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Bob Banfelder

Bob is an award-winning crime-thriller novelist and outdoors writer. "The Fishing Smart Anywhere Handbook for Salt Water & Fresh Water" is endorsed by Lefty Kreh and Angelo Peluso~online at Amazon.

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April 01, 2015

The T.C. Sling's the Thing

by Bob Banfelder

A serious surf fisherman can easily tire when carrying around 12- 10- or even 9-foot poles married to some heavy-duty reels. Let's first look at some light surf spinning outfits and weigh the situation carefully. Example: a 23.7 ounce Stella SW (Salt Water) model STL 8000; a lighter 20.4 ounce Eposeidon ~ Ecooda Hornet model 6000; and an even lighter Stella SW series, a 14.3 ounce Stella SW model STL 5000. These three fine surf spinning reels coupled to some Heavy- to Medium-Heavy Action Ugly Stik surf poles can wear a guy or gal down, especially when traipsing along miles of sandy or stony beach for half a day. Working your way among boulders or along an extended rock jetty can cause a person pause. On a stormy, devilish day and well into evening, no warning sign is there or even needed to caution you to take heed: CAREFUL. SLIPPERY WHEN WET. You know the deal before you ever get to your destination. Sure-footedness and a balancing act with your cherished equipment and gear are the necessary requirements.

Walking the picturesque Long Island Sound beaches of Wading River, Reeves, Iron Pier, as well as South Jamesport Beach on the Peconic Bay side can eventually slow you down. Searching and casting a number of spoons, plugs, and Uncle Josh's Pork Rind jigs will sooner or later make a body weary. But what if you had an item, a featherweight aid to help support the load of a hefty surf outfit? Well, I recently discovered such an aid. I use the word discover because the item is actually used for entirely different purposes.

The T.C. Sling started out as a cross-shoulder strap with which to comfortably carry a camera or a pair of binoculars. The sling features a single-point snap clip that slides freely up and down a one-inch wide black web strap. From there, Mr. Rock Wilson designed an accessory strap (also, one-inch wide) that wraps snugly around the butt of a handgun. The strap has a nylon D-ring that attaches to the snap clip. As I will be back to target shooting this spring with a handgun, as well as hunting with it in the fall, the adjustable T.C. Sling is the ticket, for it will help steady my off-hand/support hand position via a very solid anchor point. Subsequently, from that firing stance, you can simply clear and lower the weapon to a safe position anywhere along the front or rear of your body, such as a shoulder, hip, or rear pocket holster. The T.C. Sling, with its handgun accessory strap, is the next best thing to shooting from a rest, enabling you to make precise shots. After ordering and receiving the item as a handgun aid, I wondered (apart from binoculars and cameras) for what other use this sling strap could be adapted . . . maybe something along the fishing front. Let's see how this all came about.

The T.C. Sling for a camera.

The T.C. Sling with handgun accessory strap for straight shooting.

Donna and I were suffering from cabin fever as I'm sure most of us have this wintry season. A friend happened to call and tell us that Long Island Sound was frozen over. I wondered how that could possibly be. The Peconic River, right off our property, was mostly ice, but a current had eventually cut a swath clear up its middle. But sure enough, the Sound was iced over to a good degree. Then came more snow and lots of shoveling. Actually, we had to be dug out by a payloader on the first go-around. We weren't going anywhere anytime soon. Lots of time to write, read, and ruminate. I lived with Rock's T.C. Sling Strap wherever I roamed. Mostly around the rooms of our home with handgun in hand, adjusting its strap, wearing various layers of clothing, making sure the adjustable sling was long enough for all occasions. It certainly is. As a handgun support aid, Rock should, perhaps, think about renaming the item to read: Rock's T.C. Rock-Solid Handgun Platform. Just as a point of information, the T.C. stands for Traverse City, Michigan, Rock's home. Not Thompson/Center of Thompson/Center Arms, which is America's finest firearms manufacturer in the world when it comes to MOA (Minute Of Angle) accuracy and versatility via its interchangeable barrel system. Such reflections were suddenly interrupted when I was struck by another thought.

It was a freezing February morning, and I was surprised that I could even think at all. Why not use the Velcro handgun accessory strap, attached to the T.C. Sling, to aid in carrying rod(s) and reel(s) for endless walks along those aforementioned beaches? Brilliant! Speculation is one thing; putting an idea to practice is another. Well, I tried the sling/strap combination every which way I could think of: carrying one hefty rod and reel; two rods and reels; camera; binoculars. Good to go. Where? Practically anywhere. Effortlessly. What a godsend. What a pleasure to walk about with the weight of the reel(s) and rod(s) distributed either across my body or upon a shoulder.

The T.C. Sling with accessory strap makes carrying heavy surf rods a breeze.

You may recall my December 01, 2014 Nor'east monthly report titled Shimano's Flagship Stella SW Spinning Reels Versus Eposeidon's Ecooda Hornet for the Surf. In the article, I had mentioned that I put my 12-foot surfcasting rod to rest, wielding in its stead a lighter, 10-foot Medium-Heavy action, two-piece Shakespeare Ugly Stik, remarried to the Stella 8000 SW reel. Well, that's all changed now. It was lugging around the 12-foot outfit in lieu of the lighter 10-foot that initially put the kibosh on matters. It wasn't a question of casting the heavier outfit so much as it was carrying it around for half a day. If I were fishing alone, of course, I'd only be carrying one rod. But being that Donna is always with me, I carry hers and mine until we get to our distant, secret spot(s). Piece of cake with the T.C. Sling Strap. This way, Donna has her hands free to carry my beer. Only kidding, folks. Only kidding. She has camera equipment to lug around for those special fishy moments and fantastic sunsets.

With regard to you shutterbugs toting around a camera, be it a compact or video type, the T.C. Sling Strap has a two-way attaching system. A split ring attaches to the camera's strap or ring then simply attaches to the sling's snap clip. The system also includes a tripod ring-mount adaptor with a neoprene washer that stays firmly in place so you won't lose it. The adaptor screws securely into the base of your camera, providing another way to safely transport your camera. All four pieces are included with the T.C. Handgun Sling Strap: handgun strap, tripod ring-mount adaptor, neoprene washer, and split ring.

Focusing in on comfort, the T.C. Sling's adjustable nonslip rubber shoulder section is 5½-inches long, by 1½-inches wide in its center, and 1¾-inches wide at its ends. Strapped within its center is a 1¼-inch metal accessory D-ring. A quick-release, plastic [male-female] strap-clip buckle makes removing the sling from across your body a snap. Or simply unsling it off a shoulder.

Some quick arithmetic for an even clearer picture referencing my heavy-duty outfit recently put back into full operation. Shakespeare's 12-foot Ugly Stik BWS 1100 Heavy Action two-piece rod weighs in at a mighty 27.7 ounces. That's 9.4 ounces heavier than my 10-footer. As mentioned, the Stella SW (Salt Water) model STL 8000 weighs in at 23.7 ounces for a grand total of 51.4 ounces. That's 3¼ pounds. It doesn't sound like much. But with a gear bag, waders, and other paraphernalia, it adds up quickly while traversing sand and stone beaches. Plus, on the way back, I have to carry all the fish that Donna's caught as she's suddenly a self-proclaimed prima donna. Why? Because she usually catches the first, the most, and the biggest fish. That's why. Just ask those with whom we fish with—from boat captains to other consummate, salty souls.

As some of you younger folks wield far heftier outfits for the surf, let's weigh in on the Stella SW 20000 model spinning reel [30.2 ounces] combined with the same Shakespeare's 12-foot Ugly Stik BWS 1100 Heavy Action two-piece rod [27.7]. That's 57.9 ounces—right in between 3½ and 3¾ pounds. An outfit loaded with a 2-ounce plus lure puts you well past the 4-pound point.

As a combo weigh-in, seeing as how I tote around two surf outfits to a point as explained a moment ago, the 10-foot Ugly Stik rod weighs in at 18.3 ounces; coupled to the 20.4 ounce Eposeidon ~ Ecooda Hornet model 6000; bundled to my coming-out-of retirement 12-foot rod/reel outfit totaling 51.4 ounces, for a grand total of 90.1 ounces or 5.63 pounds! A walk in the park with the T.C. Sling and accessory strap.

The T.C Sling's the thing, guys and gals. Google T.S. Handgun Sling Strap, and click on the YouTube video. To order, contact Rock Wilson at 231-313-2084. The item is a bargain at $29.95; free shipping. Tell him I said to consider its new use as the Angler's E-Z Carry All.

Robert Banfelder
Award-Winning Thriller/Mystery Author & Outdoors Writer
Senior Editor, Broadwater Books
Co-host, Cablevision TV, Special Interests with Bob & Donna

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