Friday, March 22, 2013

Product Review: The Sand Dipper - Shark Tooth Collecting Tool

I received my new shark tooth collecting tool, the Sand Dipper, prior to my Maine ice fishing trip that I blogged about in my last post.  My plan was to give you my first impression of this product right as soon as I received it, but last minute planning for the fishing trip, the fishing trip, my anniversary, and last weekend another fishing trip away from home kept me away from the keyboard.  But, here we are!

Let me just say that when I opened the box, like a kid at Christmas, and pulled out my new Sand Dipper, I was really impressed with the quality of this product.  All of the features advertised on the website, The Sand Dipper, turned out to be as nice as they were described on the website.
All of the advertised features that are improvements over my home made versions.  I really like the comfortable cork handle, the strap that allows you to free the use of your hands without setting the tool down, the extendable shaft, and the overall quality of the product.
The Sand Dipper extends to over five feet long so you can reach those shark teeth from afar.
Another thing that I like about it is that it seems pretty durable and it's light.  You can extend the handle to reach far away spots, perhaps when you're walking the beach and don't want to get your feet wet.  When I compared the Sand Dipper to my other home made versions, I noticed that the "basket" was a bit smaller than the one that I've been using.  Of my home made versions, I've tried various sizes of frying skimmers and found that the smallest one allowed me to dig in the sand easier and be more precise in what I pick up.  I think that will hold true here too, but will report on that once I try out the Sand Dipper in the field.
Prior to me obtaining my new Sand Dipper (bottom), my favorite home made version is pictured here at the top.  The "basket" is a bit bigger than the Sand Dipper, but is the smallest of the King Kooker style that I have, and seemed to be much easier to use than the larger sizes.  My thought is that this will also hold true with my newest addition.
If you look at the picture above and compare the features of my old homemade skimmer version, you can see that the cork handle gives you a much more comfortable and less slippery grip than PVC pipe.  The middle one, another home made version, seemed like a great choice at the time, but it also has limitations.
This picture compares a close up view of the collecting baskets of the Sand Dipper to my home made versions.
In the above picture, you can see clearly that the quality of the mesh is much nicer in the sand dipper, it's thicker and is made of stainless steel.  The King Kooker versions wore out quickly once they began to rust, and the thinner mesh couldn't hold up very long to collecting along rocky or really shelly shorelines.  The middle one above is another home made version with a different basket, which is very strong and durable, and made of stainless steel, and has a very strong frame that is great for digging into substrate.  However, if you look closely, you'll see larger gaps in the mesh that surround the base of the basket, and many nice shark teeth slipped through those gaps, so I stopped using that one.  Now it collects dust.
Here's a side view comparing the baskets, handles and such.
To sum up this product review, which is a first for me of anything outside of the fishing world, I'm really impressed with the Sand Dipper.  Now I need to get out and test it in the field.  After giving it a go, I'll report back to you all on my findings.  I'm confident that it will be a positive experience based on what I've seen so far.

Finally, here's a big thank you to Skip for designing and marketing such a nice product.  People approached me on the beach all the time and asked me about my home made version.  Now, they too can purchase such a handy collecting tool.  I've seen other commercial version on the beach, but they were cheaply made and no where near as nice as my home made versions, which fall short of the Sand Dipper in quality too.  No longer will they have to strain their backs after bending down to pick up stuff off the beach a thousand times a day.  In addition to that, for shark tooth collectors, your odds increase in collecting teeth in the surf because now many of those that the waves stole from you, you can now collect.  Now you can collect with ease and confidence.

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