My vote goes for the humble extending bankstick - the larger type that extends from about 4-7 foot. It's forever digging me out of a hole and is one of the items I can't do without.
I thought I'd pretty much exhausted the list of uses it has over the years such as:
- As a rod rest (great for deep swims just off the edge of a platform, but equally good for keeping a quiver tip high off the water).
- As a keep net handle (again great for deep water swims).
- As an emergency landing net handle because accidents do happen with the carbon net poles! Also use it for my big Carp/Pike/Barbel landing net.
- As a reel retriever. Twice now it's been used to retrieve a dropped reel from a river with a cheap plastic pole rest attached to it.
- As a chopper of undergrowth.
- As a tool to free up line when it's snagged in lilies.
- As an umbrella pole. Emergency use only of course, but I once somehow forgot my umbrella pole. However, the umbrella fitted nicely over the top section of the bankstick.
- As a walking stick when clambering around muddy and slippy banks, or when wading.
- As a supporter of bait waiters (rarely used for this purpose, but sometimes useful in the deeper, siltier pegs).
Aside from potentially being quite a useful weapon if the need ever arised, I didn't imagine I'd find any more uses for it - until last last weekend:
The place I was fishing was less than ideal for getting a signal on the phone. When sat at my peg I couldn't get a signal. However, I could just about get a slight signal just above head height, which is not exactly condusive to comfortable fishing!
Although it's not exactly the end of the world, it's just nice to stay connected in case of accidents. The missus's car hasn't been on the best of form recently (now booked in for MOT), so you can imagine the grief I'd get if it breaks down while I'm fishing and the phone isn't playing ball.
I needed a solution so it was out with the trusty bankstick, extend it to full length, fix the phone onto it with some elastic from a spool of line and hey presto:
Mobile phone mast!
Now I know what the more astute amongst you are thinking - if it only works above head height, what happens if it rings? I'll cross that bridge another time! To be fair it worked nearer to where I'd parked up, so I'd just have to take a short hike to get connected. At least I'd know someone is after me!
I also have a rucksack which I'm yet to find an alternative use for. One of my cats has ideas on that though!