Given the virtually endless array of tackle and accessories available to holiday shoppers, choosing gifts for friends and family can feel like a downright daunting undertaking. To banish seasonal stress and speed your search for the perfect presents, In-Fisherman offers the following rundown of gift-worthy items sure to please even the most discriminating beneficiaries on your holiday shopping list.
ANGLR Tracker—Now you can seamlessly record every location, catch, and condition with the world's first rod-mounted technology. The new ANGLR Tracker uses smart sensors to detect casting, reeling, hooking, and fighting while you enjoy the day. Paired with the free ANGLR App, Tracker captures the details that matter behind every fishing trip. Login to my.anglr.tech to access your personal dashboard and get minute-by-minute statistics to recognize key patterns of success.
Abu—With a compact design, rugged-yet-lightweight machined aluminum frame and side-plates, and seamless Carbon Matrix drag system, Abu Garcia's Ambassadeur Morrum ZX-3600 ($499.99) is a stellar gift idea in the round baitcasting reel department. It's loaded with 10 stainless steel HPCR bearings plus 1 roller bearing, and features an Infinitely Variable Centrifugal Brake, plus Infini II spool design for extended castability and performance even under extreme loads.
FishHunter—FishHunter Directional 3D is the World's Most Powerful Wireless Portable Fish Finder! Simply cast or toss your FishHunter in the water, connect to your smartphone/tablet, and you can find out exactly what's going on below the surface. It is amazingly precise due to its 5 powerful tri-frequency transducers that have the power to reach and analyze depth as shallow as 1.4ft up and up to 160ft. FishHunter 3D provides anglers with unique sonar view options including Directional Casting, Bathymetric Mapping, 3D Mapping and Ice Fishing. With a Wi-Fi range of up to 150ft, it's the only accessory every angler needs!
Berkley—Berkley offers a host of great softbaits, lines, rods, and accessories that are crowd-pleasers under any tree. The Angler's Head Lamp ($29.99) is an economical standout for anyone on your list who wants hands-free lighting for nocturnal fishing adventures. It's also handy for working on engines or anywhere else a little extra light is a plus. Runs on three AAA batteries and features five LED lighting modes (including white, red and UV) with pivoting head design.
YETI—The Hopper Flip 12 ($279.99) features a HydroLok Zipper and wide-mouth opening that makes for easy loading and access to your food and drinks. The cubed shape makes it easy to haul and store just about anywhere.
Costa Del Mar—They make a number of fine fishing sunglasses, but the lightweight, nylon Fantail is an all-around favorite. Available with glass ($229) or plastic ($169) lenses in a variety of colors, the Fantail blocks 100 percent of UV light for maximum protection, while 100 percent polarization kills reflected glare and reduces eyestrain. Features include a non-slip Hydrolite lining that keeps the shades in place without you having to push them up your nose every other cast.
Frabill—The 6-Gallon AquaLife Bait Station ($109) remains one of the finest options for keeping a prodigious supply of minnows alive and lively. The quiet-running, removable AquaLife diffuser spews a steady stream of micro bubbles, saturating up to 10 quarts of water with bait-saving oxygen, boosting baitfish survival rates. Also features heavy-duty insulated liner to banish drastic temperature changes that can make minnows go belly up. Runs on two D batteries or via 12- and 120-volt power adaptors (120-volt adapter not included).
Garmin—Garmin raises the bar in watches aimed at anglers and other watersports enthusiasts with the quatix 3 Marine GPS Smartwatch ($599). Its navigational toolset lets users load routes, mark waypoints, and navigate to fish-holding hotspots, and includes a dedicated MOB hotkey for safety. The durable watch has a sunlight-readable color display with LED backlighting, and offers a 3-axis electronic compass, barometer, tide tables, fishing app, solunar calendar, activity tracking, and number of multisport functions. You can also wirelessly stream NMEA 2000 boat data such as depth, speed, and temperature from onboard electronics, and even remotely control a Garmin VIRB action camera or other compatible electronic devices.
Lindy—Lindy's Fish Handling Glove ($28.09) is made with armor-like SuperFabric material that protects hands from water hazards including razor-sharp teeth, fins, gill plates, hooks, line, and wire leaders — as well as fillet knives at the cleaning table. A full 800 percent more puncture resistant than competitive fishing handwear, the Fish Handling Glove also resists absorbing fish odors and is machine washable for easy care.
Mitchell—The Mag Pro R spinning reel ($89.95) is a smooth operator, thanks to 10 stainless steel bearings plus instant anti-reverse and carbon-fiber drag system. An innovative Bail Halo Rotor spools line evenly and reduces twists, while the carbon-infused body, aluminum spool and handle, and internal stainless componentry increase durability and corrosion resistance.
Plano—The time-tested Guide Series boxes tame tackle, making you a more efficient angler. While new additions arrive on retailers' shelves in spring of 2017, the trustworthy 3500 Series Tackle Bag ($52.99) remains a great gift for anyone interested in stowing an assortment of baits and lures. The softbag features a top-mounted ProLatch StowAway storage box to organize frequently used tackle, while an additional set of boxes down below can be called up whenever needed. Other amenities include a waterproof base, rear mesh pocket with adjustable elastic, and easy-open, dual-compartment side pockets — there's even a pair of padded pockets for stashing sunglasses and other valuables.
Rapala—Renowned for crafting fish-catching lures, the company's Ion Cordless Fillet Knife Combo ($149.99) is a great option for cleaning your catch as well. The combo includes a cordless knife, two lithium-ion batteries offering 80 minutes of runtime each, 6- and 7½-inch reciprocating-style blades, and wall charger — all tucked neatly into an EVA padded storage case.
Seaqualizer—For releasing catches not destined for the cleaning table, the SeaQualizer ($55) is an innovative tool designed to help fish recover from the effects of barotrauma when pulled from deep water. The pressure-activated device clips to the fish's jaw, then is lowered to a depth where pressure pops the mechanism open, allowing the fish to swim away. In-Fisherman Editor Steve Quinn says the SeaQualizer is ideal for physoclistous species such as walleyes, perch, crappies, and bass. In other words, fish that lack a connection between the swim bladder and digestive tract.
Shakespeare—You can tailor gifts to friends' and family's favorite fish with Shakespeare's Ugly Stik Species Specific Rods and Combos ($39.95-$79.95.) The rod lineup includes sturdy sticks for catfish, crappies, stripers, and walleyes, all with Ugly Tech construction, Ugly Tuff one-piece stainless-steel guides, and updated cosmetics. Catfish and striper rods also feature a rubber gimble butt cap. Combo options include spinning setups for catfish and crappies, baitcasters for catfish, walleyes, and stripers, and spincasting gear for catfish.
Weego—Modern anglers are wired for 220 and their accessories need power, too. The Weego 44 jump-starter ($149.99) is capable of cranking gas engines up to 7 liters in size and diesels up to 3.5 liters on boats, trucks, ATVs, and other vehicles when starting batteries fail. Adding to its handiness, the Weego 44 sports a USB port for quickly charging phones and other devices, plus a 12-volt output for powering a variety of electrical accessories such as air compressors and other gear. As if that weren't enough, the unit also serves as powerful, dual-LED flashlight, complete with strobe and SOS capacities. If you're still not sure whether this little number merits inclusion on your holiday shopping list.
Gifts For The Hardwater Crowd
Cabela's—For recipients in the Ice Belt, Cabela's roomy new 6' x 12' Six-Person Hub Ice Shelter ($299.99) delivers a full suite of hard-fishing features, including a 600-denier shell, gear loft, oversize snow skirt, internal anchor system and rigid 11mm solid fiberglass poles with heavy-duty hubs.
Eskimo—Not to be outdone, Eskimo expanded its popular crossover line — which blends flip-over portability with the space of a pop-up — to create the new EVO 1iT ($389.99) and EVO 2iT ($519.99). Both portables incorporate Eskimo's innovative IQ (insulated quilted) fabric into the roof and rear panels to hold heat and limit condensation.
Big Tooth Tip-up—Tip-up fans will appreciate Clam's Big Tooth Trophy Thermal Tip Up ($24.99). The insulated, round tip-up prevents holes up to 10 inches in size from freezing fast. Features include a protected, insulated foam liner, high-vis flag, large-capacity spool with low-temperature lube, adjustable shaft, and handy six-compartment tackle box.
HT—Another solid tip-up option is HT Enterprises' PTUI-50D Polar Tip-Up ($14.99). HT improved its time-tested, freeze-proof Polar Tip-Up design by adding a "quick-change" interchangeable spool system that allows ice anglers to swap spools by simply spinning a wing nut.
Frabill—Arguably, nothing says you care more than lifesaving apparel like Frabill's I-Float Suit, which keeps the wearer warm and could save their life. The jacket ($299.99) is a U.S. Coast Guard certified personal flotation device with articulated elbows, while the bibs ($249.99) add flotation and elevate the legs, reducing fatigue while aiding self-rescue.
MarCum—Camera buffs will enjoy the Recon 5 Systems. The Recon 5 and Recon 5 Plus ($299.99-$429.99) feature 5-inch, high-resolution, color LCD flat-screens, plus 1/3-inch CMOS sensors, darkwater LED and infrared lighting, and 110-degree fields of view. Both cameras come with charger cable, soft pack, and camera sack. The Recon 5 Plus also features a built-in DVR and can perform bonus functions.
Northland Fishing Tackle—The Tank Warmer ($6.69) is a fun, fuel-saving stocking stuffer that increases the life of 1-pound propane tanks up to 35 percent by keeping the propane warmer than surrounding air — thus maintaining optimal pressure for vaporizing. The warmer's 4mm HRI "Heat Retention Insulation" core deserves much of the credit, although the durable 3mm neoprene exterior helps the war effort by soaking up sunshine and transferring heat to the tank.