Gift ideas

Gift ideas for your favorite outdoor enthusiast

This week’s report was meant to be a gripping account of my latest adventure on the leaping seas aboard the Angler off Ocean City, Maryland, scheduled for last Tuesday. All week the forecast called for northerly winds at 10 knots with seas of 2 feet or less. Then on Monday the good folks at NOAA changed the forecast to northwest 10 to 15 heading northeast with gusts to 20 and believe it or not those same 2 foot seas. I didn’t believe it and neither did the captain of the Angler. He canceled the trip and I am now on the Monday 20th December role.

This turn of events led me to postpone my usual Christmas gift ideas for a week.

Those of us who spend a lot of time outdoors fishing or hunting, or both, have certain needs that people who pursue other pursuits do not have. We need clothes that are warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and that wick away sweat and rain equally well. Fortunately, there are several clothing companies that cater to outdoor enthusiasts and produce clothing that can perform well in even the toughest conditions.

Folsom, Helly Hanson, Aftco, LL Bean, Bimini Bay and Grunden are some of the best known brands. I have used products from all of the above and found them to be more than satisfactory.

When buying a gift for a hunter or fisherman, you can’t go wrong buying something from any of these brands. Who wouldn’t want a woolen shirt from LL Bean? Or a set of bad weather gear from Helly Hanson or Grunden?

Another good idea for the angler on your list is to collect their reels and take them to the local tackle store to have the line replaced. If they only have a few rolls, it won’t break the bank. However, if they have reels for everything from surfing to canyoning, you might want to select a few of the favorites to rewind.

Many fishermen have boats, and the boats have to be cleaned every time they get wet. A nice gift idea would be a nice 5 gallon bucket. YETI makes a good one, filled with boat cleaning products. This can range from soap and wax to teak cleaner, sponges and brushes, towels and chammies. Many years ago I had a captain who always told me, “A clean boat is a happy boat. As I worked in the hot sun after a long day on deck helping our group bring in big blue fish.

A good fillet knife and bait knife also make great gifts. These should always be two separate items. Using a knife for both tasks is unwise and will sooner or later lead to blood loss or even the loss of a finger or two.

A fillet knife should be flexible and able to follow along the fishbone to remove as much meat as possible. A bait knife should be thicker and heavier, able to cut through skin and bone without falling apart. Most manufacturers will label their products according to their destination.

Almost every boat on the water has a VHF radio. A great gift idea is a portable VHF radio for backup.

I have a Standard Horizon floating VHF portable radio. I keep it at home on its charging station so it’s always ready when I go fishing, and in case we lose power at home. You should be able to pick one up for less than $200, which might seem a bit pricey, but think of the peace of mind you’ll have knowing your family has the added security of a backup VHF radio.

On the cheaper side there are the stocking stuffers: The new Tsunami Forktail Candy metal jigs which come with a single hook as standard and a treble in the package if you want to change. A plastic tray or two is always appreciated. No angler ever has enough storage for their gear, and if they have too much storage, that’s a good excuse to buy more gear. A pair of split ring pliers is something you don’t need until you do. I changed all the treble on my metal jigs to single hooks, and without my split ring pliers, I’d still be there.

And then there’s my ongoing wish that I ask Santa every year. A 73ft Spencer with three VOLVO IPS discs. He claims he can’t get it through the chimney. I told him to just tie it to my dock in front of my humble home in Palm Beach, Florida.