Got an angler on your holiday shopping list? Don't panic. Fishermen (and fisherwomen) are easy to please and always in need of some new gadget, tackle or gear. Whether your budget is small or large, the perfect gift is out there.
Of course, every angler can use another fishing rod and reel. But if you want to go beyond the obvious, here are some gift ideas that are sure to put a smile on the face of your favorite angler.
Prices are approximate. Depending on your bargain-hunting skills and the brand you buy, you may pay a little more or a little less for your purchase, but this should get you in the ballpark.
* Stocking Stuffer -- Needle-Nose Pliers ($8): There are never enough of these handy tools around.
* The Practical Angler -- Fighting Belt ($15): When the big one puts up a big fight, strap this on and hang on tight.
* Just What You Needed -- Harpoon ($50-$200): Any serious halibut hunter needs a harpoon to end the fight and hoist the fish on board.
* You Owe Me For This One -- Handheld GPS ($150-$300): Pinpoints favorite fishing holes and helps navigate home in the fog.
* Stocking Stuffer -- Swedish Pimple ($3-$5): One of ice fishing's all-time best lures. There's always room in the tackle box for a couple more.
* The Practical Angler -- Thermos ($15-$30): Keeps the coffee hot when the weather and fishing are not.
* Just What You Needed -- Utility Sled ($30-$60): Easy way to lug poles, bait, chairs, auger and all the other essential gear across the ice.
* You Owe Me For This One -- Power Ice Auger ($250): Makes drilling through four feet of ice a cinch.
* Stocking Stuffer -- Fishing Flies ($2/each) and Fishing Box ($15): Replenish stocks lost to the river last year.
* The Practical Angler -- Fly Tying Kit ($30-$80): Something to do in the winter.
* Just What You Needed -- Fishing Vest ($20-$200): Pockets keep even the most scatterbrained angler organized. The wide range in price reflects the variety of styles and brands.
* You Owe Me For This One -- Breathable Fishing Waders ($70-$500): Much lighter and more comfortable than neoprene. Well worth the investment.
* Stocking Stuffer -- Kwik Fish ($5-$6): Pick out one that catches kings and this gift will go in the hall of fame.
* The Practical Angler -- Dry Bag ($20-$50): Keeps clothes, camera, cell phone and other essentials dry even in the worst weather.
* Just What You Needed -- Landing Net ($100): Big fish need big nets.
* You Owe Me For This One -- Winter King Charter ($450/2 person): Break up the winter fishing doldrums with a day trip out of Homer and a chance to eat fresh salmon.
* Stocking Stuffer -- Fillet Knife ($15-$30) and knife sharpener ($10-$20): A sharp knife can't be beat when the catching is over and the cleaning begins.
* The Practical Angler -- Cutting Board ($30-$60): The bigger the better.
* Just What You Needed -- 70-Quart Cooler ($60): Makes it easy to store fish on the beach and transport back home.
* You Owe Me For This One -- Dipnet ($150-$200): Homemade contraptions work fine, but a professionally built dipnet saves time and won't likely need as many repairs.
* Stocking Stuffer -- Polarized Sunglasses ($15 and up): Blocks the sun, helps locate fish and protects eyes from hooks and weights.
* The Practical Angler -- PFD ($25-$50): Get one that's comfortable and it's more likely to be worn.
* Just What You Needed -- Digital Camera ($50-$125): Needs to be small enough to fit easily into a pocket.
* You Owe Me For This One -- Breathable Rain Jacket ($200-$300): Makes fishing in Alaska's unpredictable weather much more enjoyable.
Still stumped? Here's one last idea for the angler in your life that has everything -- the fisherman's toilet seat ($50). The transparent PVC seat comes with fishing flies or replicas of antique lures molded inside.
Or, another rod and reel is always useful.
Tony Lewis is an avid fisherman who lives in Kenai.
Tight Lines appears on the third Thursday of the month over the winter. Weekly fishing reports will return in May.
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