The Reel Cool Fishing Bottle
“One fish two fish red fish blue fish. Black fish blue fish old fish new fish. This one has a little star. This one has a little car. Say! What a lot of fish there are.” — Dr. Seuss
My fly fishing vest weighs more than 4 pounds. This is the small strap vest I primarily use in hot weather for short trips, but it’s also good to wear over a bulky sweater when the weather turns chilly.
My larger fly vest weighs 7 pounds.
Both are stuffed with hundreds of flies that fill a dozen homemade and fancy fly boxes, along with a ridiculous number of gadgets, gizmos, tools, tackle (including an extra fly reel and spool filled with sinking tip line) and other gear, some of which I rarely, if ever, use but all of which I must consider essential. Why else carry it?
Nearly 9 pounds of spinning and baitcasting gear (including a couple of extra reels and a 250-yard spool of 8-pound monofilament) are loaded into what the manufacturer describes as a “fishing backpack,” a monstrous, multipocket contraption so large that it comes with a thickly padded waist strap for lumbar support. There also is a smaller “sling pack” that by comparison is nearly featherweight at just 3 pounds. It’s limited to carrying pliers, a knife and a covey of ultralight tackle.
This is just the stuff I use when wading a stream or shoreline or traveling by kayak or canoe.
The Ford is essentially a rolling, motorized tackle (and tackle repair) shop. What escapes from the truck or from one of my numerous tackle bags, vests, backpacks or boxes generally ends up scattered across my desk and about my office. Visitors are warned to watch where they walk or sit. It’s difficult to account for every fly, crankbait, spinnerbait, Roadrunner and errant hook.
To the oft-bemusement of my wife, new stuff arrives regularly. Much of it I purchase—from Cabela’s, Orvis, Bass Pro Shops, L.L. Bean, The English Fly Fishing Shop … many are bookmarked and/or on speed dial. But UPS, FedEx and the postman regularly arrive with an array of other tools, gadgets and gizmos—usually sent with the compliments of the inventor, manufacturer and/or representing PR agency—and all of which have one common trait: Each is guaranteed to help you catch more fish.
That’s how I came into possession of the Reel Cool Fishing Bottle, a bright blue, hard plastic contraption that’s molded into a surprisingly effective fishing tool, now slightly muddied and scarred after a thorough workout on a nearby stream.
This is the brainchild of Kentuckian Matt Grimes.
The Reel Cool bottle is roughly the size of a 20-ounce soft drink but with a large-mouth lid and a wrist strap. Mine came spooled with about 60 yards of 15-pound test monofilament line. A 1-inch-wide bright red band holds the line securely in place when you’re not fishing. The band is available in five colors.
Grimes hatched the idea during a fishing trip off the coast of California when he saw some locals fishing from shore with hand lines. Hand lines aren’t new, of course. They predate Biblical times. See Ecclesiastes 1:9.
Grimes returned to Boone County and after some trial-and-error tinkering, came up with the combination fishing tool, hand line and drink bottle.
The 9-inch-tall Reel Cool Fishing Bottle weighs about 4 ounces empty but nearly 2 pounds when filled. I didn’t try filling the bottle to cast it. But using the bottle empty, an underhand cast will easily launch a 1⁄8- or 1⁄4-ounce jig 30 or so feet, enough to effectively fish a small creek or pond. It takes a little practice, but the casting flip is easy to master.
Grimes is hardly the first Kentuckian to propose a different way to fish. The level line reel—the forerunner of the modern baitcaster that today is the key weapon in every bass fisherman’s angling arsenal—came out of a Frankfort watchmaker’s shop.
The Reel Cool Fishing Bottle isn’t going to replace your favorite baitcaster, spinner or fly rod. Nor is it something you’d want to use on an all-day trip. There’s no drag system, of course, so any fish fight is close range, hand-to-hand combat.
But it is fun. And that should be the linchpin on any fishing trip.
You can check out the Reel Cool Fishing Bottle at fishingbottles.com. The price is $19.95.