If you find yourself today in a last-minute gift emergency for an angler in your life, chances are a gift related to fishing would be very welcome.
Fishing can be a very specific endeavor, whether it is fly fishing, spin casting, ice fishing, surf casting, big-water trolling etc. etc. Fortunately, there are certain items that are very universal and therefore welcome to almost any type of angler, and you still have time to make it seem like you really put some thought into this.
First and foremost on any angler’s wish list is a quality pair of polarized sunglasses. Wherever you fish, at any time of the year, your eyes take a beating from sunshine and reflected water. If you have ever compared quality optics, especially polarized optics, the difference they make is amazing. Decent polarized glasses start around $50. Anything less are not true fishing-specific polarized lenses, and some of the best on the market can be had for around $100.
If you have a fly angler on your wish list, a very nice, wooden fish net or wading staff can be had for around $50 and, for the more traditional angler, they are almost works of art. If they are new to fly angling, perhaps a beginner fly tying kit would be appropriate, since most fly anglers become fly tiers at some point in their lives.
Anglers who own and fish out of boats can almost always use a quality fishing tool kit, including a nice set of stainless-steel long-nosed pliers for removing hooks, as well as a nice bait or filet knife or quality scale. There are some very nice cordless electric filet knife kits for those who like to clean fish while camping or away from home.
For the ice fisherman in your life, one of the newer micro underwater cameras by Aqua Vu would certainly make him or her happy. Underwater cameras have come a long, long way over the last 10 years and these pocket-sized units have incredible lenses and displays and literally can fit in a jacket pocket. Some even have built-in recording capability and can be used for more than just fishing. Cameras are becoming indispensable on local lakes where the fishing pressure on jumbo perch is reaching new highs.
If that is just a little out of the price range, a quality rod and reel combo can be had for about $50. A great universal combo includes a quality four- to six-bearing reel with a 24- to 27-inch medium light rated rod. Look for a name brand like Clam, Frabill, Polar Fire and some of the new Eagle Claw models. Avoid the $10 to $20 combos. If that is your budget, then that money would be better spent on a pair of ice cleats and polar picks, two must-have pieces of safety equipment.
In the “money is no object” category, a gift certificate for a guided fishing trip would make any angler happy.
Congratulations to James Hoover for winning our Perch Masters event last weekend on Lower Stillwater Lake.
There are several other ice fishing tournaments coming up, the first one being the annual Sunriser Lions Club event at Smith Lake this Saturday.
This is a walk-up event — $5 for adults, $1 for kids or $10 for the whole family.
The 2016 Perch Assault series begins Jan. 9; for more info, go to www.perchassault.com.
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and I’ll see you on the water!
Howe runs Howes Fishing/A Able Charters. Contact him at www.howesfishing.com or 257-5214 or by emailing Mike@aablefishing.com.