Holiday Gift Guide Jeff Simpson - December 09, 2011 CastawayBrainchild of bass legend Doug Hannon, the Microwave guide system on Skeleton Rods incorporates a double-centered stripper guide to subdue line slap and funnel line into Fuji K Series Alconite size 4.5 Micro Guides, which weigh 85 percent less than conventional ones. Taming these loops yields longer, easier casts and fewer line snarls: $179.99 — castawayrods.comDaiwaThe T3 Ballistic is built around Daiwa's exclusive TWS T-Wing SiC casting system. When the free-spool's engaged, the front reel cover rises and the upper portion of a T-shaped levelwind creates extra space for line to freely exit the spool. This reduces friction, yielding long, accurate casts with little effort. When the spool is engaged, the cover closes and guides line into the narrow portion of the 'œT.' It's built with Zaion Carbon for lightweight strength, corrosion resistance, and rigidity. It offers 6.3:1 or 7.1:1 ratios, 5 + 1 bearings, and weighs 7.8 ounces: $249.95. Magforce 3D is Daiwa's top-of-the-line speed demon for casting big lures and handling outsize predators. The 'œ3D' refers to the reel's three operating modes: All Around, Max Brake, and Long Cast. Flip the switch on the bottom of the reel and it automatically adjusts to yield the optimal cast per conditions. Magforce 3D's 7 disc Carbon UT drag has a drag maximum of 16.5-pounds. Two gear ratios — Z200HS at 7.2:1; Z200H at 6.4:1: $630 — daiwa.comGrill GriddleThe Griddle-Q is a heavy-duty griddle that fits on your outdoor barbecue grill. Made of 12-gauge 430 stainless steel, it cleans easily, and has sidewalls, a grease trough, and cross-bracing to prevent bending — 3 sizes (lifetime warranty), $169 to $209. Lightweight version ($69.99) and party-size griddle ($449.99) also available — littlegriddle.comG. LoomisThe old favorite GL2 bass and trout rods, released in 1994, have been redesigned. Engineer David Brinkerhoff notes that new materials have been used to make them lighter and faster than their predecessors. 'œWe also added split-grip handles and an ergonomic rear grip with alternating cork and composite rings for a neat look and comfortable grip. And we flattened the cork rear grip so anglers can tuck them under their arm.' Bass rods are technique-specific, while trout editions are sized for a variety of situations, applications, and personal preferences: $190 to $255 — gloomis.comFenwickBronzebacks are booming and Fenwick has new tools to keep them at bay. Elite Tech Smallmouth Rods (10 models) sport a bronze hue and use high-modulus graphite based on Fenwick's Development System Technology — data from 50 years of rod building research. Titanium frame guides with light Zirconium inserts reduce weight and line wear. A new cork reel seat provides sure grip: $129.95. The Eagle GT line expands with 5 models of salmon-steelhead rods — 3 baitcasters and a pair of 2-piece spinning models. Blanks are multi-laminate graphite for sensitivity, while Hard Chromium Plated guides reduce weight by 55 percent compared to standard aluminum oxide guides: $69.95 — fenwickfishing.comJiffyJiffy augers remain one of the most popular options on ice — dependable, durable, powerful. Back after a year on the market is the Pro 4, a 4-stroke auger that runs on propane. Attach a 1-pound canister and you're in action. A canister is said to be equal to about 3/4 of a tank of gas for a 2-stroke engine. New this season is the 4 G, a 4-stroke gas-powered auger. Both the Pro 4 and the 4 G have 49 CC engines and your choice of 8- or 10-inch drill assemblies with Stealth STX blades — jiffyonice.comNils MasterNils Master, with its Tanaka engine and blade assembly with extra long ramping is said by some to be the smoothest thing on ice. Ramping is the curved blading on the drill assembly, its purpose to funnel ice chips up and away as the auger turns. There are 4.5-, 6-, and 8-inch assembly options that also convert into a hand drill. A new custom-carrying bag is available for the augers, as well as an accessory bag for a cutting head, oil, and tools — nilsmaster.comStrikeMasterSolo engines have proven powerful, fast, and dependable. Last season the 4-stroke Strike-Lite II was upgraded with a Signature Steel Drill assembly with 8-inch Lazer blades. The Strike-Lite is light (23 pounds) and quiet and the new blades keep the cutting head from icing up. New for this season is the Big Volt Electric, designed for cutting holes in wheel-houses. A new two-step blade rips through ice fast and allows reopening iced-up holes. The drill options are 8.25- and 10.25 inches. All the power augers also have new handles, consisting of VANDAR Long Filament High Impact Polyester Alloy for strength and durability — strikemaster.comAqua-VuThe 760cz underwater camera has a 3X digital zoom for focusing on targets, such as unidentified fish or distant cover. The system comes with a 7-inch LCD monitor, Sony color image sensing camera for low-light use, 12-volt 9-amp battery, and carrying case. Its screen displays depth, water temperature, and camera direction, and adjustable lights enable nighttime viewing. A fish-shaped camera comes with 100 feet of cable. With a compact 3.5-inch color LCD and penlight-sized camera, the Aqua-Vu Micro fits into a coat pocket. Powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, it reportedly lasts up to 6 hours per charge. Auto sensing infrared lights engage in low light conditions. Camera optics transmit a video signal to the tiny monitor via 50 feet of 22-pound-test cable. Includes a carrying case — aquavu.com VexilarFish Scout 2000DT is a dual B&W and color camera system that uses optics that compensate for underwater distortion and automatically switches from color mode to B&W in dim conditions. Its 7-inch color LCD monitor displays depth, temperature, and camera direction and has a video-out port. It comes with 80 feet of cable, a 12-volt 9-amp battery, 1-amp automatic charger with status indicator, carrying case, and two over-hole suspension systems for ice fishing. It carries a 2-year warranty and fits in a 5-gallon bucket — vexilar.cominfs-110034-camera-07Fish Scout 2000DT is a dual B&W and color camera system that uses optics that compensate for underwater distortion and automatically switches from color mode to B&W in dim conditions. Its 7-inch color LCD monitor displays depth, temperature, and camera direction and has a video-out port. It comes with 80 feet of cable, a 12-volt 9-amp battery, 1-amp automatic charger with status indicator, carrying case, and two over-hole suspension systems for ice fishing. It carries a 2-year warranty and fits in a 5-gallon bucket. Vexilar also offers the Fish Scout Double Vision systems, which couples a Vexilar flasher and Fish Scout camera in a padded carrying case. Available as a complete flasher-camera system (FSDV20DT), or as a camera and pack only (FSDV01DT), if you want to add your own Vexilar flasher to the system. The ABS internal frame is prewired to accept both a Vexilar flasher and a camera. Double Vision systems includes a 12-volt 9-amp battery, D-130 Battery Status Indicator, and cable arms for managing a transducer and camera cable — vexilar.comQuantumThe Exo PT touts its 'œMetal Where it Matters' construction. An 'œexoskeletal' frame combines rigid aluminum alloy in load-bearing areas with a lightweight composite that reduces weight in non-critical zones. Its frame is reportedly 38 percent stronger than magnesium and 6 times stronger than graphite composite, for a weight of 5.9 ounces. Three gear ratios are available (7.3:1, 6.6:1, and 5.3:1), with ceramic drag systems, 10 + 1 polymer-stainless hybrid bearings, and quick-release side covers: $249.95. Quantum pro Kevin VanDam claims that his new KVD Cranking Classic (TKVDC150PPT) is the optimal crankbait reel. This 7.5-ouncer has a super lean profile and a 5.3:1 ratio for cool cranking. Like the EXO PT, it has 10+1 polymer-stainless bearings and a lightweight carbon-fiber handle — quantumfishing.com Lew'sSince Lynn Reeves took over the brand, lots has been going on — 4 new multispecies rod series and a couple of panfish offerings. Speed Stick SG Rods are built with IM7 Endurance multilayer, multidirectional blanks. Exposed-blank design increases sensitivity and cork split grips cut weight. The line includes 34 models — 17 spinning, including 2 with Tennessee handles (for those who recall what that is!): $79.99. Laser SL and LG Rods range from ultralight to medium heavy. LG rods use IM6 graphite while SL's have 45 million modulus high-strain blanks and have multilayer, multidirectional construction, with premium resins: $59.99 and $79.99. Lew's Tournament SL HM60 rods use 60-million modulus graphite and have 9 or 10 hard aluminum-oxide micro guides, said to be 84 percent lighter than traditional guide sets. They're built with fast tip action in powers from medium light to extra heavy — lews.com Get Your Fish On. Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.