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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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December 02, 2016

HOLIDAY HAPPINESS ~ Great Gift Ideas for Anglers & Bookworms ~ Part 2

by Bob Banfelder


We'll continue from yesterday with other great gift ideas for the upcoming holidays, one of which is a KastKing® 24-Rod Holder. It is most definitely a winner. As a matter of fact, for 2015, KastKing's fishing tackle management system won a "Best of Show Award" at ICAST (International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades) for its award-winning design. I wanted one for Christmas. Surprisingly, Christmas came early for me this year, so I decided to review the item in time for you to consider it as a gift to yourself or a special someone. That person will positively thank you profusely, and here are several reasons why:

Easily and amazingly, you can put KastKings's-24 sturdy, durable, totally portable fishing rod stand together in just minutes without using any tools! The rack is constructed of lightweight, rust-resistant, high quality aluminum (4.8 lbs.), forming a frame that can accommodate 24 rods and reels in the full upright position. The unit measures 28.5 in. high x 29 in. wide x 13 in. deep, which means it can be placed virtually anywhere: den, bedroom, basement, garage, or office. Whether you own several rods or an entire collection, you'll be proud to display your angling arsenal in this handsome framework. Cushioned holders, both top and bottom, protect and secure rods and reels firmly in place.

KastKing's 24-Rod Rack

You may recall an article I wrote for Nor'east Saltwater on December 1, 2014, having given rave reviews regarding the Eposeidon Ecooda Hornet 6000 spinning reel. The piece is titled SHIMANO'S FLAGSHIP STELLA SW SPINNING REELS VERSUS EPOSEIDON'S ECOODA HORNET FOR SURF FISHING: You may also recollect an earlier piece I wrote on July 1, 2014 titled Eposeidon ~ Professional Fishing Tackle ~ Affordable Pricing, in which I reviewed the Ecooda ERS 3000 Spinning Reel: The Ecooda ERS 3000 (purple/silver spool) is shown seated in the 5th forward slot from the right of KastKing's 24-Rod Rack. Both of these spinning reels are winners that you may also want to consider as holiday gifts.

Continuing to appreciate what this unit will actually accommodate, let's follow along at the rear of the rack, moving from left to right. Situated directly in back of KastKing's Ecooda Hornet 6000 spinning reel is an even larger Stella 8000 Saltwater Series Shimano spinning reel. For the purpose of demonstration, I'll reverse their positions so as to give you a somewhat better side view.

Left: KastKing's Ecooda Hornet 6000 spinning reel.
Right: Stella 8000 Saltwater Series Shimano spinning reel

Next comes a large size, round-style bait casting reel and rod (which blocks the next slot); two medium-large, round-style bait casting reels/rods; a single rod (less reel); a pair of medium-sized round-style bait casting reels and rods, a fifth larger round-style bait casting reel and rod, a pair of smaller round-style bait casting reels/rods, two low-profile bait casting reels/rods, and lastly, filling the 24th slot, a large arbor design Pflueger fly reel with a 10-weight, 9-ft. Temple Fork Outfitters ~ Lefty Kreh Signature Series rod.

Let's tally this angling arsenal: 13 spinning reels and rods in six different sizes; 8 bait casting reels and rods in four different sizes and two styles (round and low-profile), 1 rod (less reel); 1 large arbor fly reel and rod. That's twenty-three of the 24 slots utilized. You can finesse and fit rods and reels by alternating and/or facing some of them toward the center of the frame as seen in the above photo. Also, you can raise and lower the top and bottom frame to adjust butt or shaft of rod. All my rod and reel setups in the KastKing holder have a specific lure attached to them, ready to go into action at a moment's notice. When accommodating very large bait casting and trolling rods and reels, some slots, of course, will be blocked. Even though the KastKing rod rack will hold many of them, I store these reels and rods elsewhere.

Although KastKing has a smaller rack for holding 12 rods and reels, I suggest that you purchase the larger, stronger, upgraded unit. If you enjoy fishing, you'll be surprised at how quickly you can amass an angling arsenal. Whatever size rod holder you choose, the attractive packaging adds to the thought of an ideal gift for the holidays. In short, the all-new upgraded aluminum KastKing 24-Rod Rack is the best rod/reel holder on the market. The company's slogan is that KastKing Keeps Fishing Fun—by keeping it affordable. The KastKing rod rack is available online through Amazon, Cabela's, and Wal-Mart.



Always a great gift idea for the holiday season is a good book, especially a book for those who tend to suffer from what the onslaught of winter can heap upon us—cabin fever! Not just any book, but perhaps a novel or novels that are truly page-turners; novels that entertain as well as educate; novels that are absolutely unique in that they surprise and may even astound, novels that surely satisfy.

My award-winning mystery/crime-thriller novels do exactly that. I am disappointed reading novels that follow a formula. I am disappointed reading such novels that are trite. My novels are fresh—exceptionally unique—highly entertaining, and educational. This is accomplished through extensive research. I am frustrated with novels whose characters are flat (two-dimensional). My main characters are unforgettable. Also, I am disgusted with novels' endings that do not deliver satisfaction. My endings will surprise and may even astound you.

Having taught creative writing on a college level for a good many years, you will be assured of a well-written work. As an outdoorsman, I often incorporate my knowledge of the great outdoors into my writing. I have written nine (9) novels to date: three novels comprised of a thriller-killer trilogy; four novels framing the award-winning Justin Barnes serial-killer series (each novel can stand by itself or may be read in order for greater appreciation); a mystery-thriller novel inspired by a true serial-killer trial here on Long Island, of which I attended every day for a fifteen-month period; and a biographical novel of a murderess with whom I corresponded for years as she served out her prison sentence.

Along the lines of our outdoor interests, I have also written two nonfiction books—one on fishing (endorsed by Lefty Kreh and Angelo Peluso), and the other on hunting. But rather than hear me crow on about my eleven works to date, please log on to Amazon and read the reviews.

A Special Holiday Offer: Between now and New Year's Eve, if you order any three or more books directly from me, they'll be personalized, autographed, discounted 15%, and will include tax. Shipping charges apply. E-mail me at

A Bob Banfelder Book Collection

Clockwise. Robert's mystery-thriller trilogy: Dicky, Richard, and I ~ The Signing ~ The Triumvirate

Continued Clockwise. Robert's award-winning Justin Barnes four book series: The Author ~ The Teacher ~ Knots ~ The Good Samaritans

Top Center, left to right. Trace Evidence ~ Battered

Bottom, left to right. The Fishing Smart Anywhere Handbook For Salt Water & Fresh Water

The North American Small & Big Game Hunting Smart Handbook – Bonus Feature: Hunting Africa's & Australia's Most Dangerous Game

A Banfelder book is a good book—period.

Award-Winning Crime-Thriller Novelist & Outdoors Writer
Member: Outdoors Writers Association of America
New York State Outdoor Writers Association
Long Island Outdoor Communicators Network
Cablevision TV Host Special Interests with Robert Banfelder & Donna Derasmo
Bi-monthly contributor to Nor'east Saltwater ~ presented on the 1st & 2nd of every month.

December 01, 2016

HOLIDAY HAPPINESS ~ Great Gift Ideas for Boaters & Anglers ~ Part 1

by Bob Banfelder

Whether one celebrates Hanukkah or Christmas, both festivals (technically) fall hours apart from each other this year—December 24th, December 25th respectively—that is, only a few days after the first day of winter. Winter! December 21st. By then your boat should be winterized, shrink wrapped, or stored in a protective shelter. By now, surf casters, fly fishermen, and anglers of all sorts should be taking care of his or her fishing equipment; namely, reels, rods, lures, et cetera. By now—December 1st—you should certainly be thinking about buying presents. But for whom? But for you, of course! Presents that you are unlikely to find under the Christmas tree or Hanukkah bush . . . unless, of course, you dropped many hints and/or presumptuously presented a wish-list similar to that of a wedding gift registry. Ah, reviewing the 2016 calendar, I also noted that Kwanzaa falls on December 26th, lest I be accused of failing to be politically correct. The Kwanzaa celebrations honor the African heritage in African-American cultures.


One of several handy gift suggestions comes from Happy Cove (, a distributor of innovative, creative products for your boat. The wizard behind the curtain is Glen Sherman. A four-season, veteran boater who lives aboard a 43.4 foot Endeavour catamaran with his wife, Diane. The vessel is named Debt Free. When I first saw the man, I called out to him from our dock as he was pulling his brand-new craft into the marina next to us. "Ahoy, there! Are you truly debt free?" He smiled amicably and said, "Not after just purchasing this boat." Glen is a mild-mannered, highly intelligent individual. The man's love of boating is reflected in his product line.

Let's take a look at a must-have item that belongs on every boat. It is the SOS C-1001 SIRIUS NIGHT VISUAL DISTRESS SIGNAL. By federal law, boats over 16 feet are required to carry three currently-dated, hand-held, approved flares for both day and night distress signaling, inshore and offshore. What is interesting about the SIRIUS NIGHT VISUAL DISTRESS SIGNAL is that it's Coast Guard Compliant, making flares obsolete when coupled with a 3 x 3-foot orange distress flag, included in the SOS C-1001 package. The LED (Light Emitting Diode) VDS (Visual Distress Signal) runs off three alkaline C-cell batteries—not included.

How many times have you questioned whether or not your flares were still within the legitimately-dated time frame? Surely, not after you requested a voluntary dockside Auxiliary Coast Guard vessel safety check.Hopefully, not during an on-the-water surprise appearance by the Coast Guard. For failure to carry flares aboard your boat, or having expired flares, could result in a $1,000 fine. Forty-two (42) months from the flares' date of manufacture to expiration date is a long time. Surely, I'm sill within that time period, you may be thinking. When's the last time you even checked?

Keep in mind, too, that a 4-pack of Orion Locate handheld signal flares state a burn-time rate of three (3) minutes per flare as compared to a steady six-plus hours with the SOS C-1001 SIRIUS NIGHT VISUAL DISTRESS SIGNAL. Also, an Orion Locate rated handheld marine flare has a visible rating of 700 candela; that is, 700 feet as compared to SIRIUS' NIGHT VISUAL SIGNAL of 10 miles. In all candor, after researching visible shore distances, coastal distances, day/night illumination, and intensity, the considerations are varied—altitude being a key factor. Therefore, in terms of safety sense, it would be wise to carry both flares and the SOS C-1001 SIRIUS NIGHT VISUAL DISTRESS SIGNAL. If you are boarded by the Coast Guard, you will certainly be compliant, night or day, with the NIGHT VISUAL DISTRESS SIGNAL and accompanying orange flag. If you suddenly discover that the ancillary flares are expired, replace them immediately. Just don't broadcast your oversight.

A list of features and benefits of the SOS C-1001 SIRIUS NIGHT VISUAL DISTRESS SIGNAL is impressive. Unlike handheld signal flares, your gift to you is a one-time purchase. It is family-safe because it is a non-pyrotechnic electronic unit, so even your children can operate it in an emergency situation. It is easy to operate, displaying a simple on/off switch. Again, the signal lasts six-plus hours. The unit is buoyant because it has built-in flotation.

On a supposed negative side, which I really don't see as a downside, the SOS C-1001 SIRIUS NIGHT VISUAL DISTRESS SIGNAL is more expensive than initially purchasing flares. However, in the long run, it is less expensive. Flares may be more visible during daytime; that is why I suggest carrying both flares and the night distress signal light. Also, alkaline batteries can leak as can the batteries in your flashlight, handheld radio, and other such items. Removing batteries in the off-season then checking them periodically through the boating season will resolve this potential problem.

Whether your craft is sixteen-plus feet or far less, be smart and give yourself the gift of peace of mind.


As shown, the SOS C-1001 SIRIUS NIGHT VISUAL DISTRESS SIGNAL light also comes with an orange distress (3' x 3') signal flag


Many anglers know the importance of selecting fine terminal tackle. For example: hooks, weights, split rings, swivels, lures, et cetera. Serious, knowledgeable anglers know the importance of power clips; specifically, Tactical Anglers Power Clips. When changing lures, especially those long- and short-lipped crankbaits (aka square-bill hardbaits), they often prove troublesome. When? Answer: When it is dark, wet, and/or cold. Why troublesome? Answer: because you are trying to do one of two things: you are either cutting the line and retying it to the metal eye fixed up against the nose of the lure, or you are trying to slip a barrel swivel affixed to the end of your line onto a split ring that is attached to the metal eye up against the nose of the lure. The first procedure is time-consuming. The second procedure proves awkward, particularly when you're in a hurry. You just don't have the dexterity required on a rocking boat.

Tactical Anglers Power Clips allow you to change these types of lures easily and quickly—I'm talking practically a nanosecond, especially when connecting a barrel swivel to a power clip in lieu of a split ring. With smaller, long-lipped hardbaits, tight quarters make it all but impossible to attach a barrel swivel to a split ring. Even after doing so, in the comfort of your home, it is still cumbersome to later try and affix a barrel swivel to the split ring when changing lures on a bobbin boat (the exception maybe being when the eye is positioned forward of the lure's face, fastened to its bill). Keep in mind that today's quality hooks are extremely sharp. Ouch! What to do to ensure dexterity?

What I've done most recently is to simply remove all split rings from my long-and short-lipped crankbaits, replacing them with the appropriate size Tactical Anglers Power Clip. Attached to the end of my fluorocarbon leader is a quality barrel swivel to which I slide the other end onto the arm of the Power Clip, changing lures in a heartbeat because, now, you have something to easily grip between thumb and forefinger—instead of being all thumbs. I could literally change lures blindfolded. It is that easy. Also, there is no chance of the clip opening up like that of a snap-type swivel, which has surely happened to several of us in years gone by.

Backing up to split rings for a moment, I have seen anglers tie their leader/line directly to the split ring attached to the metal eye in the nose of the lure. A thin line can most magically work its way along the attenuated section of the split ring; that is, in between the ends of the double coil where it forms a narrow single-coil space. Say good-bye to that lure. A barrel swivel affixed to a Tactical Anglers Power Clip (shown below) is not going anywhere.

Barrel swivel & 50 lb. test-strength Tactical Anglers Power Clip affixed to eye of long-lipped crankbait

Tactical Anglers Power Clips are offered in four test-strength sizes of 50 lbs., 75 lbs., 125 lbs., and 175 lbs., available in small packages or bulk-packed. If you are an avid angler, I strongly suggest that you buy them in bulk because you are likely to use them for a number of applications, considering the fact that they will make changing lures facile instead of frustrating. Tactical Anglers Power Clips are bulk-packaged in quantities of 25 clips referencing 175 lbs., 125 lbs., and 75 lbs. test-strength sizes; 30 clips re the 50 lbs. test-strength size.

Tactical Anglers Power Clips are made from thick stainless steel wire, beefier than the standard round-ended clips with which you may be familiar. Also, these Power Clips are designed to be relatively pointed at both ends rather than rounded, and for two good reasons. They keep knots properly seated; swivels, better positioned. To paraphrase Alberto Knie, CEO of Tactical Anglers: ". . . Most pelagic (ocean) fish have a tendency to shift their head [when fighting], but with the pointed clip design, it allows for the line to follow; hence, minimizing slippage," which is more likely to occur with the round-ended design. The benefit of the semi-pointed clip is that maximum direct contact is maintained.

Come February, I'll be covering Tactical Anglers Power Clips in further detail as they apply to your favorite spoons. In the meantime, after immediately gifting yourself these indispensable Power Clips in time for the holiday, surprise a fishing-fanatic friend—even a novice—a gift he or she will greatly appreciate. Too, as a stocking stuffer, be reminded of that age-old-adage: "Good things come in small packages."

Stocking Stuffers

Tomorrow, December 2nd, we'll continue with some great gift ideas for the upcoming holidays.

Stay tuned.

Bob Banfelder

Crime-Thriller Novelist & Outdoors Writer
Member: Outdoors Writers Association of America
New York State Outdoor Writers Association
Long Island Outdoor Communicators Network
Cablevision TV Host Special Interests with Robert Banfelder & Donna Derasmo
Bi-monthly contributor to Nor'east Saltwater ~ presented on the 1st & 2nd of every month.

Available on Amazon in paperback and e-book formats

Available on Amazon in paperback and e-book formats

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