Christmas gift ideas for the angler and hunter are almost endless, but you need to be able to discern the good from the junk.
Some are totally useless and designed for the person who wishes to get a gift for the angler or hunter and has no idea about the sport. So keep in mind that if you walk into a store and ask about purchasing a gift for a loved one who is ‘outdoorsy’ you have opened the door for all kind of garbage that will not be of interest to the proposed recipient and marketed especially for this type of shopper.
An example would be if you happen to run into a product with a name something like the ‘Complete Angler,’ with a 50 piece, rod, reel and lure kit that sells for $22.95. Odds are it should be labeled ‘Completely Useless.’
Let me offer you a few suggestions that may help you get started in the right direction.
Most anglers can use a fish scale and if the angler in your life doesn’t have one I can recommend the Berkley Precision Digital Scale, model BT35DS. There are numerous digital scales on the market that I cannot attest to but I have this one and it works great. It will weigh fish up to 35 pounds and give you an accurate and easily-readable digital readout, and has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $34.95.
In your search for a gift for the angler in your life, you may be tempted by the many tackle boxes that are good looking and highly functional. However, unless the person you have in mind as the gift recipient has previously specified a specific make and model, I would recommend against making such a purchase. I can only compare that with me trying to buy my wife a handbag for Christmas, unless she has taken me by the hand and pointed to a specific purse and said, ‘I like that.’ Even if you feel you have the right tackle holding box or bag it is a good idea to keep the receipt.
There are two other items that are really handy for anyone who is out fishing and they are specially made pliers for the purpose and they are the Berkley 11-inch XCD Long Reach Pliers and the Berkley 8-inch XCD Straight Nose Pliers. They each have a MSRP of $19.95.
The 11-inch XCD Long Reach Pliers are specially made with carbon steel jaws, and have a corrosion-resistant composite coating designed to keep them functional for years in the wet environment of a fisherman. They have an important ergonomic co-molded handle with spring-assisted one-hand operation and really help to remove a hook that a fish has swallowed.
The 8-inch XCD Long Reach Pliers also has carbon steel jaws, corrosion-resistant composite coating with ergonomic co-molded handle and spring-assisted one-hand operation. This model also has cutting, tuning, and crimping features and comes with an adjustable lanyard. It will cut the Firewire type lines as well as reach a hook in the mouth of a fish.
Another item I don’t see how an angler can live without is that Berkley Portable Spooling Station. This inexpensive spooling station allows anyone to spool line on almost any baitcasting or spinning reel easily without another set of hands to help them. It is a handy table-top unit that runs on batteries and easily adjusts for various spool sizes, has tension adjustments to keep your line at the proper tautness and this too has a MSRP of $19.95.
Many hardcore anglers will have a Global Positioning System (GPS) capability built in with their fishfinder nowadays, but not everyone, so for the person without one, that can make a perfect gift.
A GPS unit is excellent for marking hunting spots, leading you out of the wilderness, or marking a fishing hole on a lake, river or in the Gulf. They start at about $250 and go up to the class where you might have to consider a second mortgage to pay for them. The basic ones are good and will do the job, but the more expensive ones come with maps and will lead you by the hand to almost anywhere in the world.
However good a GPS system is it pays to have a good old fashion compass along also, so if the person you are shopping for does not own one you might consider one for a stocking stuffer. When considering a compass pick an old fashion magnetic compass and not one of the new electronic ones as batteries go out and the old fashion ones do not.
One thing that my family gave me for my birthday a while back was a gun cleaning set. I do not mean one of the small single caliber types that you may see in Wal-Mart, but a complete case that opens up, will hold the rifle or shotgun in a stand, has everything needed to clean any caliber from .17 to .45 and all shotgun and handgun calibers. I have seen these around at many stores, but mine came from Midway and was ordered over the internet.
So this Christmas match the gift with the desire that you have to get someone a gift that they can actually use and think of you fondly every time it is used for years to come.