Senior Writer Tim Huffman shares his take on some products for fishermen and outdoorsmen.
by Tim Huffman
Senior Writer Tim Huffman reviews the latest buzz in products for fishermen.
Knife and Tool Sharpener – Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition
Every handyman and fisherman needs sharp tools and knives. I’ve field tested this model for several weeks, sharpening a variety of fillet, hunting, pocket and kitchen knives along with scissors and tools. This sharpener makes the chore easier and quicker. I can highly recommend it for providing a consistent, extremely sharp edge on everything I ran through it. The learning curve is easy and there are many YouTube videos showing setup and use.
Product features include an adjustable guide to set angles from 15 up to 30 degrees. A variable speed motor gives good control and efficiency. The abrasive belts are custom designed for sharpening high-end steels and surgical steels for a cool edge. Belts are ¾ x 12-inch and vary from coarse for repairing damaged blades or to sharpen heavy-duty tools down to finer grains (6000 grit) for serrations, gut-hooks and polishing a final edge. With a quick adjustment it can be set for sharpening an ax, tuning up a lawn mower blade and other freehand sharpening or light grinding.
The Ken Onion model has a 4.7 out of 5 rating on Amazon with over 6,600 reviews. The suggested retail price is $149. Not inexpensive, but it is to sharpening what LiveScope is to sonar. It’s also much easier, more consistent and more fun than using stones. There are options, with the Blade Grinding Attachment high on my wish list. Work Sharp offers a good basic version of the model tested.
Casting and Dock Shooting Rod – BnM Pole Co. SharpShooter Deluxe Six
The SharpShooter Deluxe is a 6-foot, one-piece rod made of 98-percent graphite. It is fine-tuned for casting and shooting docks. It’s medium action with stainless steel line guides with stainless steel inserts to guarantee toughness and smooth line flow. A cork handle, fixed reel seat and touch system completes the rod.
“LiveScope has changed fishing. I believe the future of crappie fishing is casting to fish,” says BnM Pro Staff Manager, Kent Driscoll. “As more people put more pressure on fish by using LiveScope, we are seeing the fish adapt by being more and more spooky. Casting lets a fisherman present a bait 30, 40, 50 or more feet so the crappie sees the bait before spooking due to boat, trolling motor or other noise.
“I’ve been using the SSD60 for about a year. It has a micro eye that reduces line wiggle and increases casting accuracy, one of the reasons we call it a SharpShooter. Recommended line size is 4- to 8-pound-test with 1/64-ounce jig and heavier. With spooky, finicky crappie, more fishermen are using smaller 1/64- and 1/32-ounce jigs.”
The SharpShooter Deluxe Six, SSD60, has a MSRP of $49 and is available at Bass Pro Shops, Grizzly Jig Co and other retailers.
Blade Bait – Slab Dragger TTI Blakemore
Team Crappie, a new TTI Blakemore/Road Runner brand, introduces the Slab Dragger. Company sales and marketing guru, Ron Stallings says, “The Slab Dragger is a button tail body with a unique design with the ribs underneath the body. The rib placement provides more vibration and sound along with trapping air that releases on a downward fall. The result is a very realistic presentation.”
The Slab Dragger is rigged on an original Road Runner head adding more vibration along with sound and flash. This is an action bait that can catch fish from a boat or from the bank.
Team Crappie Slab Dragger is available in 1/16- or 1/8-ounce, rigged, with one spare body. MSRP is $3.50.
(Tim Huffman has specialized in crappie fishing, writing and photography since 1988. He is currently the Editor/Senior Writer for Crappie Masters Magazine, freelance contributor to four magazines, book author and Senior Writer for CrappieNow Digital Magazine.)