More Great Gadgets and Cool Doodads

More items for your angling convenience.

  • By: Ted Leeson

A concession I make to age—the Simms Backsaver Wading Belt, a nylon-web belt with 5” tall, semi-rigid foam pad that can be cinched firmly against the lower back for support. It helps prevent lumbar fatigue and soreness when wading, sitting on a backless boat seat, or rowing. Simms makes two such belts; I tested both and prefer this one for simplicity, effectiveness, and cost, $39.95.

Most hooks larger than size 10 or so can profit from touching up the point, and resharpening is, as they say, highly indicated after a snag or hookup on hard-jawed fish. I’ve used several types of hook hones over the years, but none better than the Diamond Hook File from Rising. One side has two 600-grit grooves, the other a single 800-grit groove for finishing. The file is 4” long, has rounded corners to preserve vest pockets, and a comfortable rubber grip—easy to use and effective. $10,

Two seasons ago, I pushed aside my squeamishness about on-stream water-filtration systems and never looked back. They allow access to drinking water without the weight of carrying it. Two in particular are of note. The Katadyn Micro Water Bottle (.75L) Microfilter has both a pleated glassfiber and carbon filters to remove bacteria, protozoa, and viruses. The 26-ounce bottle has a bite valve for hands-free drinking, and provides a good water flow when you squeeze the bottle. It filters up to 26 gallons, and the filter is replaceable. $39.95, or

I’ve tried any number of flashlights and headlamps for pre-dawn and evening fishing, but few have offered the simplicity and utility of Chota’s new Lighted Hat. Four little LED bulbs, two white and two red, are set discreetly into the bill of this baseball cap. Click the push-button switch on the underside of the brim once for the white lights or twice for the red, which better preserve night vision. You get easily directed, hands-free illumination—and a hat. The two coin-type batteries are replaceable. Constitutionally suspicious of contraptions like this, I was extremely surprised at how practical and functional this proved—lightweight, comfortable, and always handy. $23.95 (includes replaceable, coin-type batteries).

Ted Leeson is FR&R’s longtime gear reviewer. His latest book is Inventing Montana.




Swisher and Richards point out in their classic Selective Trout that a trout’s metabolism begins to peak when the water temperature hits 50 degrees. However, a quick dip of the index finger will not record that magic number; we need a thermometer. But we’re back to finger testing when the thermometer falls out of a vest pocket, unclips from a D-ring or, more likely, we simply fumble the thing in numb fingers. (I always seem to drop the thermometer, more than nippers, clippers or tippet spools.) Eco-Temp has introduced a klutz-proof thermometer, the Trouter, with an adhesive back that sticks to waders or a landing-net handle and has a flexible LED-like temperature strip (no glass or mercury involved). Apply the nifty, foam-bodied strip and focus on the fishing, not safe-keeping the thermometer; $18.—Joe Healy