If you are wondering what to put under the Christmas tree for the angler in your life, you need not look far. No matter how much fishing gear this individual may already have, there is always room for an extra rod, reel, spool of fishing line, set of hooks and sinkers or some other piece of equipment essential to the great sport of fishing.
First on the wish list will certainly be a new rod and reel suited to this individual’s preferred type of fishing. Coastal and offshore fishing embrace a wide assortment of rods and reels for specific situations, and freshwater fishing offers its own unique opportunities, whether it be on a lake or along a mountain stream.
Continuing down the list are all the other goodies, such as hooks, line, sinkers and so on, all of which are essential to a successful fishing outing. So let’s take a look at some fishing gear and other stocking stuffers Santa may wish to place under the tree for the lucky angler.
Freshwater anglers in Southern California generally look for a lightweight reel for trout, bass and catfish. A spinning reel, which uses a collapsible wire to wind up fishing line, is the most common type of reel used in inland waters and coastal bays, including anchorages in the Channel Islands. Spinning reels range from very small trout rigs to larger reels for fish weighing in excess of 20 pounds.
If the angler is experienced in coastal fishing, this individual will always appreciate an extra high-quality spinning reel. It is common practice to have two rods with spinning reels, each with a different weight of line, ready to be put into action, depending on the size of fish anticipated.
A small spin cast reel, perfect for kids and handy even for adults, can be mounted on a light rod for fishing in the shallows around Isthmus Cove or White’s Cove, Catalina Island. With a press of a button at the back of the reel while casting, the user has absolute control over how much line is to be released without having to worry about untangling a bird’s nest of nylon filament. You can choose from a variety of sophisticated engineering marvels among spin cast reels, which take much of the hassle out of fishing.
Many freshwater anglers and ocean fishers as well use a fly reel, which requires a great deal of finesse and practice to master. For fly fishing, the angler uses a narrow reel with thin, woven line attached to a small fly consisting of a hook and feathers to attract fish. The fisher waves the handcrafted fly over the water to attract the attention of fish, then drops the fly on top of the water, inducing fish to chomp on the embedded hook.
Fly fishing is a complicated sport demanding a high level of talent, skill and determination. For a quick introduction into the art, watch Brad Pitt’s masterful performance on the Blackfoot River in Montana in “A River Runs Through It.”
In the same manner as fishing reels, rods are designed for specific weight ranges. A lightweight rod allows the user to feel slight vibrations from small fish weighing less than five pounds, as found in a calm lake or shallow stream. A heavier rod is the preference of deep sea anglers who can sometimes reel in tuna and yellow tail weighing more than 100 pounds.
Rods can be made of any one of several different materials: fiberglass, graphite, composite and bamboo. Fiberglass rods are relatively inexpensive and they come in every size imaginable from long, ultralight fly rigs to short, chunky deep sea rods tipped with rollers for heavy-gauge line. If your angler is planning on doing some offshore fishing, a fiberglass deep sea rod is indispensable.
Graphite rods have gained in popularity in recent years because of their lighter, faster action, particularly in lake, river and coastal bay fishing. They are also quite flexible, which is great for sensing smaller fish when they sample the bait.
Bamboo is the choice of many anglers who enjoy the old-fashioned feel of fighting fish with a natural substance. The combination of strength and the sturdy, stiff feel of a bamboo pole make this an enduring favorite among many Southern California fishers.
Choosing the right type and weight of fishing line will help round out the perfect Christmas ensemble for your angler. For the majority of us, nylon monofilament line is adequate for most types of fishing. The downside, as many know, is that nylon stretches, sometimes to the point where it becomes unusable.
One obvious solution for worn-out nylon fishing line, of course, is keeping a large spool of extra line in the tackle box. Another tack is using braided line, which has virtually zero stretch. However, knots made with braided line tend to unravel, unlike nylon, which tends to stay knotted so well it is easier to cut than unravel.
Tackle boxes range widely in size and complexity. A small box the size of a paperback novel can hold a handful of small hooks and lead sinkers. At the other end of the spectrum, a large box on wheels has space for an extensive assortment of hooks, lures, lead sinkers, spools of different sizes of fishing line, a sheath knife, a scaling tool and on goes the list.
Any one or combination of these items can make great stocking stuffers. A fish knife-scaler in a leather sheath always makes a nice gift for an angler. You can find a fish knife constructed of a rust-resistant alloy with a rubber safety sheath at most tackle shops for under $20.
Holiday gift options within the world of fishing gear are boundless. If possible, find out what the angler really needs, and explore the options at your local chandlery or tackle shop while supplies last!