I first saw the Work Sharp Combo Knife Sharpeners in Alaska, where our camp hands would sharpen our fillet knives to razor perfection each day…and realized I had to have one. These things are cool and will put a beautiful edge on just about anything!
Both fish and wives have highly-evolved sniffers and to avoid repelling both, you need clean hands. But I have tried everything from crazy home remedies to scraping all my skin off with volcanic rock. I’ve used those funny silver bars and given just about every soap known to man a shot. All, I’m sad to report, have produced lackluster results.
I recently came across Odor-Off Hand Soap from Blue Pacific that promised to eliminate odors that you normally can’t shake: Stuff like all sorts of bait and baitfish, fish blood, slime, game animal blood and oil, and all even garlic and other smelly foods. The claim sounded pretty lofty, but if they could deliver, I’d be a fan for life.
The Science of Smell
What intrigued me was Blue Pacific’s claim that Odor-Off doesn’t mask the scent on your hands like so many other soaps do. Instead, it scientifically removes it. The soap’s key ingredient is activated carbon. It’s the same stuff that’s been used for years to purify water and clear up odor. The lipids and proteins that cause the stink on your hands chemically bond to the activated carbon and remove them. So, in theory, you have completely clean hands…not the flowery porporri with not-so-subtle sardine undertones smell you get with traditional soaps.
It all sounded like a great concept, but how would Odor-Off stand up to a real-world test? I aimed to find out…
After lubing up with sunscreen, I washed with Odor-Off. You start by dropping a shot of it in your hands. You can go with wet hands…or dry if you want a super concentrated cleaning session. You can see the activated carbon beads…
After a quick rinse, my hands were completely free of sunscreen scent. Pretty cool, but what about after filleting sardines, messing with oil pack tuna and various scents? Amazingly, I came away completely stink free! That part is impressive, especially when dealing with sardines on a warm day. That’s the one I really have a tough time getting off my hands and the stuff worked!
Then, there was the whole fueling up fiasco (long story). But basically, I had to use one of those stupid “no spill”jerry jugs they make us buy in California. You know, the kind that always spill? Yea, super bad design but I digress…Anyway, to my horror I did’t have any rubber gloves for the gas pouring and, of course, ended up with fuel all over my hands. The problem was, we weren’t done fishing and I was going to have to re-wrap my plugs a few more times. With gas-stained hands, you might as well forget about getting bit. I was blown away, however that the soap got that smell of my hands. I was so stoked I even jammed my fingers into the face of a client and had him sniff. Awkward, Party of 2! But he agreed there was no hint of gas smell.
That night I got home and ran my hands by the Chief Fish Stink Detecter…my bride…and holy mackerel! I passed with flying colors. No small feat there, folks!
So, then a couple nights ago the dog gets sprayed by a skunk. We gave him a three solid washings in a baking soda and hydrogen peroxide solution that the pet websites recommend. Anyway, he was smelling good but the next morning I noticed his face area was still skunky. Of course, we’d been a little less aggressive in washing that area with the peroxide mixture, so I decided to test Odor-Off against the worst of the worst….
I can hardly believe it, but no more Mr. Skunky Face! That was the thing that sealed the deal for me. If Odor-Off can go up against skunk, I’m in! I have since also tested after cutting raw onions and it was as advertised again. The stuff is pretty amazing!
In addition to getting you smelling human again after fishing, I think Odor-Off is an excellent tool for when you are out on the water as well. I now use it to rid my hands of any fish repelling scent before I handle my lures. And then, at the end of the day, I give my plugs a bath in the stuff to make sure they are fresh and scent-free for the next outing.
Finally…I’ve found something that gets rid of all the fishing odors! This is a pretty killer product and I’m very impressed. It’s a tad pricy at around $10 for a 6-ounce bottle but a little goes a long way I have found. Plus, it’s a huge time saver…one wash and you are done. You can go to the website (link above) or buy it here: Odor-Off Odor Removing Hand Soap.
Man do I hate coolers! Unless you want to spring for one of the fancy ones like a Yeti and drop several hundred bucks in the process, you’re stuck with the standard models. You know – the ones that have cheesy hinges and latches that always fail. Always!
I’ve bought a zillion coolers over the years and have never had one last more than a season. Granted, I use the things daily and put them through more abuse the most, but still, it would be nice to get a little more service out of one.
The other aspect of ice chests that I’m not a big fan of is the space they take up – especially on a boat. Considering the fact that you need to keep fish on ice about 10 months a year around here, coolers are essential for keeping your catch fresh. Hanging a fish on a stringer or putting it in a boat’s fish box ensures that the taste and quality will be greatly comprised. So a cooler is a must…but what do you do when space is at a premium and a normal cooler is destined to eventually disintegrate anyway?
Get a fish bag, that’s what!
I switched about four years ago from a standard hard cooler to soft fish or “kill” bag and will never go back.
A bunch of companies make fish bags in sizes that will suite everything from kokanee to tuna and I’ve been quite happy with the one I purchased from Reliable Fishing Products. Kill bags are insulated and hold ice as well or better than regular chests, they don’t have latches and handles to break and save a ton of space.
My 20 x 48-inch bag holds ice and 8 Chinook salmon and fits inside my boat’s fish box, so it’s completely out of the way. It’s also a big space saver in my drift boat. One 7-pound bag of ice keeps fish cold even when it’s 100 degrees outside. It’s also extremely easy to clean and can be rolled up for easy stowage – try that with a 120-quart hard sided cooler!
When looking at fish bags, there are a few things to consider before you buy one. First, inquire about the insulation. You want one with quality “guts” so your fish stay cool. Next, check out and try the zipper. It needs to be strong, smooth and reliable. Also check out the stitching and reinforcements on the carrying handles (which are kinda like the strap on a purse). These need to be burly, as they will shoulder most of the weight when lifting fish in and out of the boat, truck, etc.
I also really like a bag that has a drain plug so you can easily let out any water and blood that accumulates in the bag. My first bag didn’t have one, and it was kind of a pain to have to lift the bag up on its edge throughout the day to drain excess water out though the zipper on the top.
Another thing to check out is the shape of the bag. Some are more flat and “envelope” shaped, while others have more of a “purse” shape to them in that they are wider on the bottom than at the top. I’ve owned both and prefer the Reliable I have now because of the 12-inch wide bottom, which gives me more carrying capacity for fish.
As I noted earlier, fish bags are super easy to clean. After each trip, I rinse mine out with some dish soap and water and, every week or so, I’ll spray it will a little bleach. Keeping it clean is essential so it doesn’t get a funky smell going – plus by keeping it clean I can also use my bag for “non fishing” situations as well.
Fish bags are great for Costco runs, backyard barbecues and big game hunting trips.
Trust me, once you try a kill bag, you’ll gladly say goodbye to your old cooler!
The weakest link between you and a big fish has always been your knot. Well,there’s a new way of connecting terminal gear to line that gives you total knot strength and it looks looks pretty cool! Check out the Lynx Precision System:
Carbon-fiber fish bonkers from Lamiglas. Pretty cool!