Updated for 2016!
So the 2016 holidays are almost upon us, and it’s time for the most difficult part of the holidays: deciding what to give as a gift! So we’ve decided to put together a guide to help you choose the best gifts for fishermen.
Nothing beats being an angler during gift-giving-season! The holidays means that it’s time to get some shopping done for your favorite fisherman or woman. And, if you’re the person that baits the hook in the family on early mornings while everyone else sleeps in then it’s time to start making your list!
Right off the bat I realized that my list of fishing related items would be too long to fit into an article. After all, my list is basically the fishing and camping section at my local sporting goods store. So, to make things easy I’ve selected a few things that I had at the top of my own list or that I would suggest to a friend.
The Gift Ideas!
In an effort to make things easy I’ve listed several really neat items that I think would be fantastic gift ideas. The first three of these items should be readily available at any fishing or tackle store online or at your favorite shopping center. Those items are followed by a couple of gift ideas that you may find from a local crafter or online. You’ll see what I mean below.
Raymarine Dragonfly/Dragonfly 7
My personal favorite fish finder makes the top of the list for 2014 fish finders. Even though it’s a bit on the pricey side, you cannot go wrong with this beauty. Now updated to have an even larger 7 inch screen, you’ll see brilliant CHIRP SONAR images with more clarity and detail. It’s also got traditional SONAR capabilities, too, as well as GPS, and you can control the entire thing with just three buttons. Raymarine gives you powerful, easy, and fun fish finding in an easy to use package.
Deeper Portable Fishfinder for Android and iOS
Deeper is a fish finder that I’d love to receive as a gift – it’s incredibly unique and so portable that you can literally take it anywhere. We’ve talked a lot about portable fish finders on Fish Finder Source, but Deeper really blows every other fish finder out of the water. It’s just a small ball that you attach to your fishing line, and it transmits SONAR data to your Android or iOS phone/tablet using bluetooth. It’s good for depths of 2 feet all the way down to 130 feet, which means it’s perfect for all outings. It connects to a free app that you can download which shows you SONAR data, a fishing calendar, weather reports, and much more.
The Hook-5 HDI by Lowrance is another great gift to fill the gaping hole on your loved one’s boat. It can do pretty much everything, from traditional SONAR, 3D SONAR, and GPS chartplotting. It’s a little pricey, but less expensive than the Dragonfly. The 5 inch screen is pretty generous, and from a close distance, you’ll be able to see a very clear picture on the screen. It’s great for smaller boats and for using as you are going across the lake or river finding a good spot to fish. The mapping packages are varied in this one, from a basemap all the way up to Navionics Gold, the king of maps.
Garmin GPSmap 741xs
Here’s something that’s on my own list – hope my wife reads this article! – The Garmin GPSmap 741xs Fish Finder is an easy to use, fat finger friendly, fish finder that incorporates the ease of use of a computer pad or tablet. I quickly fell in love with the pinch and zoom style screen that you find on tablets and phones today. The overall use is so simple that it makes me wonder what other fish finder makers were thinking over the years. The unit offers advance options, besides the screen, that you would expect at a price point at or above $1,000. The mounting is a breeze and the learning curve is small. Again, the easy screen makes this possible. There’s no feeling that you have to relearn a complete new piece of electronics because you already will feel comfortable with it out of the box. The unit includes connections for an external GPS antenna, radar, future expansion, and even wireless and Bluetooth capability. My hands on experience comes from fishing and boating expos plus a day on the water with a friend who installed one on his bass boat.
More good stuff
Fishing Back Packs
For this entry I was torn between two versions of a backpack style tackle box. If you’re like me then you’ve found the need to grab a few lures and such and start walking along banks in search of the next big catch. Recently my old backpack tackle box was stolen to I’ve been in search of a replacement. I can’t decide between a big one with a larger price tag or a smaller one that costs less. So, I’m listing both.
My first choice is the smaller and more affordable version. That’s the Spiderwire Utility Box Sling Pack which you can find around $40 or less. This pack is no-frills but still packed with plenty of spaces and pockets to take what you need when doing some bank fishing or hiking to a lake.
My second choice is the Tackle Tek Recon Lighted Compact BackPack. Yep, I said “lighted” This back pack come with an integrated LED light system allows for fishing from dusk to dawn as well as plenty of storage compartments and trays. It has adjustable padded shoulder straps for added comfort. One neat feature was a clear built in pouch for storing items you don’t want to get wet. It also has attachment options for pliers and other small tools in the form of attachments. It even has a self-retracting lanyard. For a better backpack such as this one you can expect to pay $100 and up.
Costa Hammerhead Polarized Sunglasses
If you know me then you know that I often hesitate when buying items like a pair of sunglasses or reading glasses. I just know I’m going to lose them so why pay too much. Well, after testing a pair of Costa sunglasses I can tell you exactly why. In my case it was eye fatigue and head ache. I still have my back up polarized fishing sunglasses in case the Costa Hammerhead ones join the untold number of sunglasses I’ve lost over the years.
The difference is that I’ll buy some more Costa’s or ask for them as a gift from the wife. They fit better, offer a great vision into the water and the horizon in all types of sunlight. That combined with a nice fit meant that I suffered from fewer headaches when wearing Costa sunglasses as opposed to my cheap pair. Let me put it this way, no more flea market fishing sunglasses for me! Costa Sunglasses can run from right at $100 bucks upward to the $300 dollar mark. There are plenty of price points and styles. My favorite are the Hammerheads.
A Couple of Stocking Stuffers!
AC Shiner Balsawood Lure
I’m a sucker for cool fishing gifts and AC Shiner hand carved balsa wood fishing lure fits into that category. The AC Shiner lures are beautiful, handmade, and they work! My first one was purchased from Miss Pat at Friedman’s in Nashville, Tennessee. Ever since then I’ve kept my eye out for AC Shiner lures as well as other hand crafted carved lures. I’ve found some good ones at craft shows and small shops. You can find AC Shiner lures online and at a large number of stores across the country.
Handmade carved lures can run from under $10 to $20 bucks to however much you want to pay for them. I’ve seen some as much as $100 but those are presented more as works of art. If I ever buy a $100 lure you can bet I’m not casting it too often if ever. A $20 one that works, I’ll use that one all day!
I have to tell you honestly this should be at the top of the list. If you own a boat then you need a membership to the Boat Owners Association of The United States, which is better known as BoatU.S. is an American association of boat owners offering various services supporting recreational boat and trailer towing activities The organization offers different membership packages at different price points starting at under $40 a year.
There’s also a couple of great magazine options including my favorite on fishing! The website complete with boat galley cooking tips. In addition, BoatU.S. offers discounts to members of the military, Coast Guard, and boating safety groups.
Tickets to the Show
The country is flooded following the holidays with boat and fishing expos! One year my stocking included some tickets to the local Chattanooga Boat show. Ever since my wife has made it a point to make sure I get a few passes. It’s a great gift idea as I can browse the fishing vendors while she’s checking out the vendors selling everything from dock upgrades and outdoor wear to cruisers to massive yachts.
We always have a good time and make it a date with dinner where we can flip through some of the material we picked up. So support your local boat and fishing shows!
These are just a couple of suggestions. Feel free to use them as a starting point for your list. And in a private note to my wife… Honey, you know I’m a sucker for any fishing gadget you come across… except for those motion activated wall mounted fake fish that talk. I think those have run their course.
Co-authored by Shabbir and Kent “The Deck Chef” Whittaker