by John Skinner
I spent this past Saturday surrounded by fishing gear at the New York Coalition for Recreational Fishing (NYCRF) Annual Flea Market in Amityville. The fun part about events such as these is that they feature used gear as well as new. Do you want to buy a Penn Squidder or Penn Slammer? No problem. You can find them in good condition at reasonable prices. The same goes for rods from ultra-light to big game. After spending the entire day at the show, where did I stop on the way home? J&H Tackle of course, as if I hadn't looked at enough fishing gear for one day. For me, part of this is for research purchases. I'm giving a fair number of seminars this winter, and when I show video of me using my custom 11-foot rod, I'd like to be able to describe that rod in terms of an easily accessible and reasonably priced off-the-shelf rod. For example, the rod I use on inlet jetties is one that I built from a 1990 Lamiglas GSB1321M blank. It's a beast that easily handles the 3- to 5-ounce bucktails that I use frequently in the inlets. That same model blank that Lamiglas makes today is lighter in weight and power than the one they made 25 years ago. I've had a hard time finding a rod that is close in power to my jetty rod, but I finally found one at J&H. It was a Tsunami Airwave Elite 1142XH. It's 4 inches longer, but would be a good rod for working the rips with heavy bucktails.
So what did I actually buy after being surrounded by gear all day? I bought four hook files from J&H. At $4 each, I know I've just spent $16 in a way that will definitely increase my catch. I'm sure I have a half-dozen of these scattered around between my basement, jeep, and garage. Unfortunately, they rust after a while if you're not careful (I'm not), so it's wise to replace them periodically. I figure the more files I have, the easier I can find one when needed, the sharper my hooks will be, and that will result in catching more fish. I'm obsessive about hook sharpness. With months of winter ahead, now's a good time to check over your plugs and jigs and make sure your hooks are all dangerously sharp for the upcoming season. Replace the rusted out ones, and take a file to the hooks that are still good but can use a touch-up.
If you missed my surf seminar at Saturday's show, you can catch a similar presentation that I'll be giving at Campsite Sport Shop on Route 110 in Huntington Station this Saturday, January 24th at 1 p.m.