- in Florida, I don't have to deal with real cold water, but find cheap hiking-type boots (few if any natural materials, $20 at Wal-Mart) far better than the rubber "fisherman's boots" I was using ... much more secure on the foot (important in muck!), excellent lateral support, bottom is essentially cut-proof. If I get 2 or 3 seasons out of them I'll be very happy.'
- 48 qt igloo-type coolers, preferably with wheels. I think a ½ full conventional cooler is the best way to transport fish and/or protect fish on all-day expeditions. In my experience, it has enough surface area that aeration is rarely needed.
- small dictation or digital voice recorder - I find I'll make a lot more timely "voice notes" (esp. when packing up or driving away) than I'll take the time to write down on paper in the field. Be nice if it was waterproof, though, the only ones I've seen have been designed for an office environment (a highly artificial no-splashing zone). Also handy for recording directions when someone else is leading a convoy to a place you've never been before. (Of course, using this technology effectively means you have to be willing to transfer the recordings to some other more useful medium at a later date ... that can be a problem.)
- digital camera for recording places, people, fish, etc. Without pictures to jog my memory, I'm afraid that in five years I may have no recollection whatsover of some of the spots I collected.
- DeLorme Gazetteer (?sp) - large book of maps, available for many states - I buy two, one to keep nice at home for planning and dreaming, the other is the field warrior that gets trashed
- Peterson's field guide to fishes
- field guide to aquatic plants (is there a good one?)
- a cast net will sometimes give the solo collector opportunity to snag fish he/she couldn't get using just a dipnet.
re a seine net, I found that my cheap one didn't have enough weights on the bottom edge to really keep it down. To solve this problem, months ago I bought a bunch of std. fishing lead weight, which I intended to attach to the seine at 4" intervals. The weights are still in the small brown paper bag. A few days ago I bought a length of medium weight chain from the home improvement store, and attached it to the seine with a number of cable ties, which took all of 90 seconds. (Did you know that God carries a few cable ties around in his toga pocket, just in case?)
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