Since I started writing this column back in 2007 I have written about holiday gift ideas every year but usually I wait until a week or two before Christmas when many people have already taken care of their shopping list. Over the past week I’ve gotten messages from several people looking for gift ideas for their significant other who is interested in outdoor activities and since we have all of the hot Black Friday deals happening this week, let’s get after it.
Everybody likes a gift that they can use right away so if your buying for someone who likes to hit the ice then you can’t go wrong with ice fishing gear. There are lots of options here to cover the entire price range from lures that cost a couple of bucks to shelters that could run you a couple of grand. For lures, you can ask the employees at the local tackle shop for the latest and greatest. The main challenge to enjoying a day on the ice is staying warm so quality socks, gloves, long underwear, headwear and boots are all important. I bought a new gas auger a couple of years ago and my pal Bryan Gustafson from LOTW Sports Headquarters told me that I should consider getting an electric one. I barely listened to him, even though I should have, bought the gas auger only to have a guide trip days later where my guest had a new electric model. I used it and immediately realized that I had made a mistake. Electric augers have come a long way in recent years and are much lighter, quieter and simply easier to use. Not to mention you don’t have to mess with hauling gas around. Get an extra battery for the units we have now and you’re good to go for a day of fishing where you can drill as many holes as you want.
There seems to be fewer people out there who want to do meat processing for hunters so more people are turning to doing it themselves. A meat grinder makes it easy to make burger, from which you can make sausage with the help of a recipe for the flavour you want. Going down this road, knives, wrapping paper, cutting boards and meat containers are all handy. A smoker could be used to make some of the smoked meats that many enjoy. Earlier this year my wife and I got a present for each other – a propane fuelled Ooni pizza oven that we have really enjoyed. It gets extremely hot and makes the best pizza you have ever had in about two minutes. It took us some time to figure out a few of the tricks to using it but it’s been fun. Makes amazing pizza.
We might have to wait for open water fishing but there are always new products coming out that we want to have when the new season starts in the spring. New lures are being released all the time for all species of fish. The tackle shops usually know the stuff that works because they don’t want to carry products that are gimmicky and not going to sell. If you are unsure of the latest or greatest, you can ask the store staff for the best musky, bass or walleye lure. If your special person likes to fish in tournaments, ask their partner for a good lure to get for a gift.
If you really want to spoil somebody you can spend anywhere from a hundred bucks up to a couple of thousand on fishing rods and reels, electronics, good rain gear, nets or boat accessories. If you have kids that might have a tough time staying occupied for the entire day, an Aqua-Vu underwater camera will keep them busy for hours. You simply drop the camera over the side, let it down to the bottom and start watching the show. They’re so fun to use in clear water and work well out to around 35 or 40 feet.
If you are struggling to find a good gift idea, reach out to friends, fishing or hunting partners or as I mentioned already, the staff at the local outdoor shops for some ideas for your special person. Happy shopping and yes, I have a gas auger for sale!