Pack The Essentials
Fortune favors those who come prepared – and that goes well beyond lures and rods! In this article, I’ll walk you through some of my most essential tools. Whether you’re fishing from a boat or shore, you’ll be glad to have these tools with you.
I’ll start with an extraordinary story of the day when the Rapala Side Cutters not only saved me a trip to the hospital but also helped me land a 10+ kilo pike!
The Side Cutters
It was early July a couple of years ago when I decided to take a short trip on the river with a friend.
It was a beautiful summer evening, the sun was slowly sinking below the horizon. Suddenly, the calm electrified: a gigantic pike struck my friend’s lure! After a short struggle, we were admiring a 7+ kg fish lying in our net. I was in a hurry, eager to get back to casting. Well, haste makes waste. Before I knew it, I had treble hooks pierced through my skin, stuck tightly in my hand. And blood everywhere.
Good side cutters can be a lifesaver. In this case, the Angler’s Double Leverage Side Cutter did an excellent job cutting the hooks – fast and clean, allowing us to attend to the injury before making an even bigger mess. Now comes the part that would probably fall into the “Don’t Try This at Home” category, but at the moment it seemed like the smart thing to do. Since the bleeding showed no signs of stopping, I decided to make it stop – by sealing the wound with superglue. The glue was meant for lures and, unsurprisingly, was not the best remedy in the long run. Nevertheless, my hand was quickly back together, and I was back to fishing in no time! I had to accommodate to my injury, taking turns with my casting hands, turning the reel upside down, and reeling it the opposite way. I felt like a wounded soldier in the middle of an ancient war as I made the first cast – as suddenly something crashed my lure with a terrifying force.
At first, I thought I’d got my lure stuck on a stone. But as it started thrashing around and dragging my line towards the bottom, I knew it was no stone. I started reeling the monster in, somewhat distracted by the blood gushing from my previously glued-shut wound. But it was all worth it! An astonishing river pike just over the 10+ kg mark was lying in my Rapala net – which brings us to the second tool that I always carry with me…
A good net is always recommended to have with you – it saves both you and the fish from a lot of trouble. Personally, I like nets with large mesh size and a strong, firm handle. Practical issues are worth considering: a net should be easy to carry. That’s why telescopic folding nets are hard to beat. My Rapala net is always neatly stored in the boat, and whenever needed, it presents a perfect natural pool for the caught fish, easing their stress and helping them recover.
Unhook, Weigh And Measure
After landing a beautiful fish, you want to capture the moment. There are many ways of going about it, but usually, it’s weighing the fish with a scale, taking measurements with a ruler, and wrapping things up with a nice photograph. Here’s my routine after landing a fish:
1. I remove the hooks as quickly and gently as possible. For that, I prefer to use long pliers – like the Long Reach Pliers. They are reliable and feature a co-molded grip that provides a firm grip, even when used with hands wet from fish slime.
2. If the hooks are not coming off easily, I usually just cut the trebles with my side cutter. Attaching new hooks is a small hassle compared to struggling with a stuck hook. Good split ring pliers are handy when replacing hooks. I use Rapala’s RCD Mag Plier series – for split ring pliers, I recommend checking out the Mini Split Ring Pliers and the Heavy Duty Split Ring Pliers. All in all, Rapala’s selection covers a wide variety of pliers.
3. Once the hooks are off, I usually let the fish rest in the net lying on the side of the boat. This allows me to take my time, knowing that I’m not causing the fish any pain or excess stress. This is when I take a 10-second break. Why? When fishing, it’s easy to get a little hyper. The excitement, the happiness, the adrenaline. This can lead to neglecting the state of chaos you’ve probably left your boat in while wrestling with the fish. And that’s why it’s important to…
4. …take a minute or two to re-arrange the gear in the boat. Rods that are lying around, lures that have a tendency to stack up like a small and colorful Mount Everest, cramping up the whole boat.
Tidying things up is for you and your gear’s safety – you won’t be stepping on any rods or lures if they aren’t scattered all over the boat. Also, consider this: a cleaner boat equals better photographs!
5. Time to measure up. A fast way to measure your fish is to lift it from your net and lay it down on a Weigh & Release Mat by Rapala on your clean deck. If necessary, add some water – usually, my fish come out of the net accompanied by a lot of water, which usually does the trick. The Weigh & Release Mat is made from rugged PVC with mesh on the sides. It keeps the fish securely in place and prevents them from slipping out. Used with the RCD Roll Ruler and the 25 kg RCD Digital Scale, you’ll have all you need to register your catch. A shout-out to the digital scale – it’s a killer product and definitely worth the money.
6. Say cheese! Flash a big smile, snap a photo and release the fish to swim another day.
Remember the monster pike from the beginning of the story? Well, that beast was carefully lifted and measured. The exact weight was 10.15 kg. Despite the fact that my hand was still streaked with lines of blood, we managed to get a couple of nice shots of the catch. After watching the pike swim away, I grabbed my rod and did a fast check-up on my leader. Yep, it needed changing. It’s always worth the trouble to check your gear after landing a big fish. Split rings, leader, and hooks are the things I’m always double-checking to make sure they’re good to go.
To wrap things up, here’s my last (and best) tool tip: scissors. Rapala has dropped a pair of super sharp scissors in the RCD series. They are called the RCD Precision Line Scissors and they are definitely worth checking out. I have mine attached to the RCD Magnetic Release which hangs from my belt. This way, my tools are at hand when I need to cut lines or leaders. Super lines or fluorocarbon, it doesn’t matter. The Precision Line Scissors make a sharp cut without a hassle.
So, there’s my list of essentials – hope you found it useful! And as a closing note… I do recommend having a good first-aid kit in the boat. That way you won’t have to resort to administering super glue to your cuts. Safety first!
Have a great one!