Adrenaline Jolt: Squidnation Mauler Squid Spreader Bar $89 to $129 • 240/461-6525 www.adrenalinelures.com Want to get mauled by tuna? Try dragging Adrenaline Lures' Squidnation Mauler Squid spreader bar. The 3' bar is constructed of 316 stainless steel, so it retains its shape. The mono is 200-pound test Penn Premium. The last bait in the center chain has a snap swivel, so you can quickly change your hook bait.
I tested Adrenaline's Triple Pink bar with eleven 9" squid-it towed flat and didn't cartwheel or tangle easily. The real surprise? These rigs cost 10 to 15 percent less than most of the competition. Adrenaline has bars of all stripes and colors, and the company will custom build your fantasy bar-calamari cowboys will love these things. -Lenny Rudow
Flash & Dazzle: Holofish Umbrella Dredge $265 • 888/810-7283 • www.alltackle.com Looking for a compact dredge that can be stowed on a small boat yet help you compete with the big boys? Check out the Holofish umbrella dredge. This six-arm dredge sports fourteen 8" plastic fish filled with reflective strips. Mine glows with hues of green, pink, and blue. And I mean it glows - the reflective strips throw off so much sunlight that the dredge seems to emit a halo of glittering colors. It stows easily in a 2'-long plastic cylinder. The lures are attached to the arms with corkscrew wires, so attacking fish may eventually rip them free, but replacements are available ($15). This is one fish attractor I'll be keeping on-hand for the entire offshore season. -L.R.
The Ultimate Angler
My mate took one lookat a $20 blue-light special I was so proud of and said, "That rod will break on the first tuna." Fifteen minutes into a tug-of-war with a 50-pound bluefin, the reel seat started revolving freely around the grip. Damn - I hate when he's right. I started the season with a grand total of 28 rods and ended it with 23. After years of destroying tackle as if it were a sport, I hope someone else will learn from my stupid mistakes - maybe even you.
1. Buy good quality. Try to get away by doing it cheap and you'll find yourself cursing as a 50-pound tuna swims away free.
2. Never lean a rod against the wall, a car, or anything within five feet of a door. Rods have a great way of sliding into the crack between the door and the door jamb. As soon as some-one tries to open or close it - crack!
3. When it's bent under fish power, never let a rod touch the gunwale. This prevents it from bending all the way down the spine, and a minor amount of pressure can break it.
4. Never let your rod get close to vertical or grab it halfway up when swinging a fish into the boat. Same problem as above, same result.
5. When practice casting, check first for - zap! - overhead power lines. 6. Never hand a rod from the dock down to the boat while holding it by the tip. This is the worst kind of break since it often happens in your hand and causes a puncture wound - one that's almost as painful as admitting that you were wrong.