Catching Canada: The accessories
Excellent new goodies and gizmos for boat safety and control, plus eyewear, tackle organization and more
Best new electric trolling motor
For years, anglers have had two choices when it comes to electric trolling motors: the deep-water benefits of wireless motors featuring Spot-Lock, iTracks and remote steering capabilities, or the shallow-water precision and responsiveness of foot-controlled, cable-driven units. The new MinnKota Ultrex combines the best of both worlds, merging the body of the legendary Fortrex foot-control motor with the brains of i-Pilot. Available in both 24-volt, 80-pound-thrust and 36-volt, 112-pound-thrust versions, the Ultrex is a game changer.
Johnson Outdoors, (905) 634-0023; www.minnkotamotors.com
Best boating safety device
MOB+ WIRELESS CUT-OFF SWITCH
Every year, too many anglers drown after falling out of their running boats and getting left behind. The MOB+ Wireless Cut-Off Switch aims to stop such tragic events with a state-of-the-art, lightning-fast wireless protocol you can attach to your ignition switch in a matter of minutes. You simply carry a small device, akin to a key fob, either in a wristband, on a lanyard or clipped to a belt or PFD. If you fall out, the signal between the fob and the ignition is broken, killing the engine.
Fell Marine, 1-855-683-3355; www.fellmarine.com
Best tackle management
COBRA GARAGE DOOR STORAGE SOLUTION
Not having enough space to store fishing rods and reels often results in tangled lines, broken tips or worse. Enter the Cobra Garage Door Storage Solution, winner of ICAST’s Best of Show in the Tackle Management category. Made of high-strength ABS plastic, the rod rack mounts to the inside of any standard 18- or 21-inch garage door panel; custom spacers are available for non-standard sizes. You can also mount the rack to a wall or ceiling.
Cobra, (321) 537-0302; www.cobrastorage.com
Best battery starter
If you run two or three GPS chartplotter/sonar units, as well as a livewell, that can suck up an immense amount of power from your cranking battery. That’s why so many anglers find their motor doesn’t start at the end of a day of fishing. To the rescue comes the Weego 44 jump starter. Able to start a seven-litre gas engine (or 3.5-litre diesel), this three-pound lithium-polymer power package supplies more than enough juice to fire up your main outboard. The Weego 44 earned ICAST’s Best Giftware award.
Best new sunglasses
Promising to cut glare without losing clarity, these Aussie-made sunglasses were designed for anglers fishing under the toughest conditions in the world. The lightweight glass lenses incorporate four colours, with an anti-reflective coating on the inside to provide true colour perception. Even more brilliant is the decentred lenses that allow you to see in all directions, as well as peripherally, without optical distortion. The lenses on the photochromic model adjust automatically according to changing light conditions.
Tonic Eyewear, (480) 284-1304; www.toniceyewear.com.au
Best lure storage system
LARGE DELUXE SPOON BOX
This is another one of those concepts that’s so simple yet so functional you wonder why someone didn’t think of it long ago. Clam’s Large Deluxe Spoon Box features a tough cellular foam insert with 81 slots for securing your favourite ice-fishing spoons. Fit snugly into place, the spoons won’t bang against one another and get chipped or tangled when you’re travelling. At the same time, the hooks remain exposed, allowing them to air-dry and avoid rusting.
Clam Outdoors, 1-800-423-3474; www.clamoutdoors.com
Best fish attractant
I field-tested this new product before its introduction at ICAST and can tell you, it works! About the size of a billiard ball, each biodegradable Bait Cloud tablet is infused with fish-attracting scent that slowly seeps out into the water as the ball fizzes and sends up a stream of bubbles. You can drop them over the side of a boat, off the end of a dock or down an ice hole to arouse the curiosity of fish and keep them milling about. The tablets come in a variety of scents to attract everything from pike and carp to bass and walleye.
BaitCloud, (905) 469-5500; www.baitcloud.com