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Reliable product stuff worth stocking

As the year nears its end we try to share names and functions of dependable, useful products we have seen and tried. This year, some products first introduced last year have re-proven their merit and are worthwhile afield or on the water.

Filleting fun

A trip to Warther Cutlery in Dover, Ohio, last year resulted in acquiring and using a filleting knife of a quality unmatched among all the “fish knives” gathered and tried over the years; wife Jean obtained a paring knife last year while we were on a tour/trip to a Yankees-Indians baseball game.

This year we got one of the new line of sheathed, 6-inch Warther filleting knives designed specifically for fishing. The long-lasting sharp edge, handle design and thick leather sheath make it easier to store and sharpen this dark-wooded beauty. Warther also now makes a 4.5-inch blade good for fish filleting and deer processing.

Our filleting knives and wife Jean’s kitchen paring knife held a sharp edge through many a deboning session this deer season. Check out the entire line of Warther Cutlery at

Swamp buddy

During recent Florida, Georgia and Louisiana fishing trips we came upon a bug spray called Swamp Buddy Bug Chaser that seemed to work as well or better up north on fly-in fishing trips with a mix of annoying mosquitoes, no-see-ums and black flies. During a late June trip to Quebec, Swamp Buddy became a best friend. Most products deflected some or all biting creatures during times of the day or night, but Swamp Buddy was the most thorough in repelling them. Swamp Buddy proved consistently shield-worthy on two later trips and on several local outings that brought out biting pests.

A bottle of Swamp Buddy has a nice odor but might not be the sweetest stocking-stuffer; however, a few bottles ordered for coming warm seasons could be as good a gift for one’s own as for others headed outdoors next spring and summer.

Aqua viewing

After years of using others’ underwater camera gear, we finally picked up an Aqua-Vu Micro AV model this past spring, too late for the spectacular season of panfishing on ice. But the Micro AV proved positive for viewing everything from Lake Erie perch schools to backyard pond-invading green sunfish.

This pocket-sized model, about the size of a smartphone, comes with a weighted directional fin rig and DVR possibilities. This camera even works well above water surfaces; it can be used to check out tight spaces and might serve as a hand-held backup camera.

Since the introduction of this model last year, many companies have produced small, handy underwater cameras we have yet to try on the water or on ice surface, but this Micro AV will be in a pocket next to a sonar unit when Simcoe, Silver, Chautauqua or other area ice is solid enough to scope with a camera this coming ice season.

To check out this and other models, visit

Ice sonar

Every major sonar maker provides good-quality LED or flasher-type screens to watch what swims under ice surfaces; we picked up on a MarCum ShowDown model a few years ago that has served well on trips over shoreline shallows and the deepest areas where bottom-feeding perch and other game fish and panfish prowl.

This year, MarCum has replaced the basic ShowDown model with its new Troller 2.0 that remains the same pocket-sized unit with easier button-pushing features. As with the Aqua-Vu camera, this new 2.0 will see service as soon as the ice is nice. Check out this and other sonar units at

So many other outdoors gifts would be worthy of holiday giving; the products described above have worked exceptionally well during our outings, but most produced by other companies could be comparable. Quality and function options of outdoors gear improve each year. For many items, user use and familiarity with functions adds to successful outcomes and full enjoyment of new and more improved outdoors gear.

Happy shopping.