Christmas gifts for the outdoors

In years past, the editors of the newspapers that run The Livewell have asked me to write a Christmas gift idea column.
I’ve done it a bunch of times over the years and to be honest it’s a tough one to do without sounding too repetitive.
The fact is, I could probably make a couple quick changes to a Christmas gift story I did a couple years ago and nobody would know the difference but with everything ending up online these days I don’t want to take the chance that somebody might call me out for taking the easy road.
So here’s a fresh look at Christmas gift ideas for the outdoorsperson on your list.
One thing about people that like to fish, hunt or spend time on the lake, we can never have too much gear.
Because of where we live, quality outerwear is one of the most important pieces of equipment we have to allow us to have a good time when we head out. If we get wet or cold, the trip is not going to be very fun.
Most anglers are tackle junkies so we can never have to many musky baits, bass lures, walleye jigs or ice fishing spoons.
New fishing line is always good to have as well.
For life in Sunset Country, the following are some of my favourite newer outdoor products as well as some must have items for anyone that wants to catch a big fish through the ice.
We all know that the sun can cause damage to our skin so it’s important to stay protected if you are outdoors for long hours over the summer months.
‘The past couple of years it’s rare see me fishing on a sunny day without wearing a light, sun shirt with a hood. These are the thin material, quick drying shirts that are becoming very popular amongst all anglers.
The hood not only protects your face, head and neck, it also helps with eliminating light from getting inside your sunglasses so you can see better in the water, a big plus for bass and musky anglers who rely on sight fishing throughout the season.
Check out the Simms Solarflex Hoody.
Sunglasses are kind of a year-round must have. I’m a big fan of a quality glass lens in my shades and while they’re more expensive, they will last much longer than plastic lens glasses that scratch easily.
For the angler, they also provide eye protection from flying lures when your buddy makes a wild cast.
Sunglasses should be worn for this reason alone any time you are fishing.
I’ve been wearing Costa glasses the past couple of years and their new Sunrise Silver Mirror lens, designed for low light or dark days, is awesome. My favourite frame is the Reefton.
For a kid, getting socks for Christmas was always a nightmare but as an adult there are few clothing items I appreciate more than a quality pair of socks.
For fishing and hunting in cold weather, check out merino wool or polyester versions that will wick away moisture better than cotton.
A good pair of socks just fit your feet properly and won’t slide around in your boot.
Most folks won’t buy themselves a good pair of socks, so they are great gift idea.
If I could only have one lure to ice fish with this winter, it would be a Northland Buck-Shot Rattle Spoon.
This spoon has been around for over 20 years now and has put hundreds of walleyes on the ice for me, as well as crappies, lake trout, perch and whitefish.
For walleyes, a ¼ ounce Buck-Shot Spoon tipped with a minnow head is a guaranteed fish catcher, literally all I ever use even though dozens of newer models have come along over the years.
They make a good stocking stuffer for anyone who likes to ice fish. Think 1/8 ounce for panfish and ¾ ounce for lake trout.
Finally, one more item that is a must have for any ice angler and is relatively inexpensive–a tip-up like the Frabill Pro Thermal Tip-Up. These simple fishing line handlers are the best thing to use if you want to catch a giant pike. Rig up a dead cisco on a quick-strike rig, hang it about a foot above the bottom and when a pike bites, a flag will signal the bite.
Not only are they fun, they are the number one way to put a big pike on the ice.
These thermal models cover your hole, slowing down the freezing process and they stack perfectly in a pail for easy transportation.
Happy shopping.