Technology marches on.

My daughter, who lives in the Florida Keys and was visiting in Maine to cool off, has a new I-Phone. It is an incredibly versatile device with dizzying options for the user who is willing to take the time to learn how to use it.

“You gotta get one of these, Dad! Watch this.”

She then proceeds to use it like a compass, Google me an aerial photo of my house, and check out the menu of the new restaurant in Hampden. It even works as a flashlight.

“No thanks,” I said. “I’m still trying to figure out how to use my old cell phone.”

But I must admit that the I-Phone’s flashlight option is intriguing. You see, I have a thing about flashlights, as most sportsmen do. Anyone who hunts, fishes or camps knows the sinking feeling that comes from a fading flashlight as you try to find your way out of a fir thicket at dark. Once this happens to you a few times, you will learn to carry both a backup light and extra batteries. I own a dozen or so flashlights in different shapes and sizes.

The march of technology has left its imprint on illumination devices for sportsmen, too. The LED flashlights are a real breakthrough: lighter, brighter and longer lasting.

As a fly fisherman who stays on the water until last light, it has always been a challenge to tie on a #16 hornberg in marginal light. For many years, I held a small mag light between my teeth. This year my son bought me a neat fishing cap that has twin lights sewn into the cap visor. Powered by two Lithium batteries that are sewn into the cap liner, this is the cat’s meow. I love it! A few weeks ago, this hat proved its worth during a fishing trip to Grand Lake Stream. Fishing on the Dam Pool was slow until the light began to fade about 8:45 p.m. Just as it became too dark to see much, the action started. You could make out the surface dimples as the salmon began taking a few floating ants. Scotty hooked a scaling bat on his backcast. His cap with twin lights in the brim saved the day as he released the impaled bat from a #16 elk hair caddis. Diane and I each hooked up on a respectable salmon and my cap light allowed us to see well enough to give each fish a prompt and proper release.

If you don’t own one of these caps, you owe it to yourself to purchase one. They are indispensable whenever you need to perform a task in the dark and need your hands free to work. I know that these hats are available at Dick’s Sporting Goods and may even be available in hunter orange.

There is one slight technical drawback with these lithium-powered cap lights. If you wear this cap in the rain, a water-soaked cap will cause a low glow from the twin lights without the brim snap switch being on. This could be a drain on the batteries, and might be a giveaway to game if you are hunkerd down near a game trail on rainy afternoon at last light.

Browning has just put a new sportsman’s clip-on cap light on the market that is getting a fair amount of press. It is called the Night Seeker Pro Cap Light. According to Bob Clark, who reviewed the light for Bear Magazine, the light has a low profile and sleek design. He writes, “The very small but strong clip-on design tucks under the brim of the hat or can pivot down for use or can attach to your pocket or pack strap. A single AAA Alkaline battery gives up to two hours with 0.5 watt light and up to six hours with red. This Cap light offers five times more light than the average cap light available.” Clark says that these new lights are available at Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s and other quality sporting good stores.

The author is editor of the Northwoods Sporting Journal. He is also a Maine Guide, co-host of a weekly radio program “Maine Outdoors” heard Sundays at 7 p.m. on The Voice of Maine News-Talk Network (WVOM-FM 103.9, WQVM 101.3) and former information officer for the Maine Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. His e-mail address is [email protected]

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