GEAR UP

Trailering: easy & safe

Ever seen the guy move his truck 2 inches, get out and go back to check the position of his hitch in regard to the boat trailer … and repeat? Yeah, well there’s a fix for that. In 2020, there are affordable mechanized trailer movers, about the size of an upright vacuum cleaner powered by an 18v drill. The Trailer Valet XL ($900) is rated to 10,000 pounds, but gets better reviews at a lower weight. Couple the trailer mover with a heavy duty boat trailer lock. The AMPLocks come with a hefty price tag (about $350), but it does secure your prized investment. The locks are made out of cast iron and are molded to fit the specific shape of different trailer couplers. Available online.

Protect your tootsies

Established with a Kickstarter campaign back in 2017, NakeFit is the answer to going shoeless in the Keys. (Mother Nature isn’t always kind to bare feet in the Keys rocky shorelines or on scorching hot sanda.) The thin soles have strong adhesive on one inner side, and a slip-resistant grip on the outer side. The Keys Weekly tried this out during a game of beach tennis (I lost, waaah!), and the soles held up pretty well. Pro-tip: put the soles on before you get to the beach and boat. It takes precision to get them on right the first time for a long-lasting wear. Cost is $15 for three pairs.

Dog-saving life jackets

Almost all dogs are naturally good swimmers, but that doesn’t mean they can swim forever were they to fall off the boat way out to sea. The Vivaglory dog life jacket offers buoyancy and a rescue handle. (The handle makes it easy to get Fido back to safety in a dog overboard situation.) The wide neck and chest cutout is also comfortable for  the dog, allowing it to paddle around unhindered. Humans should take a very accurate chest girth measurement for the right fit. The vests come in bright colors with reflective trim. We like the camo blue. About $33 for medium size.

Hook up the mahi

The Chugger Head mahi lure gets good reviews from dolphin fisherman. They are about six inches long and have “soft plusher” heads. The c0lor combinations are vast  — black-purple, purple-pink, blue-white, red-black, and green-yellow. These come pre-rigged with a 200-pound leader line and number 6 hooks. Reviewers say they work well as stand alone lures and as skirts for ballyhoo. The concave shape of the head makes noise, splashing action and bubble trails. Also called “grinders,” the lures range in cost from $25 to $59 depending on the manufacturer. Available online and at local tackle shops.  

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