Gift ideas for the angler

At this time of year, it is quite common for me to get messages from friends and their significant others as they begin their Christmas shopping campaign.
Usually I wait until a week or two before Christmas to write this column, but since I started getting a few of these messages last week, I figure I can throw some ideas around for everybody now since most people should be starting to think about finding gifts.
Last week I wrote about the Aqua-Vu underwater cameras and how they were a fun tool in my boat this past year; they are a great gift for an angler who does not own one.
When it comes to other electronic items for fishing, there are a few good ones.
Fish finders that include GPS systems are the norm today and they continue to improve with higher-quality mapping of large lakes like Lake of the Woods and Rainy Lake, brighter screens, faster operation, and advanced sonar capabilities.
I have been using the Humminbird Helix machines the past couple of years and love them. They also come in a variety of sizes to fit any budget.
For ice anglers, flashers–a fish finder for ice-fishing–are a must have. They show you your lure and any fish that are beneath your hole.
I’ve used one of these machines for more than 20 years, and rely on them so much that I would rather do something else than go fishing if I did not have one. They make ice-fishing a lot more fun in my opinion.
They have relatively simple technology and you can expect to get years of use out of one.
Do you need a flasher to catch a fish on the ice? No, but they help a lot!
New products always are popular gift ideas and a good way to go if you really want to impress somebody. The hot new ice-fishing lure for this year is the Northland Glo-Shot Spoon, which comes in three sizes and will catch both walleye and crappie.
It is a flutter-style jigging spoon with a small capsule in the centre of it that easily can be changed out to provide a unique glow underwater. We tested these spoons last March on Lake of the Woods and they worked well.
Shimano, meanwhile, has re-designed the popular Curado baitcasting reel for 2018. This is its flagship reel in that it has been around since the late 1980s.
It is a higher-end reel that a lot of tournament anglers use. I got one to try out this past season and was really happy with it.
There also is a new line of Curado rods that feel amazing, though I have not fished with them yet.
When it comes to lures for open water, asking around at your local tackle shop is a good way to find a hot lure for whichever species of fish the person you’re shopping for likes to target.
Simply ask what the hot lures are for bass, musky, pike, walleye, or whatever the species might be and these folks will be able to hook you up. Lures always make great stocking-stuffers!
In our part of the world, we are faced with all kinds of adverse weather conditions, especially for anglers who fish during all seasons. Quality clothing can make trips much more enjoyable.
This goes for rain gear, winter jackets and bibs, hats, and gloves.
For anglers who fish a lot in the summer, sun protection is important so the buffs that protect your face and neck are really popular, as are gloves to protect the tops of your hands.
Unfortunately, skin cancer is a real thing and these items really are growing in popularity.
Hopefully, you can pluck an idea or two from this column for the angler on your Christmas list.
Look for some ideas for the hunter in next week’s column.