Where has the year gone? It seems like only yesterday we were anticipating opening day at Lake Lowell, trolling for summertime kokanee, chasing trout in alpine lakes and enjoying the extended smallmouth bass season on warm October afternoons.
Now, only ice fishermen and the bravest of river anglers are getting a line wet in the sub-freezing temperatures.
But the news isn’t all bad. With Christmas just weeks away, we anglers have the perfect opportunity to restock our tackle boxes for 2016. As you embark on your holiday shopping trips, here are a few items to snag for the fisherman or fisherwoman in your life.
Polarized sunglasses ($15-100): These are the bomb. Your ability to see underwater depth and structure makes a huge difference, and makes sight fishing an absolute blast. Fishing sunglasses have a knack for getting lost, so even if your angler already has a pair, he or she will appreciate the backup.
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Fillet table ($60-150): For those who like to keep their catch, the fillet table is a game-changer. Cleaning fish guts off your countertop — and the dirty looks that come with it — will be a thing of the past. Many tables have a faucet hookup so you can connect to a hose and do all your dirty work in the backyard.
Zoom soft plastics ($4-6 per bag): Soft plastics are a staple of any bass tackle box, and Zoom lures are my favorite. Plastic worms, frogs, lizards, crayfish and minnows catch fish, and because they work so well, you need a good supply to restock your chewed-up offerings. The perfect stocking stuffer.
Marine motor oil ($5-10 per quart): It’s not a sexy gift, but it’s affordable and practical. If your angler fishes from a boat, he or she will surely love it.
Idaho fishing license ($25.75): You’ll have to give cash or buy a gift certificate (available at any Idaho Fish and Game office) because adults must be present to purchase or renew their licenses. What a great gift, right in time for the New Year. Tack on a two-pole permit ($13.75) or a salmon/steelhead permit ($12.75) and your angler will really be stoked.
Lures and flies ($1-8 apiece): If you know your angler’s favorite lures, nothing beats a stocking full of new spinners, crankbaits, dry flies, nymphs, trolling rigs and top-water plugs. We’re always in need of reinforcements after a long year of fishing.
Gift cards: When all else fails, you can’t go wrong with a gift certificate to wherever your fisherman likes to shop. A disclaimer: Purchasing gift cards inevitably leads to us wandering wide-eyed through the aisles of merchandise for hours on end. You can choose to join us for this giddy shopping excursion or not. Just know that it’s going to happen.
If your loved ones love to fish, save yourself the hassle of sorting through clothing catalogs or fancy electronics this holiday season. Stock some fishing gear under the tree — they won’t be disappointed.
Happy shopping, and tight lines!