One thing about fishing is that it tends to be a little bit of a selfish activity. While it is nice when a couple enjoys the experience together, many people are like my long-suffering spouse, who can’t figure out why I like to spend hours watching water drift by. Her most precious gift to me is to allow me time to go off and get wet, sunburned or bug-bit by myself. This can be formalized very nicely in a note on the tree or on a little card that says, “Honey, this entitles you to 40 hours of nag-free fishing!” You can specify whatever time you are willing to give. Let’s face it, the fisherman in the family will probably take the time anyway, so you might as well make it a present!
A very inexpensive gift that every fisherman needs is a good hook sharpener. The vast majority of fish that get away are freed courtesy of a dull hook. A few snags on rocks can take the edge off a hook point, and a few strokes with a little sharpening file can put the zip back on the hook. You can pick one up at most fishing stores for fewer than ten bucks.
One of my most prized possessions is my beloved fishing hat (actually I have three). The best I’ve found are the hats sold by Filson. Check out the Internet and you’ll see a huge variety. I like the wool fedora type, just like my Grandpa wore, only better. Not only do these hats keep that thinning hairline warm, but they also keep out the sun and bugs as well. I don’t imagine that it’s recommended, but I just wash mine in the machine when it gets stinky, take it out and shape it by hand, and it dries as good as new!
At about the same price you can pick up a great pair of “Romeo” slippers from Georgia Boots. This model, designed just after the turn of the last century, is the comfortable slipper created for commercial fishermen and loggers for use after a tough day in heavy, uncomfortable work boots. Your fisherman will love these for wearing around the RV after a long day in hip boots or waders. These shoes are made of very choice leather, and are durable enough to wear around the yard or while doing errands. They take a nice enough shine to wear to church or to nicer gatherings. They love your feet and you’ll love them, hence the name, “Romeo!” Filson makes a luxury model of these for the narrower foot.
At a little less than $200, you can get a really durable smoker. I like the models sold by Smokey Mountain. I got mine at Costco. They come in a huge variety of models, from relatively small to giant rigs you can tow behind your RV and be the hit of any campout! My smoker will easily handle 30 pounds of fish, and I even use it on Thanksgiving and Christmas to smoke up a turkey or goose for the holidays. The flavor is amazing. Smoke up fish at a big gathering and you’ll have lots of new friends dropping by to share a bite and give you pointers. These models run off propane, are easy and are lots of fun to use.
For about two hundred to five hundred bucks, you can get a great fishing rod from Loomis or a fine, top-of-the-line reel from Shimano. Both companies (and the stores where you buy their products) will be glad to provide gift certificates, and both companies firmly back their products. I’ve used all kinds of gear and find that my fishing hours are greatly enhanced by the fine rods and reels I have in my collection. I still screw up and lose a lot of fish, but I can’t blame my rods and reels! (Actually, that may be a mistake!)
What are we giving for presents this year? We’re sending out a little bit of our catch. During the fall, we pick a lot of wild mushrooms. (I’ve taken several classes and have some idea about which ones are good!) We take pictures of ourselves picking them, dry the mushrooms, and send little bags of the delicacies with recipes and photos of us picking them in the field. We also take similar pictures of me with a few big fish. We make labels from the pictures on the computer and put the labels on cans of the fish that we’ve had smoked and processed. For a few bucks we have a nice selection of outdoor goodies that are personalized from the Ellsberg family.Research Campgrounds, Plan RV Safe Routes & Turn your phone into an RV GPS.
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