I guess today is “Cyber-Monday” or something like that. “Black Friday” has already come and gone; I celebrated by going fishing (more to come on that later). Today I am celebrating “Cyber-Monday” by being back at work and finally writing this blog post. I am convinced this whole Christmas shopping phenomenon proves that at some basic, “primordial” level we are all hunters or anglers. Think about it, folks, women mostly, urbanites, who have never spent a day sitting over a spread of decoys, or stalking the 30-point buck, or casting for a trophy muskie will lose sleep in anticipation of rising well before dawn to venture forth and find unknown rewards lurking in store aisles. If they are lucky, they will arrive seconds before the next hunter/shopper to bag the biggest or last bargain. As they stand in checkout lines with their trophies, they will breathlessly whisper stories about the big one that got away, the bargain they missed, the “hot bite” over at some store across town. Many will never admit it, but if you listen to them they will describe their Christmas shopping experiences with the same passion and excitement that I have when telling you about the last big fish I caught or my last hunt.
Still not convinced? Predator species have eyes in the front of their head–binocular vision is really handy for tracking and capturing prey. Prey species have eyes in the sides of their heads–a wide field of vision is really handy for avoiding big, bad predators. Now, look in the mirror. . . . Where are your eyes? And they are located there to make it easier to find the best bargains??????
So, in the spirit of the season, let me fire off some quick gift ideas specifically for anglers. If you have been reading my blog recently, I already made some suggestions in the past couple of weeks, http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/blogs/2011/11/net/ , http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/blogs/2011/11/camera/ . Here are some more thoughts. . . .
All anglers need clippers, pliers, forceps, side-cutters, jaw-spreaders, gloves, hook sharpeners, etc. If they already have those items, any angler can use spares because they wear out or are easily dropped in the lake or lost. Recently, I was looking around Rapala’s website and they have some great gift kits that include all the tools an angler would need; for example, http://rapala.createsend1.com/t/ViewEmail/y/C3100F6E866F4328/6E15ADD810DCFAD5DCC9454293137CA2 . Spend some time looking around there and you will see lure kits that also would be great gift ideas and many of those gifts even come with Rapala gift boxes! While you are on the Rapala website, there are a bunch of fillet knives and electric fillet knives that would make excellent gifts or check out the Rapala apparel. No, I am not sponsored by Rapala, but yes, I am a huge fan of their products. You could say I have purchased a few Rapala baits over the years.
Every angler I know would appreciate something that Rapala has to offer in their stocking this Christmas.
Rods, reels and baits/lures
Having said what I just did about Rapala products, let me caution you about buying rods, reels and baits. Most anglers have definite preferences and features that they are looking for in rods, reels and artificial baits or lures. Unless you know your potential gift recipient who likes to fish very well, you would probably be better off giving them gift cards to purchase rods, reels and tackle box stuffers.
Reel cleaning kit
On the other hand, every angler should spend at least some time each year cleaning and tuning their reels. There is a reel cleaning product that has caught my eye that would make a great holiday gift for any angler–Ardent’s Reel Cleaning Kit.
Every angler needs a good pair of sunglasses. There are a million styles and it is a matter of personal preference when it comes to selecting which is best. So, pick your favorite brand and style, but make sure they are POLARIZED. Polarization reduces the glare of light reflected off of water and can actually make it easier to see into the water. Lens color is again a matter of preference but green and gray colors are probably best for all-around use while oranges are better on cloudy days and yellows are best for seeing objects and fish in shallow water. Yes, I wear polarized sun-glasses at all times while on the water fishing, even when it is cloudy. The polarization helps me see into the water and watch my line, and it is also a good idea to wear the sunglasses at all times while fishing just in case some hook or weight comes flying back at your face. Again, even if your favorite angler already owns a pair of polarized sunglasses this is another item that is easily busted, scratched, lost or forgotten–an extra pair would be appreciated.
Inflatable Life Jacket
Another safety-related item that would appreciated by any angler, especially boat anglers, would be an inflatable life vest. There are a number of inflatable life jackets on the market now and they come in different styles and colors. Prices have declined in recent years so they are affordable for most Christmas shopping budgets. All of the inflatables are lightweight and easy to wear; they are not cumbersome nor uncomfortable at all. I would tell you to purchase an inflatable life jacket for your loved one who likes to fish and then make them promise to wear it at all times while on the water! That would be an excellent Christmas gift idea that could save someone’s life!
DVD’s and Magazines
Again I am not sponsored by anyone, but if you have read my blog for any length of time you should know that I am a huge fan of In-Fisherman, and all of their products. I will flat out guarantee that you can find at least one of their DVD’s or books that every angler you know would profit from, https://store.intermediaoutdoors.com/brands.php?brand=INFISHERMAN .
Hopefully we will have enough ice for ice-fishing in the next few weeks. First ice is often extremely slick and every angler needs a good pair of ice creepers. There are a lot of styles you can find at the local sporting goods store, but my favorite is no longer made. Right now the best ice creepers I know of are these, http://www.kahtoola.com/microspikes.php or these, http://www.kahtoola.com/crampons.php . Go a little large on the sizing as most ice anglers wear some sort of insulated pack boot that is extremely large. You might as well get the handy stuff sack while you are at it.
Permits and NEBRASKAland
I would be negligent in my duties as an employee of the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission if I did not mention hunting, fishing and park permits. You can go on-line and purchase permits for others, just make sure you know personal details like height, weight, eye color, date of birth and social security numbers. Consider lifetime permits as special gifts perhaps for kids or grandkids. If you buy them a lifetime fishing permit, it will be good for the rest of their life, even if they move from Nebraska at some time. We even offer lifetime permits for non-residents now!
Almost everyone will need a 2012 park permit or two, and while you are at it, take a look at the NEBRASKAland gift catalog, http://shopoutdoornebraska.ne.gov/AspDotNetStorefront/c-36-gift-catalog.aspx . Also keep in mind subscriptions to NEBRASKAland magazine, http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/nebland/subscriptions/nebland_subscribe.asp . If you like my rambling, you can read more of it in NEBRASKAland from time to time!
There are a lot more gift ideas and I will probably think of some more as soon as I post this. Anyway, “good luck”, hope you bag your biggest gift bargain this holiday season. When you do, remember you are a hunter/angler at heart!