WON Landing Page March 2022

7 fishing essentials

Bodie recommends 7 fishing essentials for a great day on the water.


Fishing season is upon us. Here in the Pacific Northwest, salmon and steelhead seasons are in full swing, and it won’t be long before I’m casting a line for trout, bass and even bluegill. In pursuing each species of game fish, all I need are the basics in order to enjoy a day on the water — a rod, reel, fishing line and lure. There are many other essentials, however, that I find necessary to help turn any good day into a great day.


Feature Michelle fishing_1

Michelle Bodenheimer with a beautiful salmon she caught on the Willamette River in Portland, Ore. Photo courtesy of Todd Bodenheimer


1. YETI Tundra Cooler

When I am out on the river, it is important to keep my bait cool, and my beverages even cooler. I know with confidence that the YETI Tundra Cooler is up for the task at hand. At first, The cooler’s bulkiness and boastful price tag can be intimidating. Fellow outdoors woman Kelly Heard shared in my concerns. However, after witnessing a YETI Tundra Cooler keep camp essentials cold for more than 8 days in 90-degree temperatures in the back country, she learned that the YETI is worth its steep price tag. Kelly states, “I know from experience they are the best coolers I’ve ever seen in camp.”

The YETI Tundra Cooler is built to take abuse, and take the heat. Constructed in a 1-piece, roto-molded frame, the YETI features a unique PermaFrost insulation, providing exceptional heat resistance and ice retention. The thick-walled construction makes the YETI Tundra Cooler bulky and heavier than other coolers on the market, and sacrifices internal storage capacity. It is not the cooler I want to use for daily excursions, or a quick picnic on the beach. However, when it comes to extended trips on the boat, the YETI is the best way to go! The YETI Tundra 45 (9.4 gallon capacity) is a staple in my boat.

The YETI Tundra Cooler is available in a variety of sizes, ranging from 7.2 gallons to 100.6 gallons, and is available in a variety of colors, including: white, tan and ice blue. Although, the larger sized coolers are only available in white. The Tundra Cooler can be purchased directly from YETI’s online store, or at retailers nationwide. Click here to find the dealer nearest you.

MSRP: $299 to $899, depending on size.


Yeti cooler

The YETI Tundra cooler keeps bait and beverages cool during warm days on the water.



2. YETI accessories

One of my favorite features of the YETI Tundra Cooler is its versatility and adaptability. YETI has released a full line of accessories for the Tundra Cooler, including the YETI Rod Holster. The Rod Holster, constructed of durable powder-coated, stainless steel and heavy-duty polyprobylene, slips snuggly into the Cooler’s side tie-down slot (located just above the side handle). Take caution when installing the Rod Holster, as it fits very tightly into place. Although not impossible to remove after installation, it takes some muscle power. For me, this is a good thing, because I know it (and my fishing pole) will stay securely in place.

Similarly constructed, YETI also offers a Beverage Holder for your favorite drink of choice. Often times, I use my YETI Tundra Cooler as an extra seat in the boat; it is very convenient to have both the Rod Holster and Beverage Holder within arm’s reach.

Both the Rod Holster and Beverage Holder, and complete line of other great accessories, can be purchased directly from YETI’s online store, or at retailers nationwide. Click here to find the dealer nearest you.

YETI Rod Holster MSRP: $39.99

YETI Beverage Holder MSRP: $24.99


Michelle with YETI accessories

Photo courtesy of Todd Bodenheimer


3. GotZem Rod Holder

There is nothing worse than traveling with a breakdown fishing pole. Inevitably, sections of the breakdown pole get misplaced, the line becomes tangled or the tip gets broken. In the past, I have resorted to using rubber bands and zip-ties to keep my pole secure, but even these remedies can be a pain. This past winter at the Pacific Northwest Sportsman’s Show, however, I discovered a little piece of heaven — the gotZem Rod Holder. The gotZem Rod Holder consists of 2 formed pieces of injection-molded rubber. One fastener safely secures the base of my pole (near the handle) to the loose breakdown section of pole, while the second fastener secures the tip. Rubber fasteners keep a firm grip on the pole and keep each section secure, which helps eliminate the line from tangling. Weather-resistant fasteners are completely safe and do not harm my equipment. The Rod Holder is remarkably inexpensive, a great addition to any tackle box and is available directly from gotZem online. Orders can be placed by telephone at 360-314-7946, or by email.

MSRP: $2


Gotzem rod holder

GotZem Rod Holders help keep gear safe and secure, and most importantly, tangle free!



4. Gerber Gator fillet knife

Whether I am preparing bait before an excursion, or filleting my catch,, I need a sharp, durable knife. The Gerber Gator fillet knife has never let me down. My favorite feature of this fillet knife is Gerber’s unique gator-grip handle — a rubberized alligator skin texture, offering a nonslip, comfortable grip. When working with slippery fish, or in wet conditions on the water, the gator-grip provides a measure of unparalleled safety. (I am not often one to trust with sharp objects).

The Gator fillet knife is available in a 7.5-inch blade, as well as a shorter 6-inch blade. Both knives offer a fine edged, stainless-steel blade, and give a precise, clean cut. If the blade begins to dull, I use the ceramic blade sharpener integrated in the knife’s accompanying sheath.

The Gator fillet knife is available directly from Gerber, as well as a number of dealers nationwide. Click here to find the dealer nearest you.

MSRP: $14 (7.5-inch blade); $12 (6-inch blade)


Gerber fillet knife

The Gerber Gator Fillet Knife makes quick work of a fresh catch.


5. Columbia Women’s Insect Blocker Mesh Jacket

Where there is water, there are bugs (usually the kind that bite.) There are times I do not like to slather myself in bug spray, nor do I care to be eaten alive. The Columbia Women’s Insect Blocker Mesh Jacket is perfect for these situations. The jacket boasts a comfortable fit with drawcord adjustable hem, full hood and zippered chest pocket for extra storage. The jacket is both lightweight and packable, and most importantly, features Columbia’s Insect Blocker technology that helps keep the bugs at bay. The Insect Blocker Mesh Jacket is available in white, geyser (green) and hot coral. It can be purchased directly from Columbia’s online retail store, or from a number of retailers nationwide. Click here to find the retailer nearest you.

MSRP: $90

columbia jacket

Women’s Insect Blocker Mesh Jacket. Photo courtesy of Columbia Sportswear


6. River Girls, Flyfishing for Young Women

I am mostly a bait fisherman, but in recent years, I have taken up the sport of fly-fishing. I am no expert on the subject, although I have found River Girls: Flyfishing for Young Women, by Ceclia “Pudge” Kleinkauf an invaluable reference and teaching tool. This excellent book about all the basics of fly-fishing is the perfect read for women of all ages. River Girls teaches, through example and short story, on all things related to fly-fishing, including the following topics: where to go, what gear to use and how to use it, what to wear in the water and how to find a ladies’ fly-fishing club near you. The book is beautifully illustrated and written in an easy-to-read format. Although River Girls is geared toward the novice fisherwoman, it serves as an excellent refresher for the more experienced angler, as well.

River Girls: Flyfishing for Young Women is available from most national book retailers, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

MSRP: $20


River Girls book

“River Girls, Flyfishing for Young Women” is a good read for ladies of all ages. Photo courtesy of Wyatt Bodenheimer



7. A fishing buddy

Yes, I enjoy my solo time on the water. I enjoy the peace and tranquility the still morning water offers the soul. It is a peace only an angler will know. Throughout the years, however, I have come to realize that fishing can be better with a friend. Fishing is about more than casting a line and hoping to set the hook. It is about more that enjoying nature. Any fishing excursion is the perfect opportunity to invite a friend, whether it is to some exotic destination, or the creek just steps from your front door. Take the time to joke with a buddy, enhance relationships and develop everlasting bonds. My favorite fishing buddy is my son, who has been raised on the water, right by my side. If you do not have a fishing buddy, invite someone new next time you hit the water, and introduce him or her to a whole new, wonderful world.

MSRP: Priceless


Michelle and Wyatt

Photo courtesy of Todd Bodenheimer

  • About Michelle Whitney Bodenheimer

    An experienced huntress, Michelle Whitney Bodenheimer has pursued big game, upland birds and waterfowl throughout North America and Africa. Although Michelle loves to hunt and shoot (both rifle and bow), her biggest passion in life is sharing her love for the outdoors with others. Michelle is the dedicated gear review columnist for Women’s Outdoor News, in a column called “Her Gear.” Michelle’s writings and photography also have been published in a number of outdoor journals, including On Target, Lady Angler, The Gun Dog Journal, The Shooting Channel and African Hunting Gazette. Michelle has been a repeat contributing guest on Outdoor GPS,a live hunting and fishing television program broadcast on Comcast SportsNet NW. When Michelle is not writing, she is serving her time as an outdoor educator. She is an active volunteer for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) Outdoor Skills Program. Her primary responsibilities with ODFW are serving as a shotgunning coach and dog handler/guide for ODFW’s upland bird hunting clinics. Michelle also teaches regularly for Women in the Outdoors (WITO) and Becoming and Outdoors Woman (BOW) programs. She serves on the Pro Staff team for Cabela’s, as well as for the NW Ladies Hunt Camp, an educational outreach program hosted in conjunction with the NRA’s Women on Target Program and Extreme Desire TV, and is a member of the field staff for Próis Hunting and Field Apparel for Women. A current member of a number of national conservation organizations, Michelle is a life member of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundations, as well as a life member of the National Rifle Association. She also served as a past director for the Southwest Washington chapter of Safari Club International. Take caution, however, if Michelle invites you along on a hunt. Having been stalked by a cougar and attacked by a cheetah, she tends to live life a bit on the wild side.


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