A Few Christmas Suggestions for your Outdoor Love
Every year I am told that I am easy to buy for when it comes to Christmas gifts. "Just get him something that has camouflage in it or will catch a fish," says my adorable wife Shelly to anyone in the family asking for holiday ideas, rolling her eyes as she mutters the words.
Likewise, there are sleighs of things the outdoor enthusiast would enjoy from St. Nick this season of our Savior's birth.
I know this is a fishing magazine; however, since most fishers also hunt, here are a few things I would be happy to see under the tree Christmas morning.
Rods - A new rod is something every angler can use. Castaway, Waterloo, American Rodsmiths, Shimano and Lone Star are popular brands in Texas. The 6'2" Castaway Titanium is my favorite since 80 percent of the time I throw plugs; however, when I do throw worms or tails, it does the job as well. You can't go wrong with any of the brands listed above. They are all good.
Reels - The most popular line of reels is the Shimano series. I really can't comment on other brands because I rarely use anything but Shimano. The Chronarch 50 Mg remains my first choice. Other great choices are the Curado, Calcutta and Citica.
Baits - An angler can never have too many surface-running topwater plugs for water-thrashing bites. She Dogs, She Pups, Top Dogs, Top Dog Jr's, Super Spooks, Super Spook Jr's, Corkies, Yo-Zuri's, and Spittin'Images are all reputable choices. On the soft plastic scene, Bass Assassins, Nortons, Hogies, Trout Killers and Stanley Wedgetails are most popular. Berkley Gulps have made a splash, coaxing results much like live bait.
Polarized Glasses - A good pair of polarized shades are priceless. Maui Jim, Costa Del Mar, and Ocean Waves are the most popular. The makers have refined their shades to the times and the fashions, so there are many sleek frames out there that will double as a good pair of driving or active sports glasses. If you have never worn polarized shades while fishing, you are missing another world underneath the surface.
Clothes - Everyone loves fishing shirts that come in a kaleidoscope of bright colors. Polyester breathable shirts like Under Armour's line are showing on boats and in the field. A good set of rain gear like Frogg Toggs can be stowed in the boat for a wet day. A pair of non-skid and non- marking boat shoes or sandals would be welcomed, too.
Waders - I do not know what I did before breathable waders. Well, I do know - sweat! I haven't worn a pair of neoprene waders in six years. When it is chilly, I dress warm underneath. I wore breathables in nine degrees three years ago and was not any colder had I worn neoprenes. Hodgman and Stearns (who purchased Hodgman) are the popular brands. Simms and Orvis are good, too, but more expensive.
Accessories - Bass Assassin jig heads, hooks, weights, line, corks and swivels are all needed in abundance in the tackle box. A good electric filet knife (my favorite is a Black and Decker bread knife found at Wal-mart for less than $10), a NuMark wading belt or Do-Net, a wading net, a new cooler, a spool of fishing line and a new pair of wading boots (ForEverLast or Hodgman) are all good choices.
Why not go in with the wife of your husband's favorite fishing buddy and purchase a gift certificate for a guided fishing trip. I sell about a half-dozen of these every year. The trip can be taken anytime and normally carries a validity date of one year. I am sure any guide would be happy to do it. My wife's creative self makes up a nice certificate to put under the tree.
When all else fails and my loved ones do not know what to get me, they call Mike Grigar at Johnny's Sport Shop in Eagle Lake and purchase a gift certificate. I have a running line of credit from three years of gift certificates; and, if you have ever been in Johnny's, you know Mike only sells the good stuff. If Eagle Lake is too far from your home, Academy, Gander Mountain, Bass Pro and Cabela's are also good choices.
Guns - One of the easiest gifts to give is a firearm. It is the gift that keeps on giving throughout a lifetime. Whether it be a Benelli, Browning, Remington, Winchester or Mossberg shotgun or rifle, any "smokepole" will surely please. If not a gun, then maybe a new scope for your whitetail hunter. A pair of quality binoculars serves well for the hunter and angler.
Knives - Any outdoor enthusiast cannot have too many blades. Brands like Gerber, Spyderco and Old Timer are good. Throw in an all-purpose tool that has files, blades and screwdrivers and you have a mini tool box in the palm of your hand. I have one in my tackle box and hunting bag.
Cold Weather Clothing - This falls in the "can't miss" category. Anything camo is good and can be used on a boat as well. Gloves, toboggans, shirts, pants, boots, hats and jackets make great gifts. About jackets, a heavy, warm, insulated, waterproof parka is a must for the avid hunter and fisher. Columbia, Remington and Browning are some of the popular brands. My favorite is the waist-length Widgeon Parka by Columbia. It has an outside shell that zips out for mild days and an inner liner that zips in for frigid mornings.
Decoys - My wife will disagree since an 18-wheeler full of decoys pulled into my driveway and unloaded 44 boxes of decoys as I was writing this piece. However, you can never have too many decoys. Avery's Greenhead Gear and G&H make quality duck and goose decoys. Texas Hunting Products, makers of quality goose hunting gear and the best decoy bags on the market is a quality choice.
Accessories - Flashlights, duffel bags, game straps, calls and gun slings are great stocking stuffers. Avery makes the best waterfowl hunting bags. I have a sling called "The Claw" that does not slip while lugging my gun on my shoulder. Illusion, Hadel, Rich-N-Tone, Glynn Scobey, Morwhistle, Duck Commander and Wingsetter are calls I have used.
If nothing else, give your loved one a hug or kiss or both and tell them how much they mean to you. Everyone needs some of that.