If you're looking for the perfect gift for the angler on your holiday list, we’ve got you covered. Here are a dozen gift ideas for an angler, compiled by a lover all of things fishing.
Cleaning fish can be a messy, awkward activity – but totally necessary if you want to eat your catch. A nice cleaning table for the field or deck, or a non-slip cleaning mat for the kitchen counter are game-changing. They certainly beat getting fish scales all over the kitchen or using the uneven tailgate on your truck to clean fish on.
Here are examples of each depending on your use and budget:
Economy: Fillet Away Fish Mat
Deluxe: fish cleaning table (check for lots of options)
A good fillet knife with a long flexible blade can make short work of filleting fish. If the angler in your life has been making due with a kitchen paring knife to fillet fish, they’ll love a dedicated fillet knife.
A little web research, or a conversation with someone at the local tackle store will reveal many options. Here are just a couple of ideas.
(perfect for the angler who really does have everything)
Fish scales can be hard on a knife blade. And using a dull knife can be dangerous to your fingers. A good knife sharpener can go a long ways toward preventing the swearing and cursing associated with using a dull knife.
Pull-through sharpeners are versatile, inexpensive and small.
AccuSharp Gloss Tungsten Carbide 1 Knife and Tool Sharpener
Stones – Stone sharpeners can get expensive and take a bit of practice to master. But, wow, are they nice. They can even give you a razor edge if you work at it.
Powered sharpener – This kind of sharpener takes the guesswork out of shaping your own edge -- the belt will do it [quickly] for you.
Sharp knife + slippery fish = band aids. A good fillet glove will make it easier to hold onto a slippery fish, and protect hands and fingers from the knife’s blade.
If you’ve got a REALLY special angler in your life, a fillet matt/table, knife and sharpener, and glove can make a nifty gift package.
There is definitely one thing a fly angler can never have too much of, and that’s FLIES! And more flies can mean a new fly box to put them in.
Putting together a box of flies is a lot easier if you ask for help at the local fly-fishing shop or sporting goods store that sells flies. These experts will know the local waters – and insect hatches – and can help you compile a box of flies suited to local conditions.
You also can find pre-loaded fly boxes filled with popular patterns. Often these collections are more generic than a box of local favorites, but it also can be a great way to try some new things.
The cost of a loaded fly box will depend on the type of fly box and how many flies you put in it.
Economy: You can buy a pre-assembled assortment of flies, and either gift them as is or load them into a fly box of your choosing.
Every fly angler needs a nice lanyard on which to hang their favorite streamside tools such as nippers, hemostats, fly floatant, tippet spool, tippet threader and maybe even a small fly box. Having all these tools on a lanyard makes them convenient and easy to find, even when standing in the water. Most lanyards have a least five hooks to hang tools from, but some may have more.
You can buy a plain lanyard without any tools on it, or a fully loaded lanyard for someone who’s been more nice than naughty this year.
A multi-tool can help take fish hooks out of fish, fillet fish when you forget a fillet knife, cut line, sharpen hooks, fix battery connections when your boat won't start …. It’s absolutely, positively the most used tool for many anglers.
There are a variety of multi-tools to choose from, including options for almost every budget. Here are just two examples of MANY options on the market:
Economy: Dewalt MT16 Multi-Tool
Not only will this keep an angler honest* but a measuring tape can help them stay legal and earn bragging rights when they get home.
You can find measuring tapes at local hardware and sporting goods stores; they don’t have to be fishing specific. Also a quick search can help you purchase one online.
Deluxe: Rapala Retractable Ruler
A scale will quantify an angler’s bragging rights, while also keeping them honest.* Bass anglers, in particular, find a fish scale useful. You can buy a digital or mechanical scale and, unless someone is fishing for halibut (which are ‘weighed’ by a length-chart anyways), they probably don’t need one that reads over 30 pounds.
*The angler in your life will still exaggerate. It's their duty as fishermen and women.
A net makes landing a fish easier for both the angler and the fish. There are a variety of nets to choose from, and your choice will depend on whether your recipient fishes from a boat or the bank, as well as what they fish for. For example, boat anglers prefer a net with a long handle for reaching over the side of the boat. Salmon anglers will need a far bigger net than anglers chasing small trout in tiny streams. Anglers who catch-and-release their fish, prefer nets with rubber or plastic netting that helps protect the fish.
If this seems too overwhelming, the staff at most tackle and sporting goods stores can help you choose the right net.
Measure net: Measure Net Rubber Net
A cooler is one of those must-haves for a day out on the water – it’s right up there with a multi-tool! A cooler can start the day keeping beverages and snacks cold. And end the day keep your catch cold until you get home.
Top-end coolers can keep ice and food cold for several days, but may be overkill for a day of fishing. Think about size and insulating abilities when selecting a cooler.
A backpack cooler is perfect for anglers who are walking into their fishing spot, or just want a bag they can sling over their shoulder when they’re carrying a load of gear from the car to a boat.
We haven’t even mentioned smaller do-dahs for Christmas stockings or other occasions. Our favorites include premium versions of everyday tools, or replacements for the things anglers lose all the time.
Finally, these suggestions make great gifts to give, but also to receive. If you’re an angler yourself, consider adding some of these to your own gift list.
The mention of specific products is used to illustrate a more general line of products or to demonstrate the range of gear available, and does not does not constitute a product endorsement by ODFW.
Amanda Boyles is the ODFW Angler Education Coordinator.
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