Functional fishing gear/apparel -- what's purchases/hacks made a difference for you?

nolandw

Active Member
#1
As I fish more I have begun to do piers less and more surf, bank, poke-poling, and rockfishing. Part of it is the solitude and spot discovery which can make the trip all the more rewarding. However, my gear has not kept up as well with this change.
  • I usually have a pair of waders I wear (cheap ones) but they now have a huge rip in one of the rubber boats. They were always ill-fitted anyways, and I still use them because they provide some protection, but they aren't the most mobile of waders (especially if going up/down steep cliffs) and one foot will always get wet.
  • I also now pretty much consistently wear the same shirt/jacket which is a bit water-resistant and has a lot of pockets/optional layers in case I get too cold or if I need to have things like pliers, Gulp worms, a knife, and my phone at the ready. However, it was designed to be a running jacket with a removable rain layer, not a fishing jacket. Not really any proper pockets.
  • I also have just been using an older backpack for taking stuff to the surf. It's worked OK, but it's getting worn out and isn't waterproof or really meant for the sand. Not to mention a few weeks ago an irresponsible woman let her dog pee on it...
  • I don't really have a "catch bag" per se. Used to be an old basmati rice bag and now I'm just carrying around an ol' 5 gallon bucket. It's strapped to my backpack but again not the most mobile on cliffs.
In all, I'm thinking about getting water shoes vs waders, a more breathable fishing shirt with better storage, maybe some tackle-specific carrying gear, and PFD for my significant other's peace of mind for when on random rocks and cliffs. Recommendations? Thoughts? I am trying to maximize durability, function, safety, and mobility and open to ideas. I am also curious what other gear has really made a big difference for folks.

On the plus side, one thing I did learn was to keep squid/shrimp bait in an old Thermos/Hydro Flask that I don't plan on using to drink out of. Keeps the bait cold and secure all day and is easy to carry.
 
#2
I like breathable waders and oversized gym shoes. Lightweight and sturdy. I can hike and climb in comfort and balance. Ideal for perch grubbing and poking.

For poke poling I use fiberglass chimney brush extension rods:
cber.jpg

They are 4' long and can be coupled with another for an awesome 8' reach, or even a third rod--though 12' can get unwieldy; I use that one for sliding under an island below. Where some large monkey face dwell. Anyway, the flexible fiberglass is great for sensitivity as well as a fine battle. I used to have thick poles but it wasn't as fun.


Points for keeping your bait cool. An old thermos is great idea. Basmati bag is classic. I've been using burlap Trader Joe's bags. Speaking of bags, take along a few 30-gallon black plastic trash bags. Instant storage, rainproof (dog urine resistant), and security by way of concealment.

It's a challenge bring enough and still move easily. You can be spartan when you are on your own, but a significant other alters the equation.
 

fish-ninja

Well-Known Member
#3
Thanks for your post. I did not think of the thermo idea. That is nifty. I want to try that. I do not have a spare around so I may hit a local thrift store...

I also do different types of fishing so sometimes mixing up gears can help. From freshwater side, there are some nice flyfishing vests that you can get. They could help organize and carry some of tidbits nicely, I think.

Not really about protection for fishing on rocks/surfs but I have been searching the best solution to protect skins from sun burns as I fish in SoCal and it's pretty harsh here. Hate sunscreens and straw huts are nice but balky and lost to winds too often. My recent found was sun hoodies from freshwater/hiking sides. They are light but comes with a good UV protection. Usually they cost crazy $$$ but there is this bland called Baleaf that sells a nice one for a descent price. I have been using it happily avoiding sun burns while fishing the entire days at piers.

Another item that I like to use is folding water buckets. Round flimsy ones do not work for me but more sturdier squared ones can be used for keeping your catch if they are not too big. I sometime use that instead of 5-gallon bucket.
 

fish-ninja

Well-Known Member
#5
Absolutely Mr Mahigeer! Let's.

The Chimney brush rod idea, I did not know (thank you @The Happy Wanderer!) but I too have 3 setups myself, one with a telescopic crappie rod and the others are bamboos from the Gus in SF. I used to live in the same block as the Gus Tackle in SF and hanged out there a bit. They are left at my friends in SF.

This leads me to a question of poke polling in SoCal. I don't think monkey face is around much here and I do not see many doing poke polling at all. My few tries came out with nothing. I guess I have to explore more myself....
 

Red Fish

Well-Known Member
#6
I got some "Frogg Toggs" hip boots from Dick's for $38 a few months ago on recommendation from Michael Jones Jr. from PFIC. He has a number of waders to include neoprene. The hip boots actually have a good rating along with others costing maybe 3x. They come up to your hip and you secure them around your regular belt with the strap provided. Although it seems like they hold up somewhat without a belt. They seem to be much more comfortable than regular rubber boots and come up high enough if you are only going to wade to about your knees.
I have hiked about a mile on soft surfaces and they seemed all right. If you were really going to walk on a lot of rough terrain to get to the fishing hole you are going to wade in, the above recommendation about the waders minus the boot-foot would probably be best.

I like to use fanny-packs for tackle that fit on around your waist. If you are going to wade any deeper than that, a light PFD or nylon, waterproof vest that has pockets for storage. I found a green PFD/vest that is not too bulky (Defiance brand) for $30.
 
#7
slingpoke.jpg

This picture is nearly 20 years old. You can see the crazy bend of three rods coupled together. I got two good cabezon and a sweet brown rockfish out of that "hill." (One of the last times I wore neoprene, too. Just hated feeling like a bobber whenever I waded.) I "discovered" the chimney brush rods at my local teeny tiny hardware store. I am sure this has occurred to others as well. I think I've posted it on all three avatars of the PFIC message board. Those small hardware stores are a treasure trove! One visit--especially if it is an ancient store with rooms filled of old pieces and parts--can foster a hundred ideas. All the components for my poke pole set up (rods, wire, fasteners) as well as shrimp pump parts have come from these shops. I rarely visit tackle shops nowadays. Hardware stores--the small ones; corporate centers don't help much because everything is new--fabric stores (elastic thread and beads, for example) and online bulk purchases are how I roll now.

One word of caution about the rods. They need to be coated because saltwater will make them splinter and this can make for some irritated hands.

Oh, yeah! Though I reside across the Bay, Gus and Hi's Tackle Box were two favorite shops in SF. Great owners and employees, and the best information. I learned so much from them! Real anglers.

I also wonder about Southern California poke poling. One guess is that the predominant habitat for folks there is sandy beach, and that is not the best venue for the pursuit. Sure, there are rockwalls and jetties, but it is true you do not hear much about poke poling. I have often been curious why this is not a big activity for the Avalon crowd.
 

K1n

Active Member
#8
I haven’t poke poled down here yet but I used to just drop Texas rigs into the holes. I’ve gotten small rockfish and sculpin up to 13”. I hear there are morays in the rocks but I’ve never got any but then again, I’m throwing plastics…
 

Mahigeer

Well-Known Member
#9
"I have often been curious why this is not a big activity for the Avalon crowd." Red fish

Thanks for the idea. My 4Runner is already packed for the three days Mole trip.

If it works out, I may try it. I don't eat eels, but it would be a change to regular fishing.

It has been a long time since I tried it. Thus, I need to put the rig together.
 

fish-ninja

Well-Known Member
#10
This picture is nearly 20 years old. You can see the crazy bend of three rods coupled together..... I
What a bendo! I truly second what you said on the local hardware stores. Sad though three good stores near me closed their doors within past five years. Luckily my go-to store still going strong. It is my Disneyland.

On tackle shop, I still like to go to those for real anglers you say to swap the fish talks and pick up small stuffs. Johnny's in Pasadena is a great example near me. We lost Itzzy last year. She started the shop with her husband Johnny in 50's. That is way beyond my time but I had honor to enjoy her aquaintance in my time. RIP Itzzy. I have not gone back to SF since the pandemic. I hope Gus is doing fine, keeping their door open.

@K1n , thanks for sharing your thought on socal poke poling. Texas rigs. Moray eels... Sounds faschinating! Nothing big came on mine with cut squids when I tried on some socal Jetties. When I switched back to small hooks, I got some wrasses and snabnose sculpins. Will try some and report back on a separate thread (sorry for hijacking yours @nolandw ).

@Mahigeer , I look forward to your report. Next time I get up there, I will make sure to bring my own pole as well. Please watch your steps tho!
 
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pinfish

Well-Known Member
#11
if you're just on the sandy beach, i like to use one piece waders with the rubber boots built it. Its lighter and sand won't fill up your wading boots.
 

pinfish

Well-Known Member
#12
i like my black Grunden's boat jacket that I got from Guns and Fishing. its great for fishing. Rugged, water resistant, got a hood, built in cuffs, double pockets. If you see me out there, i'll most likely be wearing it. Had them for several years. i got two of them. The first one I left on the jetty for a whole week and another guy found it for me.
 
#13
Some Daiso stores in the San Diego area have the rig storage things. They come 5 in a pack for $1.50 and hold 2 pretied rigs each. they are circular and have these tabs that hold the line as you wrap it around, and holes to anchor the hooks in. They sit flat in a jacket or cargo pants pocket and keep the lines from kinking like wrapping around pieces of foam. Another tip: Daiso has metal jigs for $1.50 that work just as good as any expensive brand name ones and you don't have to worry so much about losing them in/around structure.
Their website is weird and doesn't show everything they sell but if you google "daiso rig holder" it shows up.
https://www.daisojapan.com/p-55494-rig-holder-d532-in-10pks.aspx
 

fish-ninja

Well-Known Member
#15
Oh daiso jigs... Always keep them in my tackle box as well. They work well with macs and bonitas and in particular for rockfish in bottom. You usually don't want to rockfishing with metal jigs as you lose them a lot by structures but with Daiso..... Here are my two cents. They use cheap paints so the coloring goes out quick by these teethy fish. Coating with some cheap manicures (or steal some from your wife's setup quietly) would make it last longer!
 

MisterT

Well-Known Member
#16
Oh daiso jigs... Always keep them in my tackle box as well. They work well with macs and bonitas and in particular for rockfish in bottom. You usually don't want to rockfishing with metal jigs as you lose them a lot by structures but with Daiso..... Here are my two cents. They use cheap paints so the coloring goes out quick by these teethy fish. Coating with some cheap manicures (or steal some from your wife's setup quietly) would make it last longer!
Great suggestion. I would get some Daiso jigs if I did not have too many lures. :LOL:

Any cheap epoxy will work too. (Bar top epoxy from the hardware store will last a while.)