STORIES OTHER COOL STUFF By: Keith 'Catfish' Sutton, WorldFishingNetwork.com Patently Absurd: 8 Fishing Inventions You'll Wish You Had Now While some inventions like the flush toilet, personal computer, and aspirin have proved invaluable, the same cannot be said of every innovation, including many products made with anglers in mind Over the years, inventors have given us some really unusual gear to help us catch more fish. (Keith Sutton photo) Inventors have been registering bright ideas with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office since 1790. While some inventions like the flush toilet, personal computer, and aspirin have proved invaluable, the same cannot be said of every innovation, including many products made with anglers in mind. Many inventions made for those who fish could be charitably described as far-fetched, despite the fact they often work as intended. Here, see what I mean. Flying Fish Don’t you just hate the strenuous job of hauling your catch out of the water every time you hook a fish? Well, with the Flying Fish gadget, patented in 1972, you’ll never have to worry about sore muscles again. The inventor created this unusual device so you could sit on your lazy butt all day long. Here’s how it works. A large balloon floats on the water’s surface above your baited hook. When a fish bites, you just press a button on your fishing pole and the balloon instantly fills with lighter-than-air gas and, hopefully, hooks your fish. You will watch in awe as your finny friend is pulled effortlessly out of the water and suspended in mid-air. You just sit back and comfortably reel in your catch – OUT OF THE AIR! We suggest you reel it in fast, though, before a sea gull or osprey swoops in and eats your suspended fish for dinner. Talk about the one that got away. Cricket Gun If you’re one of the millions of anglers who use crickets to catch bluegills and other panfish, you probably experience some aggravation each time you open the top of your cricket cage and all those insects flee for their lives, jumping this way and that. It’s a sad state of affairs, but catching a cricket for your hook requires both hands, and you know what that means – you may have to set your beer down for a moment, causing you to lose concentration. Well, here’s the solution: the Cricket Gun! To use this ingenious device, you just load the gun with a bunch of frisky crickets, and when you need a bug for bait, you simply pull the Cricket Gun’s trigger and snatch the cricket as it flies by. Your bait will be so befuddled by being shot out of the gun that it probably won’t resist when you impale it on your hook. Beware, however: plump crickets tend to make messy gun jams. Paper Fishing Lure Each time an angler loses a fishing lure, the world gets a little trashier and dangling hooks create hazards for other folks on the water. That’s why the Japanese inventor of this product spent time developing a paper lure that disintegrates in water with the passage of time and disappears without leaving refuse. Each paper lure is shaped like a fish, insect or small aquatic forage animal. Manufacturing costs are much less than for conventional lures, and if you get hung up and break off, no worries. In just a few days, the lure will completely dissolve, leaving no trace that it was ever there! Kitchen Sink Fishing Lure It may not look like anything a fish would eat, but the inventor said the crazy-looking Kitchen Sink fishing lure, developed in the 1940s, actually catches fish. The tiny double-faucet sink looks just like the real deal, with a treble hook attached by an O-ring on one end. When you’ve thrown everything possible but the kitchen sink, give it a try. The box in which the lure is packaged says, “The Last Resort.” Gyratory Reel Perhaps the strangest fishing reel ever developed was patented by Henry Crandall of Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1907. Called the Gyratory Reel, and later the Guy-Ra-Tory Reel, it was so named because the spool not only rotated but performed weird gyrations, the purpose of which was to cross-wind the line so it would not tangle. It consisted of a simple spool on a spindle, the spindle projecting through the rod handle and the reel handle attached to the spindle. When the reel was put in free-spool and the line was cast, no part of the reel moved except the spool itself. O. W. Smith, fishing editor of Outdoor Life, reviewed the reel in the October 1916 issue, saying, “I consider it one of the strangest creations ever produced for winding a line or casting. However, it certainly will handle a line in a manner to surprise the doubting Thomases, but a man would need to be possessed of more than a little courage to take the arrangement out in company on a bass-lake.” Today, the rare reels are coveted by collectors of antique fishing tackle and often bring several hundred dollars on internet auction sites. Sears Ted Williams Model TR-VII Fish Call Admit it. At one time or another, you’ve wished someone would invent a fish call you could just drop in the water to attract gamefish to your hook or lure. Well, someone did. Back in the 1970s, you could visit the sporting goods section of your local Sears store, and for a mere $10.50, purchase the Ted Williams Model TR-VII Fish Call tested by none other than the Jacques Cousteau Group Company in Marseilles, France. In its advertising, Sears said this “precision transistorized fish call transmits sonic fish-attracting sound waves in the 10 to 100 CPS range. It has a 17-foot cord to lower into the water, and a clip-on battery compartment for mobility. Fish are also attracted by light and non-toxic attractor pellets that contain ground sorghum, soybean meal, bone meal, alfalfa meal, wheat middlings, hominy, potassium iodide, salt and rice bran.” The pellets, inserted inside a cap on the unit’s buoy, attracted baitfish to the area, in addition to the sportfish that would be attracted by the fish call’s lights and electronic pulsations. Batteries and a “Secrets of Successful Fishing” booklet were included. Did it work? We have no idea as we’ve never heard testimony from anyone who used one. But chances are somebody, somewhere, figured they might have an advantage over other anglers by using this unique piece of electronics. For just a sawbuck and change, we’d try it. Wouldn’t you? Fish-N-Chum Want to keep your hands free to eat, tie lures or do other tasks while fishing from a dock or shore? Then the Fish-N-Chum is the rod holder for you. Just position the curved base frame against the outer surface of your lower leg and use the attached straps to secure it to your limb. If you have two Fish-N-Chums, you can attach another one to your other leg for double the action. Just cast your bait, slide your rod(s) in the holders and wait for a bite. The manufacturer says the rod holder “provides an immediate feel of any activity surrounding a bait or lure. This causes an instant reflex reaction, and through various movements of the leg, a hook can be set.” Yep, you set the hook with your leg. You want one now, right? Lucky you, they’re still available. Go to www.fish-n-chum.com. Pack-Rifle It’s a rifle. No, it’s a rod and reel. No, it’s both! It’s the Pack-Rifle, the world’s lightest, fastest take-down rifle that can be converted for fishing. We’re betting some of you folks will buy one of these as soon as you read about it. If you like to hunt and fish on backcountry excursions, what could be better than a piece of equipment that doubles as a rifle and fishing pole. This cleverly designed piece of recreational gear made by Mountain View Machine & Welding is a bolt-action .22-caliber rifle weighing less than a pound. Taken down, it measures just 17 inches long, allowing you to fit it into a backpack with plenty of space to spare. Assembly and disassembly take just a few seconds each. When you’re finished hunting, you can convert the gun into a fishing pole by attaching the reel to the pistol grip, plugging the telescopic pole into the stock and hooking up the cables. Now you’ve got yourself a perfectly functional fishing combo for catching dinner in case your hunting proved unproductive. If you like your guns with accessories, you can purchase laser mounts and scope mounts sized for the Pack-Rifle, as well, so you can look all badass while you’re hunting or fishing. The Pack-Rifle is available now by visiting packrifle.com.