Christmas is right around the corner. If you are like most people, there is still some last-minute shopping to be done. If you are entirely done with your holiday shopping, congratulations; put your feet up, spike your egg nog, and relax.
If you are reading this, you most likely fish or know someone who does and are probably going to be giving some gifts to those folks in your life that like to fish. Here’s some help to ensure you land a trophy gift to your friend and not get caught in the weeds and break off.
Singing fish or original art? The impulse to give a singing fish is high—who doesn’t love a nice joke once in a while? But with most wall-mounted singing fish, they are quickly turned off. Trade the initial laugh and gag-gift reaction for a legit affirmation by choosing original artwork of a species or destination.
Tenkara or the real deal? Tenkara style fishing may have been around for hundreds of years, however, its use is very specialized. Do some research on where they fish the most and you will learn a 9-foot 5 weight or 7 weight is going to get more love than any tenkara set up.
Taking the obnoxious cousin fishing for a day or time to fish themselves. Just because your angler loves to fish, doesn’t mean they want to take just everyone fishing. You can choose your friends but you cannot choose your relatives, right? Tread lightly when it comes to inviting family to join your angler.
Fish call, ring-finger cutter ring, belt-clip rod holder, knot tools, and more gadgets to weigh down the vest. There are components of gear that are essential—nippers, pliers, sunglasses, etc—and components of gear that are not. Rather than a knot-tying tool, take the dog for a walk or the kids to a movie so your angler can spend time practicing their knots. Help them keep clutter down and avoid gadgets to keep their vest light. And, while we are talking about vests…
Fishing vests are the vinyl of the angling world. Consider a pack. Think of a fishing vest or pack as a tool. These are vital pieces of the angling arsenal. If you are thinking of giving a fishing vest, think again and talk with your angler or just be sure you keep the receipt.
Only give flies if you know exactly that the fish will eat. Many anglers like to pick out or tie their own flies. If you know what a rising rainbow trout on the Henry’s Fork in July eats or a tailing permit in southern Belize wants, leave the fly selection out and consider a nice fly box instead.
The spirit of the season means it is truly the thought that counts. For the angler in your life going fishing is going to be more fun than any T-shirt labeled with “Fish Whisperer” or a trinket “fish call.” The temptation to give these is real—the novelty is fun indeed—but if you want to give a gift that lasts and a gift that is actually used, avoid the impulse buy and bring home a keeper.