Hold it: Invention sets off alarms for reel savings

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AURORA | If  you’re fishing at Aurora Reservoir and a loud alarm pierces the tranquility, there’s probably no need to worry — it just means Armando Flores hooked another one.

Armando Flores waits for fish to bite Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 15 at the Aurora Reservoir. The city’s water officials say that while the Anadarko Petroleum Corp. water lease deal was high profile, the city has been leasing water to entities for years. Aurora City Council members agreed to lease effluent, or used water to Anadarko in July for hydraulic fracturing purposes, and the company is paying the city $9.5 million over five years for the water. (Marla R. Keown/Aurora Sentinel)

Flores and his Handystand Fishing Rod Holder — a home-made rod holder with optional alarms and lights — are regulars at the reservoir. And Flores, 67, said now that he is retired, he is looking to market his 20-year-old invention.

The holder is essentially a spring-loaded metal tube that snugly holds a fishing pole’s handle. When a fish grabs the hook, it pulls the tube forward slightly, activating the burglar alarm attached to the back.

Flores got the idea for the invention a few decades ago in part from seeing so many anglers lose their pole when a fish yanked it. Too often, poles are left resting precariously on a log or a cooler, and a hungry fish can easily drag the light weight rods into the water, along with the bait, Flores said.

“At the lake, there might be hundreds of rods and reels at the bottom,” he said.

Flores even lost his pole once when he left his rod unattended, out of its rod holder to turn his attention to something else. The next day, with a weighted treble hook at the end of his line, Flores said he hooked his rod — a $40 setup that wasn’t worth losing — and dragged it from the bottom.

“I was careless, but I fished it out,” he said.

That’s an experience Flores says fishermen won’t have to
recreate if they use a device like the Handystand.

The first version of the Handystand Flores built decades ago was made from wood.

The device worked well, he said, and when he brought it to a metro-area lake in the early 1990s just to take a picture of it, he even caught a fish.

“That wasn’t in the plans, I just wanted to take a picture,” he said.

Eventually, he started using a larger piece of wood before drastically changing the design and using plastic.

From there, Flores tried a steel model and an aluminum model before settling on his latest: an aluminum model that fastens neatly onto the top of a standard 5-gallon bucket.

“The bucket is even better than all of them,” he said.

The bucket is light and easy to carry, he said, but once a fisherman finds their spot on the water’s edge, they can fill the bucket with water, weighing it down so it’s more stable.

Flores has long-wanted to market the device, but didn’t have the time.

“I was raising two kids and I had a mortgage and everything,” he said. “I couldn’t quite drop everything.”

Now, he is retired and his kids are grown, leaving him not only for a bit more fishing, but maybe enough to market his Handystand a bit more.

If he does venture into the fishing merchandise world, Flores will be entering a booming industry. According to the American Sportfishing Association, recreational fishing accounts for $45 billion in retail sales and a $125 billion impact on the nation’s economy.

Flores said he is pretty confident his device can be a success. He’s used it to hook a 21-inch trout before, and whether a fisherman uses a bucket weighted down with water or spikes the stand into the dirt or ice, not many fish can snatch their pole — unless they hook a real whopper.

“It hasn’t happened to me, but it possibly could tip the bucket over,” he said with a grin. “Maybe a big catfish, some huge animal.”

 

For more on the Handystand, contact Flores at [email protected]