So, are you expecting a tie again this year for Christmas? How about a nice, fuzzy, warm scarf? If you drop some well-timed hints, maybe you can enjoy one of these gift ideas that any angler would love to see under the tree. Let me suggest a few ideas you may not have thought of that would be welcomed by hardcore and casual anglers alike.
Improvements in optics over the last few years have led to extremely high quality sunglassesthat are also affordable. Tifosi Optics has introduced a line of sunglasses using polarized Fototec lenses, which adjust darkness based on ambient light conditions. Because of their high quality polarization, glare is significantly reduced, allowing you to see stumps, rocks, and other underwater cover where big bass hide. To check out their full line of sunglasses or view a demonstration of their Fototec technology, visit their website at www.tifosioptics.com.
No more cheap drugstore polarized sunglasses for me after experiencing these top-notch sunglasses. For fishing, my favorite is the open water green polarized Fototec lens. Sight fishermen (I’m not skilled at that technique) have told me they provide unbelievably good constrast for seeing fish on beds. If you put a pair of these on your face, you will beg for a pair under the tree.
How many times have you left your digital camera at the house because you were afraid you would break it? Olympus has a line of cameras that are designed to be shock resistant and waterproof, allowing you to leave your camera in the boat in anticipation of your next big catch. The Olympus Stylus SW series of cameras is designed to keep working even after dropping them or splashing them with water. You can even dip your camera underwater and take a shot of your trophy as it swims away. To view the features of the Stylus line of cameras, visitwww.olympusamerica.com/cpg_section/cpg_digital_sw.asp.
If you are tired of having your thumb shredded by holding up fish for photos, a lip-gripping device is a great tool. There are many models on the market, but one that stands out to me is the Xtools Grip-N-Weigh. It floats (unlike any other lip-gripping tool I have seen) if dropped in the water and has a built-in digital scale to get an accurate weight of your trophy. The only downside is that with a scale on-board, you may not catch as many 10-pounders as you thought. You can see the Grip-N-Weigh, as well as the other line of XTools at www.xtools.us.
In any outdoors pursuit, keeping comfortable is how you keep your mind on the task at hand. If you are cold or wet, you cannot concentrate on which lure you should be throwing. Ponchos are fine to take along in case it rains during a visit to Disney World, but a high-quality rain suit will allow you to stay dry and concentrate when the walleyes are biting during a rain shower. With today’s new fabrics and insulation, you do not have to sacrifice function for comfort. Rain suits and insulated coveralls make great gifts that will be used for years to come. Check your local outdoor retailer or big-box outdoor store to see the tremendous selection.
A practical gift to prevent sunburn or keep your neck warm is a buff. These seamless tubes of stretchy material can be pulled down over your head and then back up over your nose and ears to protect you from sun, cold, or bugs. When the sand gnats are out in force, my buff puts a barrier between my cheeks and the nasty little critters. The company even makes redfish scale, tarpon scale, and mahi mahi versions. To see the collection of patterns, visit the Buff website at www.buff.us.
What better gift could you give than the gift of fishing? Almost all guides will give you a gift certificate towards a guide trip for your loved one (or you). Some captains even offer discounts during the Christmas season. There is no better fishing experience than driving up to the dock, hopping on the boat without lugging equipment, leaving the decisions to the captain, and driving home again with many stories about an excellent day of fishing at your favorite honey-hole. While more expensive than bringing your own boat, fishing for a day with a top-notch guide will teach you something, as well as take the pressure of finding fish off of you.
I hope these ideas help as you search for the perfect gift for the angler in your life. It may also give you some ideas for gifts for yourself this year. Merry Christmas!