A Reel Catch – Shimano’s Stradic FX spinner reel created quite a buzz at this year’s ICAST. The Stradic is a reasonably priced spinning reel that’s available in a range of five models to suit freshwater fishermen and beach-casters alike. Machined from aluminum with a waterproof finish that makes water bead up and drop off, the reel is as good to look at as it is at catching fish.
The body design is called G-Free by Shimano and apparently moves the center of effort of the reel closer to the rod for smoother operation with less hand and wrist effort as you reel in that big one. Approx. $180 to $220, depending on model | fish.shimano.com
50 Feet Of Freedom – Lanyard-style engine cut-off switches can be awkward: You can’t move far from the helm without them popping off and shutting down the engine, which is a royal pain if you’re fishing or doing some other activity on the boat that requires you to move more than 2 feet.
To that end, Fell Marine has added another wireless lanyard to the market, pioneered by Autotether. The MOB+ xFOB has a 50-foot range and can be worn like a watch, on a dongle around your neck, or simply slipped in your pocket. (The xBAND and xTAG holders are sold separately.) But fall over the side or move outside the 50-foot range, and the motors shut down. | MOB+ Basepack (includes MOB+ xHUB to install in the boat and xFOB to wear) $179 | www.fellmarine.com
Soggy Smartphone, Be Gone – Smartphones are invaluable on boats for more than just phone calls — as a navigation tool, slip finder, and anchor alarm, to name a few. And with the BoatUS app loaded, it is the fastest way to call for a tow, should you break down. Unfortunately, they aren’t designed for a life afloat: They need to be kept dry, and it’s more than inconvenient if you drop it over the side.
While not the most stylish, the DryCase is one of the best we’ve tried. It has a secure closure, and the manufacturer claims that it will keep a phone dry for more than an hour at 100 feet down, so you know it will be fine swimming in the bottom of a wet dinghy for the ride to the beach. $39.99 | www.drycase.com
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