Hints for Santa

Hints for Santa
Never hurts to stock up on extras of your favorites.

Soon there will be decorations adorning our homes as the Christmas parties and family gatherings fill our lives. I love all of the festivities, but the gift buying thing always gives me anxiety. I never know what the heck to get all the ladies in my life. I’m sure they feel the same way about us even though I always feel like outdoorsmen like us should be easy to buy for.  Apparently I am incorrect on that. 

Several years back my ladies all demanded a Christmas/birthday list from me. I guess having a birthday thrown in three days before Christmas puts a little added stress on them. The list thing takes away some of their holiday stress and also ensures I don’t end up with ties, sweaters and shirts that I’ll never wear. 

So every year around the first of November I start thinking about things I’d like to have for my outdoors adventures. I’ll start them off with some small odds and ends, then maybe a few moderately priced items. I’ll generally throw out a good many ideas because I do kind of like being surprised. Then just for grins I’ll put in a big ticket item with the suggestion they could all go together and I’d be happy unwrapping just a single grand birthday-Christmas present.  They’ve never taken me up on that, but it doesn’t stop me from trying. And to make them laugh I put in the “if you win the lottery” idea. Hey, you never know.

The list works for us, but a friend of mine has another tack. He takes his fishing magazines and just circles items from various ads for several months and leaves them all around the house hoping his wife will notice. Or you could fold it open to this article and have your lady “find” it.  Whatever works I guess. I think any method is preferable to them wandering around a tackle store and having a salesperson who doesn’t know you pick out your gear. Even the best shop isn’t clairvoyant.

Rods and reels are an obvious crowd pleaser but come with a risk. You can’t just say you want a new reel and send your non-fishing spouse into the tackle store with no idea. That’d be like her just asking for a new purse and sending you into the…well, wherever you buy purses. Be specific with the type, make and model you’d prefer as well as where it can be found. 

Same goes for rods. You don’t want to have to act all happy about a big surf rod if you’re throwing Corkys. There are so many good brands available and we all have our favorite.  Length and action are obviously important tidbits of information. The simpler you make it the more likely they are to follow through and the greater the chance you’ll be grinning on Christmas morning.

If your budget is in a higher bracket than mine you might want to think about upgrading some of the big ticket equipment on your boat. I recently put a new Hummingbird Solix unit on my Dargel and love it. The sidescan technology and clarity of fish recognition is amazing. It has been a real game changer for me. The various big name electronics companies have all recently stepped up their game with similar technology. Do some research and pick one that fits your style of fishing. 

Another piece of equipment that has seen a lot advancement recently would be trolling motors.  The new MinnKota Riptide Ulterra is pretty dang cool. Hit a button and it deploys automatically.  I was recently on a friend’s boat and he had just installed one. He backed the trailer down the ramp and just let the boat slide off into the water. I was a bit confused as his boat floated away.  He stepped out and started playing with the remote. The trolling motor deployed and he drove the boat right to the dock. I’m not certain my level of trust in electronic equipment would allow me to do that, but I’ll admit it was pretty dang cool. These units also have all sorts of high-tech capabilities like connecting to your Humminbird unit and working together to hold you on a particular spot or following a predetermined route. They’ve also got Bluetooth allowing you to run them via your smartphone. Put one of these on your wish list and you’ll be a happy fisherman.

To round out your list think of all the gadgets and tools you use or would like to have out on the water. A new pair of sunglasses, an upgraded pair of pliers, a new Boga Grip or maybe a new tackle bag. Our stuff takes a lot of abuse in the saltwater environment throughout the season.  Take a minute and do a quick inspection of your tools to see which ones could use replacing or upgrading. 

Something I did for my dad a few years back was stock up his tackle box. None of us ever have enough lures, right? I went down the aisles of Fishing Tackle Unlimited and picked up multiples of the staple lures I know he uses. Even if there’s no room in the box, it never hurts to have some back-ups on the workbench. Realizing that your favorite lure is missing from your wade box the night before a trip is easily remedied when you have a cache of them. 

I’ve always thought the true tackle stores should have a gift registry for us tackle junkies. The ladies do it for weddings and baby showers and it would make things a whole lot easier on everyone involved. Oh well, if all else fails there are always gift cards I guess.

Gift giving aside, I hope you and yours are having a wonderful holiday season full of hunting, fishing and family. Merry Christmas and I’ll see you guys next year.