2023 Summer Fishing Gear Guide

by | Jun 22, 2023 | Gear & Gift Guides

Summer 2023 Fishing Gear Guide

Written By: Todd Corayer, The Fish Wrap Writer

Spring Gear Guide Products:

Grundén Shorebreak LS Crew Shirt

Smelly Proof Reusable Storage Bags

iLive “Light Up” Bluetooth Wireless Waterproof Fabric Speaker

Muck Boot Woody Sport Ankle Boots

Brite-Strike Bug-Strike Insect Repelling Lights

Daiwa Saltist 2500

Shimano Sephia Clinch Flashboost squid jigs

Grundéns Shorebreak LS Crew Shirt

Quick dry sun protective fishing shirt.
Starting at $69.99
My Pick: Surf Color
What I Love: Thumb holes, dries fast, hang loop, UPF30

From my experience on the water, Grundéns makes no bad gear. Their brand has been tested for decades to be durable and long-lasting.

With the new Shorebreak line, they have blended 85% recycled Polyester with 15% cotton to create a comfortable fishing shirt that dries quickly, feels right, and has those clever thumbs holes to keep the sun away when backcasting. The Drirelease© cotton helps the shirt dry four times faster than regular cotton. It may seem insignificant, but I love the locker loop to hang it and the small pieces of colored trim. It’s the details that make great gear.

While wearing a Shorebreak LS did not help me catch more fish during testing, it was very easy to wear, and considering its smart styling, made for an easy transition to wherever you might go after fishing.

Shorebreak shirts offer UPF 30 sun protection, Freshguard® Anti-Odor finish, and a fit you will love.  This new Shorebreak is a welcomed addition to my wardrobe of tough, comfortable fishing gear.

Smelly Proof Reusable Storage Bags

Multi-use reusable plastic bags in a variety of sizes.
Starting at $5.99
My Pick: 12″ x 16″ Black
What I Love: American Made, Self-Standing, Reusable, Durable

Before you scratch your head, wondering why we field-tested plastic bags, remember that we all use them.

We stuff them with sandwiches, snacks, jig heads, phones, keys, plastic lures, smelly lures, trail mix, and terminal tackle. Unfortunately, we also typically throw them away.

One of my greatest life lessons came from Garret Hardin, who observed that there is no “away.” According to earthday.org,

Five trillion plastic bags are produced worldwide annually. It can take up to 1,000 years for a bag to disintegrate completely. Americans throw away 100 billion bags annually, that’s the equivalent to dumping nearly 12 million barrels of crude oil!”

Smelly Proof called, I tested and I love them. They are sturdy and American-made. I really love that. Give them a wash before use with food then do that again when done. They are BPA-free and built with FDA-approved materials.

Smelly Proof Bags have a conservation-minded mission, which is important. Stand them up (since they’re cleverly designed to do that), fill them then secure them with the Trilok™ zipper. Stuff them with plastics on jig heads, with snaps and swivels, separate 30# and 40# leaders, lay in some bubblegum RonZ’s lures, and save a few for snacks that make you happy.

And that jig head part? You know how hooks find their way into tackle bag mesh and vest pockets when you’re switching tactics? In our testing, no hooks penetrated the plastic. That alone is worth the money.

Smelly Proof Reusable Storage Bags are available in micro, mini, pocket, snack, sandwich, quart, gallon and two-gallon sizes. Choose from clear flat, clear flat heavy-duty, clear stand and fill (wicked handy for fish fillets), clear stand and fill heavy duty, and black flat.

Those black flat bags are great for stowing plugs and plastics you don’t want the whole world to know about. Did I mention I love them? So did the judges when they won the 2022 Parent Tested Parent Approved award. If you want to do even just one thing to help our planet, Smelly Bags are a great, American-made start.

Variety of sizes and colors to choose from.

iLive “Light Up” Bluetooth Wireless Waterproof Fabric Speaker with LED light

Starting at $29.99
My Pick: Teal
What I Love: Waterproof, light-weight, quality sound.

iLive “Light Up” speaker immediately delivered big sounds from a small space. To test it, I made the sacrifice, ignored a long list of chores, and worked in my garage shop, which is obvious branding for that space where I drink beer and dub around with lures. Trying to rock out while not attracting attention to my alternate plan, the Light Up “kicked it”, as my young son would say. It’s the right purchase for those moments when you want to have some music, without taking up space, with high-quality sounds, thanks to its ten-watt peak power output.

I took it to the North Maine Woods, where despite my love of total silence, I still require a few minutes of good ole’ Grateful Dead. Up there, rains come fast so the IP67 rating means it’s okay to submerge it to three feet for up to thirty minutes or still rock out in a shower. Plus, it’s dustproof, unlike my house.

The iLive really is a perfect size; at less than half a pound, it’s like having a fun secret in your raincoat pocket.

I bailed out my sweet Old Town canoe with the Light Up Wireless Waterproof Fabric Speaker balanced on a mid-ship seat without worries of splashes. I paddled a glacial pond with shifting winds making crossing difficult as the water came across the starboard side. I washed off all my fun gear with a garden hose when I returned home, without concern. Want to really test it? Tune in your favorite device to New Orleans’ WWOZ radio, connect by Bluetooth, play some Professor Longhair, “Go To The Mardi Gras” and you’ll understand just how much sound you can pull out of a small speaker.

The music is clear, crisp, and plenty loud. At 2.95” x 3.23” x 3.5”, it’s no Marshall stack, but it’s tough and strong and will play for three hours at full volume. Tuck it in your pack, stow one in your center console, and balance one in the kayak when searching for largemouth. It’s also a real treat to have a Bluetooth speaker in your pack for those moments when your son takes over with hip-hop and you just need some peace and Chuck Berry in your tent.

Muck Boot Woody Sport Ankle Boots

Starting at $145
What I Love: Neoprene booty, tough rubber sole, comfortable.

We all know Muck Boots are solid. After revolutionizing the high rubber boot market, they continue to improve and perfect. I wanted to try something different, so I dug into their ankle boots. There are times when you don’t need a knee-high boot: maybe you need a boot to water the garden, wash the boat, walk the dog, or haul in some kindling for that last spring cold spell.

The Woody Sport starts with a 5mm Neoprene bootie, lightweight EVA midsole, and tough rubber sole. And that Muck reputation. These boots are so comfortable you won’t need an outdoor chore to wear them. Woody Sport seems to run a little big but that may be to accommodate different socks so you might want to drop down a size. After a few months of inside and out testing, they proved to be comfortable, and secure and there is no sole slip. As long as you keep your end of the arrangement and stay in shallow waters, then these are really fine boots and worth every penny.

Brite-Strike Bug-Strike Insect Repelling Lights

Attach to your hat bug repellent light.
Starting at $30
My Pick: 6-Pack Pull Start Fire
What I Love: Simple technology, long-lasting, dependable in any weather

Brite-Strike Technologies has been a favorite of ours for years. Their APALS have been featured here and I can say that they are, unconditionally, one of the smartest and most important pieces of safety gear you can use on any adventure.

Glenn Bushee and his team devised and patented a new, all-natural way to repel insects like gnats, mosquitoes, deer, and horse flies, with lights creating a barrier around you. They developed a pattern of ultraviolet, blue, and infrared lights, used in combination to keep bugs off your head or wherever you affix the lights.

If you are more accustomed to hosing yourself with sprays and heavy chemicals, this is the tech jump you need to try.

Each light comes with a 3M adhesive so you can stick them to whatever you want, just to test them like we did. Once you become a believer, as I did, then use the included hook and loop strips to hang them on a hat and go for a hike.

Each package contains one ultraviolet LED, two infrared LED’s and one blue LED. UV lights will run for approximately 400 hours, which means blue will last approximately 350 hours but the infrared requires more juice and should last approximately 100 hours. Because Brite-Strike has built a “reputation for underpromising and over-delivering,” they include a second infrared LED so you can enjoy 200 hours of bug protection. That’s a lot of time in the woods.

Brite-Strike is a clever company that continues to invent ways to keep us safe with LED lights, knives, and tactical equipment, and their new Bug-Strikes will surely be a key part of your next camping or boating trip. Their APALS was once a new idea that quickly became essential and I see Bug-Strike lights following their path.

Watch the Brite-Strike video showing how deer flies and mosquitos disappeared when their lights were affixed to a hat.

Daiwa Saltist 2500

Starting at $229.00
My Pick: 2500
What I Love: Lightweight, great touch, smooth reel.

Based on my great success with the Saltist 4000 and 5000 MQ, I matched a 2500 series reel to my Rosie’s Bait and Tackle American Beauty rod. There are many times, especially in shoulder seasons, when a lighter touch is the best touch when targeting stripers, smaller bluefish, or back sea bass. Saltist reels are so well designed and constructed that I had absolutely no concerns about purchasing another one.

They have Magasealed main shafts and line rollers and 8+1 corrosion-resistant ball bearings. The 2500’s lightweight Air Rotor design and Air Bail® tubular stainless steel help keep its total weight to 9.5 ounces. The carbon ATD drag system ensures you’ll have plenty of muscle if you hook into one a bit larger than you anticipated, which I wish happened to me more.

The 5.6:1 easily retrieves 33.2” per crank from a spool holding 170 yards of 20# braid. Even with its solid body construction, I still recommend a wash after each use. Daiwa has built a line of tested and trusted reels so they are worth a few minutes at the end of the day to keep them clean and salt-free.

My Saltist 2500 brought me out of a weary late Spring slump with a 25” striper hanging in a mooring field. With a well-made rod matched to a smooth-as-silk reel, I have full confidence in the Saltist line.

Shimano Sephia Clinch Flashboost Squid Jigs

A thrilling non-fiction read that tests the limits of the human spirit.
Starting at $10.50
What I Love: Reflective, great movement, weighted heads.

I swear there is magic inside their clear plastic packages. Even before I had the chance to fish them, they sat on my desk, shimmering and moving. The Flash Boost technology creates an unreal moving and highly reflective shine that’s remarkable, even when they’re still inside the packaging.

Shimano says it’s all about micro springs. They create flash and movement to attract hunting squid. Squids are advantageous maters, better called aseasonal, meaning they are continuously reproducing. All that loving takes calories, which they get by consuming small hake, cod, eels, herring, striper, flounder and Bay anchovies. With that understanding and their attraction to night lights where prey might feed, Sephia Clinches have been designed to perfectly mimic prey. They have weighted heads to dive at specific speeds, which are listed on the front.

Want to test before buying? Pick one package up and hold it then count until the holo-foil stops attracting your attention. Talk about mesmerizing. Now consider that underwater, picking up light fragments, zig-zagging down then back up, precisely imitating wounded baitfish. That’s powerful stuff in colors like banana chartreuse, pink chartreuse, keimura white (keimura translates roughly to a material which reacts to UV light), pink candy, sardine, and zebra prawn.

Double hooks are razor sharp and Shimano has again proven they can design true-life, built-to-last squid jigs. 


Want to view other gear guides I have written recently? Click here. 

All images shown above were retrieved from Amazon product listings or vendor websites  with the intent of highlighting said products.


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