Advancements in bass fishing equipment are amazing. Likely due to the competitive factor in our sport, manufacturers continue to push the envelope, constantly devising better ways to catch fish. Many of these improvements become tangible tackle and boat gear.
Yet there continues to be shortcomings. From time to time, I compile my ďwish listĒ of items that seem to be forgotten, evidently swept under the rug by the engineers.
Other than the satisfaction gained from complaining, the reason for this is twofold. First, occasionally a manufacturer has already solved the dilemma and Iím led to a cool new product. Or secondly, perhaps my list will plant something in a brain that will someday lead us all to a better experience.
For now, here are a few items that need invention or refinement:
An invincible bait keeper
I flip a lot, and Iíve tried most of the hooks out there. However, for the life of me, I canít find one with a truly perfect bait keeper. Versions with wire eventually spin around and fall apart. Versions with hard plastic eventually crack and break off. At times, Iíve resorted to making my own with shrink tubing. So, there I am, modifying a hook Iíve already paid too much money for. Come on.
Electronic dash panel
I have to imagine this one is coming. And truthfully, Iím not sure I want it. But the dash unit in my truck controls and reports on everything in my life while Iím driving. Radio, phone messages, voicemails, navigation, apps, podcasts Ė everything comes through that screen. Yet, my depthfinder does almost none of this. Why?
A true line counter
How many times have you attempted to get one more reel fill out of a spool of line, only to be disappointed as the spool runs out with your reel half full? Happens all the time. There needs to be a device that can determine how many wraps of line are left on the filling spool, and then determines the amount of line based on spool size. Describing such a device is probably trickier than building one.
Reels that never need maintenance
My trailer tires feature a bearing system that requires no maintenance, ever. So, even after the internal workings of that unit have spun jillions of times, it works just like the day I bought it. Yet, my fishing reels squeak and grind. There has to be a way to get that wheel bearing technology inside a reel. A totally sealed, maintenance-free, lifetime warranty version is on its way, I bet. Youíll thank me.
A line gauge
Ever wonder what line is on your reel? Me too. Sure, I make a little sticker each time I spool up, but those eventually fall off, leaving me to guess exactly whatís on the reel. Is that 15-pound fluoro, or 17? There has to be a measuring device that we can put line into and determine the diameter. Some sort of micro-tool, or maybe a laser. Itís already out there for other industries, Iím sure, like wire work.
Side Imaging at any speed
As Iíve expressed, I have no desire to fish all day looking at my depthfinder, so Iíll pass on the forward-facing sonar craze. But I would like to have the ability to see clear side-view pictures when running down the lake. So far, Iím good up to about 15 mph, but why not more? Get to work, smarty-pants.
A self-pegging sinker
Slide a sinker on the line. If youíd like it to stop from sliding, twist the bottom (similar to a telescopic pole, or possibly a two-piece design). If youíd like the sinker to again slide, simply untwist. What the heck? Sinkers are already six bucks apiece.
So thereís a start to solving the worldís problems. Believe it or not, I still have more to share another time. It seems weíre always so close to designing perfection, yet forget those pesky chores that add frustration to a day of fishing. Iím sure you have your own ideas to share.
In the meantime, Iíll be on the lake, thankful for such small things to worry about.
(Joe Balog is the often-outspoken owner of Millennium Promotions, Inc., an agency operating in the fishing and hunting industries. A former Bassmaster Open and EverStart Championship winner, he's best known for his big-water innovations and hardcore fishing style. He's a popular seminar speaker, product designer and author, and is considered one of the most influential smallmouth fishermen of modern times.)