March Madness: Gear to Kick off the Fishing Season

Old meets new with this spring’s hottest tackle and other products.
Angler fighting a fish offshore
Calm seas and clear skies can’t come soon enough for those itching to put to work the newest fishing gear. Denes Szakacs

Spring arrives with new gear and revamped favorites for the fishing season ahead. To meet the needs of ever-changing tactics, new products featuring the latest tech keep up with ambitious anglers pushing the envelope of the sport. At the same time, classic gear and iconic designs have been reimagined with modern style. We all know that one angler waiting impatiently for the next generation of a favorite piece of gear! As the weather warms and the days get longer, anglers have plenty to look forward to with this season’s latest gear. Products are listed in alphabetical order.

  • Bajio Rigolet Sunglasses – Shop now
  • Costa Del Mar Grand Catalina Sunglasses-Shop
  • Daiwa 24 Blackline Surf Rods
  • ePropulsion eLite Electric Outboard Motor
  • Fenwick Elite Inshore Rods
  • Fish Monkey Stubby Gloves
  • HUK ICON Performance Shirt
  • Orvis Helios Fly Rod – Shop now
  • Penn Slammer IV Spinning Reel
  • Shimano Ocea Jigger 2500 LD Reel
  • SITKA Gear Radiant Hoody

Bajio Rigolet Sunglasses

Bajio Rigolet Sunglasses
Bajio Rigolet Sunglasses Courtesy Bajio

Full-wrap sunglasses don’t have to leave a raccoon-eyes sunburn on your face. Bajio’s Rigolet sunglasses provide the same glare-blocking coverage in a slimmer design for small faces, including men and women. Available in polycarbonate or glass, Bajio’s patent pending lenses cut out bad light and enhance good light for the best balance of protection and definition. The environmentally friendly bio-resin frames have glare-blocking side panels that are vented to release heat and moisture. Best of all, the Rigolet is available in eight lens colors to match every possible fishing condition from open-ocean bright sun to backwater cloudy skies. Prices start at $209

Costa Del Mar Grand Catalina Sunglasses 

Costa Grand Catalina sunglasses
Costa Grand Catalina sunglasses Courtesy Costa

Forty years ago, Costa Del Mar released the Grand Catalina sunglasses with their industry changing color enhancing polarized lenses and iconic glacier-glasses side-shields straight out of the ‘80s. This year, Costa dropped a Grand Catalina reboot updated for the 21st century. The new model combines Costa’s famous color-balanced glass lenses with classic aviator frames featuring modern sweat channels, air vents and adjustable nose pad. While the Grand Catalina’s removable side-shields are a throwback to the 1980s, the bio-resin frame and 100% recyclable materials are designed for the future. Prices start at $204

Daiwa 24 Blackline Surf Rods

Daiwa 24 Blackline Surf Rods
Daiwa 24 Blackline Surf rods Courtesy Daiwa

Epic New England striped bass blitzes inspired the new 24 Blackline Surf rods from Daiwa. Seven spinning rod models cover lengths from nine to 11 feet with power to throw up to 6 ounces, a perfect formula for slinging lures from shore. During those long days or nights with a thousand casts, Blackline’s super light and sensitive carbon-fiber construction pays off. Daiwa gave the rod their best carbon-fiber reel seat to eliminate sharp edges and increase sensitivity. Casting a big plug with a long fishing rod, and then besting a possible 50-pound striper in the surf, puts incredible pressure on the rod blank. The Blackline uses a special cross weave carbon fiber matrix and nano particles in the resin for a solid backbone that won’t twist under pressure. Prices start at $399.99

ePropulsion eLite Electric Outboard Motor

ePropulsion eLite Electric Outboard Motor
ePropulsion eLite Electric Outboard Motor Courtesy ePropulsion

Epropulsion stormed onto the scene with its new eLite electric motor winning “Best New Electric Motor” at the Miami International Boat Show. The eLite electric outboard includes motor, battery and throttle control in one unit and weighs less than 15 pounds. The tiller folds to provide a convenient carry handle, and a unique mounting bracket connects the eLite to a flat transom in seconds. Designed to power a small tender or dingy, the eLite is also a perfect fit for anglers looking to add a little kick to their fishing kayak. Despite its small size, the eLite packs 500 watts of power to propel a small boat four mph for about 90 minutes. Prices start at $999

Fenwick Elite Inshore Rods

Fenwick Elite Inshore rods
Fenwick Elite Inshore rods Courtesy Fenwick

You can’t just got through the motions and call yourself elite. That’s the attitude Fenwick took when creating the new Elite series fishing rods. To wear the name Elite, Fenwick outfitted its nine new inshore rods with features for pro-level anglers to fish all day. The difference is sensitivity and comfort. The Elite series rods use ergonomic grips and a reel seat that integrate seamlessly for a softer feel and more control. To improve sensitivity, the reel seat exposes the rod blank so an angler feels the lightest bite. For casting distance and fighting power, the Elite series uses line guides with titanium frames and super-thin zirconium rings. The end product is a rod an angler can use to win an inshore tournament or an everyday diehard busts out to fish harder and longer. Prices start at 249.95

Fish Monkey Stubby Gloves

Fish Monkey Stubby gloves
Fish Monkey Stubby fishing gloves Courtesy Fish Monkey

Everyone loves utility gloves with a knit back and silicone palm — they come in handy for everything from working on the boat to cleaning fish. Fish Monkey takes the concept to a performance fishing glove, combining the non-slip grip of silicone with the UP 50+ protection of a breathable and stretchy fabric. The half-finger gloves are beefed up with reinforced seams and trim to last years on the water. Wear the Stubby gloves for protection from the sun and salt while providing reliable grip on slippery surfaces. Prices start at $28.95

HUK ICON Performance Shirt

HUK Icon shirt
HUK ICON fishing shirt Courtesy HUK

Back when performance fishing shirts were a new thing, Huk (pronounced “hook”) stormed onto the scene with the lightweight and durable ICON. To celebrate a decade of technological advancement in performance fabrics, Huk has updated the legendary fishing shirt with the new ICON. Featuring the same aggressive look and comfortable fit, the ICON includes modern updates like odor-resistant, breathability, and cooling fabric with 50+ UPF sun protection. Available in a short sleeve, long sleeve and hoodie, the ICON is designed with super-flexible raglan sleeves and a moisture-wicking mesh back panel. The new design keeps sweat and spray from soaking your shirt. Prices start at $45

Orvis Helios Fly Rod

Fishing with Orvis Helios fly rod
Orvis Helios fly rod Courtesy Orvis

When the wind is blowing sideways and a grey ghost appears just below the water’s surface, an angler needs laser accuracy to land a fly in range. It is not an easy task. Orvis’ new Helios F and D models take the job seriously. Through meticulous, science-based development and rigorous pro-staff testing, Orvis produced a rod with significantly reduced vibration and increased hoop strength to be more accurate (4X more) than their previous models. The Helios rods are available in sizes from tiny brook trout to 14-weights for blue marlin. Fly anglers should feel confident when the heat is on to make the cast. Prices start at $1,098

Penn Slammer IV Spinning Reel

Penn Slammer IV Spinning Reel
Penn Slammer IV spinning reel Courtesy PENN

The Penn Slammer spinning reels earned a reputation as a workhorse with reliable performance at a reasonable price. The new Slammer IV continues to build on the reputation with Penn’s bullet-proof sealed full-metal body, CNC precision cut gears and corrosion-resistant stainless bearings. The Slammer IV is available in 12 models with sizes from 2500 to 10500 to target everything from speckled trout to bluefin tuna. When a speckled trout thumps a twitch bait, the reel needs to get cranking in an instant. The 2500 models employ a carbon fiber drag for super smooth start up to maintain even pressure with soft-mouth fish. To beat bigger fish, the larger reels are available with a sealed drag and beefy EVA handle. At the top end of the product line, models above 6500 have a manual bail to provide better line control when casting large lures. Prices start at $259.95

Shimano Ocea Jigger 2500 LD Reel

Shimano OCEA Jigger LD
Shimano Ocea Jigger 2500 LD Reel Courtesy Shimano

To meet the extreme demands of slow-pitch jigging in deep water, Shimano’s Ocea Jigger 2500 LD packs both power and finesse. Boasting 44 pounds of jaw breaking drag in a palm-sized reel, the Jigger is tuned with a micro adjustable lever to dial in the perfect balance of give and take. The drag is designed to reduce side pressure on the plates for 30-percent smoother pick-up even under heavy pressure and high heat. Working a jig hundreds of feet below the boat is strenuous, and then hooking a tuna with a light rod and compact reel will put you into overtime, so the Ocea Jigger doesn’t forget about comfort. The compact reel and oversized handle is easy on the hands to ensure the fish gives up before the angler. Prices start at $599.99

Simrad NSX ULTRAWIDE Multi-Function Display

Simrad NSX Ultrawide
Simrad NSX Ultrawide multi-function display Courtesy Simrad

Remember switching from a standard television to a wide-screen TV? Now, imagine a wide-screen television for your marine electronics. Simrad’s new NSX ULTRAWIDE is the first multi-function display with a screen 63-percent wider than standard multi-function displays. The wider screen allows the owner to replace two MFDs to one screen and still display plenty of information. Configure the new display to show fishfinder, radar, digital dashboard and navigation charts in one place. To maintain high-resolution images across a wider field of view, Simrad optimized their premium charts. In addition to the technical and interface advantages, the wide-screen display looks pretty darn cool. Prices start at $2,749 (12-inch) and $3,399 (15-inch)

SITKA Gear Radiant Hoody

Sitka Radiant Hoody
Sitka Radiant Hoody Courtesy Sitka

On the bow of a bay boat under a cloudless sky, the only shade comes from a sun shirt with a hood. But the system won’t work if the wind constantly blows down your hood. SITKA Gear’s Radiant Hoody has three-panel hood construction to fit over a ball cap with a lightweight string to cinch the hood in place. No matter how hard the wind blows, the spray flies and the boat pounds, the hoody stays in place. The shirt’s soft, breathable and odor resistant fabric feels soft and light as a cotton t-shirt. Prices start at $79