All the gear and modern technology available to anglers today—what we like to call field accessories for Alaska’s anglers—sure do make the time in the field more effective, more comfortable, and more safe. Find the skinny on the best field accessories for Alaska’s anglers tackle for Alaska fishing. from strong-holding pliers to the Garmin inReach.
Penn Parallel Pliers
Penn Parallel Pliers provide toughness in an ergonomic and corrosion-resistant package, and after taking them out once, our tester never headed for the water without them again. A stainless-steel body and jaws coated in black nickel titanium create the foundation for a design that keeps the jaws parallel along the entire length throughout their range of movement, creating greater and more even pressure throughout the jaws. In other words: these pliers hold.
Nikon 7×50 OceanPro CF WP Global Compass Binoculars
These Nikon OceanPro binoculars were extremely impressive in their lightweight durability, crystal-clear optics and ease of use. These binoculars are ideal for kayakers, featuring waterproof construction and a floatable neck strap, and the optics are truly outstanding! The view was bright and clear, and the binoculars were so easy to focus, it’s easy to name them among the best we’ve tried this year.
Frontiersman Bear Spray with Practice Canister
We appreciate how this product allows us to practice using inert spray with the same canister, deployment style and firing mechanism as pepper spray, so that users understand how to deploy the spray when needed. It behooves every outdoorsman that carries bear spray to understand and practice how to use it so that you are ready to defend yourself if the need ever arises.
Garmin inReach Explorer+
This was a very useful tool for us in the field in 2017. We used it to send text messages from several places throughout Alaska and the texts were always received. We were also able to receive texts, even in spots where others had spotty sat-phone reception. The unit sends a location to the person you text so they can get an idea of where you are located. In an emergency situation offshore, you can trigger an interactive SOS to GEOS, which is a 24/7 global monitoring center, and maintain communication to know that help is on the way.
Alaska Survival Bracelet
The Alaska Survival Bracelet has everything you need to start a fire and signal—and all of it contained in a bracelet! The Alaska Survival Bracelet is made with a durable, military-spec 550 paracord and embedded with a high-quality, military-grade fire-steel, ceramic knife/scraper, Mylar signal mirror, and a waxed jute tinder that is waterproof. Our staff keeps these on their wrists during our snowmachining, 4-wheeling, flying, camping and fishing expeditions.
This knife combines the balance of a chef knife with the all-purpose design of a folding knife. We think it’s great. From gutting, bleeding and gilling salmon to chopping up vegetables at camp for an omelet, this knife delivered. It’s made from a nitrogen-based alloy that is extremely corrosion-resistant, which lands this knife in the Spyderco Salt Series of ultra-corrosion-resistant knives, and it is the same metal that NASA uses for ball bearings in aerospace applications. To add to this space-age carry, and reduce weight, the handle is made from two solid titanium scales. It’s got a secure locking mechanism and wire clip, as well as a lanyard hole.
Wilderness Pack Specialties Salmon Bag
Our tester rarely uses coolers any more to store fish while salmon fishing. Instead, he uses kill bags like the WPS Salmon Bag. This is a true heavy-duty bag designed to keep your fish fresh and cold in a compact area. The WPS Salmon Bag system is made from 14-ounce PVC nylon trapping and lined with ½-inch of closed-cell foam for year-round use. Each bag comes equipped with drain plugs, carry handles and sewn-in web loops to help keep it securely attached inside your boat. Use with bagged ice or better yet, Arctic Ice Tundra Series ice packs, and your catch will stay in prime condition all day. This kill bag is particularly well-made and tough. It’s flat on the bottom, so it tends to stay where you put it. Clean-up is simple with some Lemon Joy, a soft scrub brush and water. This may be the most well-made kill bag on the market. WPS kill bags are available in several sizes, and custom sizes to fit in your boat’s fish box can be ordered.
Pro-Cure Crab and Shrimp Attractant Oil
On an August trip to Prince of Wales Island, testers brought this blend of fish oils, salmon egg oils, amino acids and anise to help attract Dungeness crab. Without using the oil, testers found crab catches to be low. Once adding this to the bait, limits of big crabs were taken.
Arctic Ice Tundra Series
Arctic Ice Tundra Series has a very unique freezing point of 5°F and is designed to help maintain a consistent freezer temperature in coolers. While not as cold as dry ice, Tundra Series can be used as a suitable replacement—it has been shown to maintain frozen temperatures for days in controlled testing. Due to its low freezing point, Tundra Series can take from 18- to 36 hours to freeze, depending on the temperature of the freezer and number of panels being frozen. To ensure Tundra Series panels are frozen, the freezer should be turned to its lowest setting or at least 0°F. Our tester used these most often in conjunction with ice to keep his herring baits as cold as possible. He said that with an XL Tundra on the bottom of a Fish Fighter Products 20-quart Sportsman cooler, and crushed ice and bait above, the ice and bait would stay in a near frozen state for at least three days. He also used Tundra ice packs in his kill bags with ice to help the ice last much longer, and thus ensure his fish stayed in perfect condition. In a small cooler, it is very possible the Tundra series could make your beer slushy. They are that cold!
Scotty Sea Light with Suction Cup Mount
This is a useful tool that’s portable so it can be used in a variety of settings. It combines a suction cup with an ACR C-Light, which is a 20-lumen waterproof LED. Use it while boating at dawn and dusk, when camping, as a portable light for odd jobs or work in low-light situations. You get 30 hours of light on two AA batteries.
Umpqua UPG LT High Bugger Box
This box is low-profile but has plenty of head room for big streamers. It’s got a magnetic closure, which we like, and it is sturdy. We also like that the lid is see-through, which makes it more convenient to identify the contents.
RokLees Fish Release by EcoLeeser
One of the ugly truths of sport-fishing for bottomfish is that we sometimes catch species we can’t keep, but that are suffering the effects of barotrauma (stomach protruding from the mouth, bulging eyeballs). These fish become eagle food if released. Not anymore. Ecoleeser’s RokLees Fish Release allows you to lower the fish back into the depths, essentially recompressing it. It’s simple to use, and effective. Our tester used a short rod and reel to which he attached the RockLees. When a rockfish needed to be released, he simply attached the fish to the device and lowered it back down to near the bottom to release the fish. Charter boats are required to have a release device, sometimes called a descender, on board. Responsible private boat anglers, though not required, should have one too.
BugBand Insect Repellent
According to our tester: “The most amazing bug spray ever!” This repellent works on so many kinds of bugs and it smells great. Our tester couldn’t believe it is a clean and non-toxic product to put on your skin, too.
Rainy’s Boobie Round Eyes
The Booby fly pattern has become a permanent pattern in our tester’s fly box. They are hard to find in fly shops, though. For those of you who tie your own, you know how hard it is to trim cylindrical foam to a nice, round shape for your Boobies. Rainy’s Boobie Round Eyes makes that frustration a thing of the past. Your Boobies will be perfect if you use them. They are available in several sizes and colors. Our tester ties his Boobies on Mustad C49S size 8 hooks. He uses the medium-size Boobie Round Eyes. Note that Rainy’s also makes Boobie Barbell Eyes. They work just as well, and as an added bonus you can glue eyes on the ends of the Barbell Eyes.
Scotty Bait Board & Accessory Tray
This is a game-changing product for many fishing bait in the Great Land. Use it to keep pliers, knives and hook sharpener within easy reach and cut bait like plug-cut herring at an easy-to-use and easy-to-clean station. It also makes for a good location to prep lures—such as sardine-wrapped Kwikfish—where you can cut the sardine, wrap the fillet on the underside of the plug and then hang the lure off the tray. The board mounts to any Scotty post mount.
Pro-Cure Brine ‘N Bite Complete
We brined a couple trays of herring in preparation for trolling and mooching for coho and were impressed with the results. Baits were firm and fished longer than un-brined baits, and there was no doubt that we got more strikes on these baits over the ones that were simply salted. Brine ‘N Bite Complete comes in a range of options—Natural Shine, Chartreuse Glow, Brilliant Blue and Magenta Red. Each contains UV and Pro Cure’s blend of amino acids proven to provoke fish to strike.
RAM Mounts RAP-B-399U UNPKD RAM Float Tube Adapter with 1-inch base
For anglers using their smartphones as displays for wireless fish-finders from pontoon boats or float tubes, the RAM Mounts Float Tube Adapter with 1-inch base, combined with their X-Grip Universal Holder with 1-inch ball and their RAM Double Socket Arm for 1-inch ball, makes a bombproof way to secure your phone. This system is quite adjustable and the view angle can be adjusted perfectly. Our tester used this system on a float tube in conjunction with a Deeper Pro fish-finder. This is the very best solution our tester has found to securely hold a smartphone on a float tube or pontoon boat. What’s more, the RAM 3.3-inch diameter suction cup with 1-inch ball is a great way to secure your smartphone in a vehicle. Simply take the X-Grip and Double Socket arm off of your tube and attach it to the RAM suction cup in your vehicle.
RAM Mounts RAM-B-224-1U RAM 3.3-inch diameter suction cup with 1-inch ball
RAM Mounts RAM-HOL-UN7BU UNPKD X-Grip Universal Holder with 1-inch ball
RAM Mounts RAP-B-201U UNPKD RAM Double Socket Arm for 1-inch ball
Texas Tackle SS Pliers
Ever had a pair of split-ring pliers that don’t work very well? Texas Tackle split-ring pliers work great and are made to last many, many years. There are two sizes, small and large, to handle most any split-ring that anglers use. They are made of stainless steel and have thick, comfortable rubber grips. Our tester commented that they are the best split-ring pliers he’s ever used. Got a pile of Kwikfish you need to convert to single hook? Get these.
Thermacell Backpacker Repeller
Utilizing the same camping gas canisters that backpackers and campers have in their bag already, our testers report that the compact and lightweight Backpacker Repeller is an essential piece of gear, helping to keep the bugs at bay while out enjoying Alaska’s wilderness.
Kicker Bullfrog BF400 Speaker
The BF400 Bluetooth speaker is packed with power, a built-in FM tuner, AUX jack and charging USB connection, while also featuring a Bluetooth range of up to 100 feet. Having one of these along can turn a day on the boat or evening at the campfire into a party that’s fun for everyone. It’s very durable and has great sound.
Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Pole
These trekking poles are light, sturdy and provide much-needed stability when hiking up and down steep terrain and when traversing uneven trails. The poles’ construction features three carbon-fiber sections that contributed to the overall feel we enjoyed. We liked the ease of adjustment using the lever locks, the confidence-inspiring support provided on uneven ground, and the comfort and ergonomics of the cork handles, which keep your hands sweat-free.
Weego Jump Starter 22
An outstanding piece of equipment to carry along on all our backcountry outings, the Weego 22 is incredibly compact but loaded with power—able to jump-start boats, RVs, ATVs, snowmachines and 95% of cars and trucks on the road today. Our testers report foolproof operation and extreme reliability—which is exactly what you want in a backup power source.
Chef’sChoice Diamond Hone Marine Sharpening Station Model 710
Engineered for fishing and marine enthusiasts, like those
who fish in Alaska every year, this revolutionary sharpener
is versatile and easy to use, and it includes three professional sharpeners in one compact unit: a knife sharpener for all your fillet and bait knives, a scissor sharpener for line-cutters and a hook sharpener. Our testers keep it on board their beautiful, custom Raider boat in Valdez making sharpening easy and accessible.
Sea-Band Acupressure Wrist Bands
Don’t let your Alaska saltwater adventure be spoiled by the onset of nausea; alleviate motion sickness by using a Sea-Band, a knitted, elasticated wrist band that operates by applying pressure on acupressure points on each wrist by means of a plastic stud. Because the bands do not use drugs, they do not cause any of the side effects associated with anti-nausea medication and can be worn on each wrist whenever you feel nauseous. They are suitable for adults and children.
Victorinox SwissTool Spirit XC
This is a quality-made multi-tool. It is lightweight, versatile and made of stainless steel. The tools are well-designed and easily accessed. It comes with a nice belt sheath. Our tester especially appreciated the locking mechanism that provides safety while in use.
Outdoor Tech Orcas 2.0
If you’re in the market for wireless earbuds, this upgraded sweat-proof and water-resistant model might be right for you. These earbuds are surprisingly lightweight and comfortable, and they feature inline buttons to control your phone, tablet, etc., and a built-in microphone so you can take your calls hands-free. We enjoyed the sound quality and the rechargeable batteries’ 5-hour play time.
Our tester reported that this sunscreen smells amazing and unlike other brands, it’s not too greasy. She preferred the spray for ease of application and appreciated the long-lasting coverage. The Coola line is made from the most pure, eco-conscious products possible, developing their sunscreen with as many ingredients as possible that are natural, organic, sustainable and locally sourced.
Coola Liplux SPF 30 Original Formula
This all-in-one lip treatment moisturizes and protects with Farm-to-Face sourced, antioxidant-infused, broad-spectrum SPF 30 protection. The vitamin- and antioxidant-enriched formula soothes and nourishes your lips, which is important when spending long days afield in the Alaska summer sun.
Power Practical Sparkr Flashlight & Lighter
Utility is important in the field, and this flashlight/lighter combo is one item our tester found he was able to utilize on many occasions. On one end is a 400 lumen LED projector beam flashlight with 3 brightness settings, and on the other is an electric plasma lighter that creates a windproof electric arc for all of your fire-starting needs. Also, remove the safety cap from the lighter and it doubles as a diffuser to turn your flashlight into a lantern for even more utility. Each Sparkr is rechargeable with the included USB cable and comes with a nifty utility tie for hanging it around camp or wherever needed.
Victorinox Knife Sharpener
When sharpening your non-serrated knives needs to be quick and easy, this knife sharpener by Victorinox can’t be beat. Its ergonomic design is easy to handle and its operation feels both safe and confidence-inspiring. The mechanism is made up of V-shaped carbide metal blades set at an optimal angle that takes the guesswork out of sharpening your knives, and in our experience, provides great results each time we’ve used it.