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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 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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