Column: Gift ideas for the anglers on your Christmas shopping list

Great Outdoors by James Murray

It is sometimes not as easy as you might think to pick out that perfect Christmas present for an angler.

For one thing, anglers tend to be very specific about what they like and don’t like to use. That is why there are so many variations of just about any piece of gear out there. Also, much of the gear available tends to be very specific to a type of fishing (lake or stream), not to mention fish species specific.

Then there’s the question of whether they are a fly fisher, spin fisher, are after trout, salmon or sturgeon, etc. My point being that most anglers prefer to pick out there own gear according to their own particular likes and dislikes. This is especially true when it comes to big ticket items such as rods and reels, not to mention the holy grail of all pieces of fly fishing gear: the fly line.

One option would be to give the angler on your list a dozen or so different fly patterns. Just a note of caution though – there is nothing worse than getting out on a lake and finding you only have one of the fly that is working best. A good idea would be to give two or three of the same pattern to make up your dozen (for example, three flies of four different patterns). You could even wrap each fly pattern separately, but don’t let them open any of the packages until Christmas morning. If you want to go one step further, give them a nice fly box. Wrap it separately as well. They can open it first – or last; either way, they will have something to put all the flies into afterwards. I personally prefer the plastic fly boxes that fit into a shirt pocket. And don’t worry if they already have several other fly boxes, because no fly fisher can ever have enough.

One important thing to keep in mind is that if you are going to give someone a variety of flies, be sure to buy quality flies. Most good fly shops will have a selection of “hand-tied” flies, tied by local fly tiers who know what variation of a pattern works best in local water. A good fly shop will also help you pick out the right patterns, based on specific waters and type of fishing, for the recipient of your gift.

The same thing holds true for the spin fisher on your list. Give them a dozen lures or plugs, or maybe half a dozen since some lures, especially plugs, can be quite expensive. I’m talking anywhere from $6 to $16 each.

Then again, you could always give a gift certificate from a fishing tackle store they could apply to one of those ‘big ticket’ items they may have been saving up to purchase.

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A person does not have to go overboard spending a lot of money buying a thoughtful gift. After all, it should be the thought that counts.

Sometimes you don’t even have to spend any money at all – just some time and effort. There is a lot of information on the Internet when it comes to angling. There are sites where you can find out what fly patterns and/or lures work best on specific lakes and streams. There are also sites where you can download hydrographic maps of specific lakes that show depths, drop-offs, shoals and structures such as sunken islands. There are other sites where you can download everything from updated maps into an area, to boat launch sites, to site specific changes in fishing regulations. You can find and download information on fishing lodges, accommodations and fishing tackle stores in any given area or destination. The list of sites and information goes on and on. Download this sort of information and put it together in a pack and you have the stuff that fishing dreams are made of – or at least fishing trips to a new lake or stream.

When it comes giving fishing gear as a present, there is nothing like doing a bit of fishing yourself – for hints as to what they may want or for information as to where they may be planning to go this coming season. What I’m trying to say is that with the right information, it can be a easier than you might think to pick out that perfect present for an angler.

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