Some gadgets actually work
I have never been much on gadgets, more especially those related to fishing. I have seen so many throughout the years that I am skeptical of even those that appear to be the real deal.
The overhyped Flying Lure did prove to have some merit as we did not use the lure itself, but did use the technique that made it work so well with 4-inch plastic worms. I passed, however, on baits with blinking eyes, lures with batteries that produced a noise that lured fish in from a quarter mile away and basically any product supposedly banned from tournament use because it was too lethal.
At the same time, however, I was far too slow in appreciating the benefits of the GPS and will never live down having laughed at a little green box resting on Jim Ray Coleman’s lap back in the fall of 1970. “You just dunk this plastic thing over the side, watch this little orange light spin around the dial and it will tell you right where the fish are,” he bragged, convinced that he had spent a bunch of money well.
We were dragging a new lure called a Rat-L-Trap behind the boat that day hoping to locate bass suspended on a deep tree line on the south end of Toledo Bend. It was supposed to be even better than the reliable Cordell Hot Spot, but we doubted that as well. John Fox had given me a few to try so we were not afraid to lose them and trolled even closer to the tree line.
While I continued to troll back and forth occasionally catching a keeper, Jim Ray would periodically shut down his 9.8 horsepower Mercury, drop his lure straight over the side and catch bass after bass before moving on. Neither of us clearly interpreted all of those lines on the screen, but I had seen enough.
A year later I had saved up enough money to buy my own Lowrance depth finder and I have not been without at least one ever since. And that new Rat-L-Trap proved to be a pretty good lure as well!
All of which brings me to a small tool that Brad Deslatte gave me last week. If any product ever screamed “gadget” from within the confines of its plastic wrapper it was this simple, but crude looking piece of metal that may forever change the way we splice line. You can also use it to easily snell a hook.
Not surprisingly, the tool was developed for fly fishermen as the streamlined and exceptionally strong nail knot is the preferred method of attaching monofilament leaders to fly line. The nail knot, even with the aid of a nail, is not easy to manually tie. Ronnie Robison and I went through a 150-yard spool of mono one foot at a time one afternoon and never successfully tied our first nail knot. That was my last attempt!
While Rusty Frederick and I skeptically looked on last Friday, Brad took the Ty-fast tool out of the pack, laid two short lengths of line across the end and tied the knot in less than thirty seconds. It took me a full minute, but I dropped my piece of line on the floor and had trouble finding it!
Splicing a heavier leader to lighter line or adding mono leader to braid is standard practice, but can also be a liability for light tackle saltwater fishermen. Tie the knot badly and you air mail an expensive lure or break off a good fish. If the knot is too bulky it shortens casts and absolutely wrecks the inserts on rod eyes. This tool eliminates both problems. You can even use it to tie on a lure, but I see little value in that application.
I have already ordered two more because I know that I will drop at least one in the water while wading. I still have great confidence in both the Albright and surgeon knots which require no tool to tie, but given a choice, I cannot pass on the strength of the double nail knot, its diminutive size and the fact that I know it is tied correctly every time.
Make no mistake about it, the Tie-Fast tool qualifies as a gadget, but it is a gadget that works. Thank God, it is inexpensive because I know I will lose a number of them. The tool has a little keeper ring on the end, but so do my fishing pliers and I manage to misplace them at least once every trip.
I won’t be surprised if my fishing partner, Johnny Cormier, figures out how to make one out of an empty cola can, but until that happens we can get one by going directly to www.Tie-Fast.com. I think Bass Pro Shop may have them as well, but I don’t know that for sure.