A case can easily be made for the lowly zip-tie as being the unsung hero of the well-prepared angler’s kit here are some examples of its many uses.
The zip-tie might just be one of the most useful but underappreciated items in the well-prepared angler’s arsenal. I keep a few of several different sizes packed away in my surf bags, tackle bags and fishing vehicle, and of course I have a big supply on my different workbenches. From rod building to surf fishing to offshore rigging, its uses are only limited by an angler’s creativity. On the odd chance that you don’t already have a supply on hand, I recommend buying a variety pack from your local hardware store to get started. The more you use them, the more ways in which you’ll wonder how you ever lived without the mighty zip-tie. Here are but a few ways in which zip-ties make me a better angler.
Rig An Eel
It was first demonstrated right here on the pages of The Fisherman by Bryan Oakley in the mid-2000s, and then subsequently updated and modified by yours truly in issue #36 of 2012, and in a video at TheFisherman.com. Rigging an eel can be done in roughly one-quarter of the time, with no loss of productivity, by replacing intricate knots and sewing thread with a handful of small zip-ties. I also recommend keeping several small and large zip-ties in your rigged eel pouch for on-the-spot repairs. I’ve extended many a riggie that got beat up by a cow bass and squeaking a few extra fish out of the eel (not something you can easily do with sewing thread while in the surf).
Fix A Boot
A few years ago I was trying to extend the life of a heavily-used pair of wading boots through the end of the season. The laces had been replaced many times, and most of the metallic eyelets had either corroded away or had simply been ripped from the boot itself. As I was heading down a rocky beach, I felt my right boot go loose. I looked down to see that two of the eyelet holes had ripped clear through the synthetic material. In order to save the night I was able to rig a spider web of large zip-ties which held so well that it was quite difficult to remove the boot at night’s end. I just wish the effort on the boots had been paid off by a good night’s catch.
Replace A Zipper Pull
No matter the manufacturer, I seem to have a way of ripping a zipper pull tab clean off at least one zipper on every fishing coat and tackle bag I have ever owned. This can make for a really bad day on the water, especially if it means your tackle bag is now stuck closed and you need a new lure, or you can’t seal up your coat when that rain storm pops up. However, so long as the ring on the slider body is still intact, you can make a pull tab with a small zip-tie looped onto itself.
Grip A Reel Handle
Any reel with a hollow handle knob (like that of the Van Staal) can be made to have more grip with some well-places zip-ties. While each handle knob is different, with a little trial and error you can come up with a textured grip to eliminate hand slip on a wet reel. Add a ring of rubber heat shrink over the zip-ties for an even better, slicker-looking product.
Secure A Soft Plastic
Are you tired of that soft plastic always sliding down the hook shank on a jighead? Secure it with a small zip-tie and it will last longer without sliding or tearing. Make sure the zip-tie goes over whatever shape rubber collar your jig head has and cinch it down just-shy of being “too tight.” You’ll know you’ve got it right when the soft plastic pinches down at the jig collar but it doesn’t quite rip the soft plastic.