This is the best $60 saltwater rod I’ve ever seen. It is designed for halibut and works for rockfish, lingcod, sturgeon, albacore and salmon trolling. It’s a one-piece, six-foot rod, composite graphite/fiberglass, with top-quality guides, gimbal for fighting belt (for those with back problems), triangular and hand-shaped fore and aft grips. The fit and finish is first-class. Handles weights to 16 ounces. I’ve showed it to three fishing experts and they all put the retail price at $200-plus. Price includes shipping. In the photo above, that’s inventor John Beath testing the new rod last week when he tangled with a 32-pound halibut. I’ve often said one of the best ways to jump-start your enthusiasm for spring is to buy a new fishing rod, and for $60, you can’t do better than this.
Contact: (206) 999-3474 or http://www.halibutfishingrods.com.
2. $119.95 SteriPEN Freedom water purifier
I tested a pre-release model on a 100-mile expedition and would never do another trip without one. By using UV light, the SteriPEN destroy viruses, bacteria and protozoa (like Giardia) that can make you sick. You dip your water bottle in a cold stream, purify the water with the UV light in under two minutes, and drink all you can hold — cold, clean mountain water. The new Freedom model introduced this year is five inches long and weighs 2.6 ounces.
3. $85 top-quality polarized sunglasses with magnifier chip
These are my sunglasses for life. Like many people, I wear sunglasses 100 percent of the time in the outdoors, require a polarized lens to see into water and a magnifier chip for tying knots with very light fishing line. I’ve bought 15 different brands of sunglasses for up to $200 until settling on the Ono’s Caravelle. They retail for $89 to $99, depending on lens color. You can get 15 percent off this spring if you know a secret discount code: SF2012 (really), which also gets you free shipping.
Contact: (866) 865-4695, http://www.onos.com.
I’ll never hike in the mountains again in spring conditions without carrying YaxTrax. YaxTrax are an easy-to-use traction device for ice that takes seconds to strap on any walking shoe or hiking boot. For spring hiking in the mountains, where you can be on open trail for miles, then arrive at a 100-yard section of ice on a shaded slope, you strap on YaxTrax and walk right over the ice without a second thought. They actually bite into the ice for full traction. Can save your life. Except on extreme, steep ice slopes, theres no need to carry heavy, bulky crampons again. Simply fantastic. New models available, but the YaxTrax Walker is the favorite.
5. $46-$90 tangle-free WaveSpin spinning reel
When you are trying to cast, there is nothing more frustrating in fishing than dealing with billowing, tangled loops coming off into a massive bird’s nest. The WaveSpin is designed for tangle-free fishing. The edge of the spool is cut with a series of angled, diagonal notches that minimizes friction for longer casts and prevent loops and slack line. I bought the WaveSpin DH 3000Z (for casting plastic worms for bass), which sells for $89 at Cabela’s. It comes with eight-plus-one ball bearings and a 5-to-1 retrieve ratio. Trout reel models start at $46.
Feel great in the next 24 hours: Hike. Bike. Camp. Fish. Boat. Wildlife watch. Explore.
Great e-book just out:
Sierra Crossing, The epic trek you can do in a week