By Mark Schram, Myfishingpartner.com
1. Costa Del Mar Sunglasses
By far my favorite sunglasses for use on the water or in the truck. They look great, are very durable, and give me an edge on the water. When selecting a pair of sunglasses for any angler on any water, always target polarized lenses. The polarized glass reduces glare from the sun and the water (especially calm water), allowing for clearer and crisper vision. Ultimately, an angler can see deeper into the water column, providing an advantage when sight searching or netting fish. Costa offers an excellent repair department should something become defective for a minimum fee of $11.95 with their limited lifetime warranty. There are so many choices in frames and lenses, they seem limitless, including prescription lenses. Standard pricing option run from $159-$269 each.
2. Local Guided Trip
The best way to learn a body of water is to hire a guide — Tap into the local knowledge base on the body of water which you target. Even on the worst day of the year, a good guide will teach you techniques, locations, tactics, and season movements of fish. Try to keep your guide trips intimate, limiting the number of participants. Fewer people on your trip will allow for more teaching opportunities, and your guides will be more focused on you. While most anglers expect to catch “a fish of a lifetime” on every guided trip, it is not realistic to have this expectation. Once in a lifetime fish are precisely that – rare. The selection of your guide as a gift is critical. Do your homework, get recommendations, and always go beyond social media pages. Most importantly, be able to let the guide know what your objective is (meat for the freezer, trophy hunting, technique learning, location identification, etc). Cost: Highly variable by the guide, length of trip, and tip amount.
3. Shimano Evair Marine Shoes
I own four pairs of these shoes, and I live in these until the snow flies. These shoes are comfortable and allow the anglers to walk into the water to load a boat without taking their shoes off exposing their feet to the boat ramp, zebra mussels and any another foreign substance. The shoes are designed to allow the water to flow out the sides, and they dry very quickly. Additionally, they have a removable insole for extra quick drying. Very lightweight, but with comfortable arch support which becomes a three-season gift. Multiple colors to choose from when ordering. They are also TSA friendly! Cost: about $50
4. Crankbaits, crankbaits, and more crankbaits
There isn’t an angler alive that doesn’t want another crankbait as a gift. Let’s face it, just about every predator species of fish will chase a crankbait, and outside of live bait is often the preferred choice of bait in fresh water. Over the last ten plus years, custom painted lures have proven to increase catch rates especially on highly pressured waters. Custom products are exponentially more expensive than the standard store-bought options; however, they tend to provide better replications of forage in specific lakes. For example, Lake Winnebago has a healthy population of trout-perch, so specific paint schemes marked with purple hues are incredibly effective on this body of water. Costs are approximately double versus the base colored lure. Photo credit: Rippin-Lips tackle. Adding the Off Shore Tackle crankbait tuner is an added plus.
5. Line Cutterz
Line Cutterzs is a neat little gadget, which I wear as a ring on my finger attached with a Velcro strap. A second style can also be mounted on a kayak, boat or another item with the adhesive back. The Line Cutterz is a double-sided cutter with recessed blades, made from stainless steel used to cut fishing line, including heavy-duty braid without fraying the end of the line. It’s a handy little tool which saves time, especially on tournament day, and makes an affordable stocking stuffer gift. The product is a Shaft Tank item, so you know it has some moxie. Various colors and styles which cost about $14 each from this Wisconsin based company.