to the body of the gripper from an active larger fish. It would be suitable on a tarpon or other offshore fish. Tests using weight well in excell of 150 pounds did not compromise the Gripper.
One final attribute is, being the excellent catfish fisherman I am, I was very pleased for the 5 1/2 inches of plastic keeping my knuckles away from those #@^^ ^ catfish barbs.
Another use for it is in actually grabbing the hooks on a lure (such as Del does in the video previously mentioned) or even a circle or J-hook and getting a frisky fish off without having to tough it or without having to risk a hook being thrown into your hand or finger.
The components are simply plastic and stainless pins at the 4 pivot points. A wrist lanyard is attached and there is a slot to attach a scale if for some reason you would need to weigh the fish. The design is quite simple but the genius of it is it’s simplicity and lightweight.
They are available at many local tackle shops (I got mine at Dogfish Tackle) and through Cabela’s or the company’s website.
I still have my Boga and on occasion I will still use it. But this little tool reminds me of the “Little Train That Could”. Time will tell just how durable it is but for $15 it is an excellent buy!
First off, “Thanks Sammy” for adding me to this distinguished list of Anglers. If Brad is an “Angler in Training”, I would suppose I am maybe a “Guy with a hook in skinny water” and with some of the others…. well I wonder if I even “angle”.
I was sent a number of Mission Fishin’ weighted live bait hooks to try out. Having been a Mission Fishin’ fan from way back, it was like Christmas morning to me. The MF standard jigheads are the only ones I have in my tackle box and the same is true for the weedless jigs. Hands down, they are the best! The weedless hooks from MF, with the wire “screw” to secure a soft plastic, is my first choice when using weedless applications.
I enjoy tossing artificials, but I just love live bait. There is something just so funny about a shrimp doing the “I’m about to get et dance”, which to me much akin to Wile E. Coyote. Also my thoughts are that if a fish hits my line, I would like to offer a reward of a tastey morsel as opposed to a mouthful of plastic. Call me tenderhearted. Another reason I like live bait is many times, as of late, the conditions dictated it – too much grass, warm water temps, etc..
The hooks came is 3 different weights and whereas they were not labeled I would assume they were 1/16, 1/32 and 1/64 ounces. The additional lead was added just before the curve in the circle hook. The hooks are 1.5 inches in length and a gap of .75 inches. The hooks appear to be 2/0. One final attribute was the hooks had a slight offset to assist in the standard corner of the mouth hookup.
My testing of the hooks proved to be a bit aggrivating as I found the catfish loved them also. The first time I used them I did not have live bait with me and tried to use them on a Gulp. This application was not what they were designed for. I found it difficult to thread it properly inline as one may use the other hooks. Although you could certainly hook a Gulp crab with ease or just hook a Glup shrimp as you might a live one.
I finally got on some respectable fish and they worked like a charm. The first fish was a respectable snook under a dock. I had tail hooked the shrimp and it was just too enticing for that snook. I would assume that much would be the case when working a mangrove line for snook, or for that matter, anything as I was able to also catch a small Mangrove snapper. The extra weight assisted in getting just that extra distance you sometimes need with enough weight to get the bait down, and sometimes back where the fish are.
The final test involved my favorite fishing, sight fishing for reds on open flats. The distance I got was pleasing and there was not an alarming entrance splash. The reds gave my final hook a workover but all were hooked in the lip even when I used a ladyfish chunk. I also found the hook beneficial when using a live pinfish. I would assume that the same would be the case for other baitfish.
I could see this hook be very effective when fishing for bonefish or permit with live shrimp on the flats as that you are able to get some distance (thanks to the additional weight) without any alarming entrance splash.
All in all, I was very pleased with the hook and look forward to when they are available at our local tackle stores. One change is requested, Hal, could you make them less catfish friendly.