Tis’ the season to start fretting about what to put under the tree or fill that Christmas stocking with for the angler, hunter or outdoors person on your list, and as you know, it’s no easy task to come up with something they don’t already have and will actually use.
What follows are some gift suggestions that would be appropriate for someone either just new to the sport(s), or for that really hard to buy for individual.
When doing your shopping it may help to think in terms of “theme packages,” such as a rod/reel/lure combo for a bass or walleye fisherman, a shore lunch kit (details below) or perhaps some lure or rod making materials.
There are also some new items on this years list, including drones, the ever-widening selection of “wearable” technology, and a source for some great “fish art.”
All of the items suggested are likely readily available either on line, or at most sporting goods stores, so the good news is that you likely won’t hear those dreaded words – “Sorry, it’s on back order.” – or have to go on eBay and pay five times the retail price for an item that has been sold out in every store from coast to coast since October.
I would be more than happy to help you out with your choices, so if you have any questions just drop me a line on either Facebook or through this site.
- The Mackenzie River Guide – A Paddlers Guide to Canada’s Longest River by Michelle Swallow – This beautifully written and illustrated book would make a great gift for any paddler. The book is 112 pages in length, full color and contains 60 river maps. At $34.95 it is an excellent value and you can order your copy at: www.mackenzieriverguide.ca
- Fish Art by Nick Laferriere – Hailing from British Columbia, Nick has taken “fish art” to a new level, and his works would make a stunning addition to either your home and/or office Click on this link to see and purchase his art: https://nicklaferriere.com/store/
- Gift Cards – When all else fails get them a gift card from their favorite sporting goods store. They make excellent stocking stuffers, and who doesn’t like going on a shopping spree.
- Outdoor/Sport Watch – A piece of “wearable” technology is something every outdoors person can use. Regardless if they are a runner, cyclist, hunter, pilot, golfer or angler, with so many kinds available, you should have no difficulty in finding one within your price range that has all of the features they will most appreciate.
- Sonar or Sonar/GPS Combo – No fisherman should be without one.
There are plenty to choose from that should fit within every budget. Check out: Lowrance: www.lowrance.com - Humminbird: www.humminbird.com or Eagle: www.eaglenav.com to find the unit that would be right for your favorite angler.
- Rods and Reels – Whether they are into fly-fishing, casting or spinning, a new rod or reel will never go amiss. You may want to think about putting together a rod and reel combo, and many stores have a number of combo’s already made up to save you all the fuss and bother.
On the other hand if you would rather choose for yourself, go to any of these sites for specific product information: Daiwa: www.daiwa.com - Shimano: www.shimano.com - St. Croix: www.stcroixrods.com - G. Loomis - www.gloomis.com - Sage: www.sageflyfish.com and Orvis: www.orvis.com.
- Optics – Consider a pair of binoculars, a spotting scope or a range finder for the boater, hunter or golfer on your list. Some of the better names in optics include Zeiss – www.zeiss.ca and Bushnell – www.bushnell.com
- Polarized Glasses – It really doesn’t matter what sport you are into, a good pair of quality-polarized sunglasses are a must. Some of the better brands to consider are Oakley: www.oakley.com Costa Del Mar: www.costadelmar.com, Ray Ban: www.ray-ban.com and Bolle: www.bolle.com
- Rain Gear – It ‘s important to consider how often and under what conditions they will be using their rain gear. Does it matter if the material is breathable, or will something more basic do the job? Prices can range from as little as $50 for a very basic rain jacket and pants to well over $300 for the high tech stuff that will keep you dry in a typhoon.
Wetskins, Columbia, together with the Bass Pro and Cabela’s “house” brands, offer a wide range of choices at various price points.
- Rod or Lure Making Equipment – If they already make their own rods and lures then you can either order some materials or get them a gift certificate from their favorite components dealer. Otherwise this might be the right time to get them started on a new hobby, and to help them along most places that sell components have plenty of “how to” videos free for the downloading.
My favorite store is the Mud Hole. They have a great selection, prices and fast shipping. Find out more by going to: www.mudhole.com
- Fillet or Outdoor Utility Knife – Whether for filleting fish, field dressing game, or just having a knife handy for utility purposes one of the finest, and I would suggest most appreciated gifts would be a custom made knife.
Prices are generally reasonable, and two of the best knife makers I have come across are Eric Seguin: http://www.eseguin.com/index.php/en/styles and Ron Post from South River, Ontario: www.postknives.com.
For a listing of other Canadian custom knife makers go to: http://www.worldknifedb.net/eng/canadaknifemaker.htm
If all you are looking for is a basic fillet knife, those made by Normark/Rapala – www.rapala.com - are an excellent choice, and very reasonably priced.
Cabela's also offers a very good fillet knife that is made for them by the WUSTHOF cutlery company.
- GPS – An invaluable tool for the hunter and fisherman alike. They come in a wide array of handheld and permanent mount models. You can get a very basic unit for around $100, or you can spend a lot more, depending on how much you like the intended recipient!
There are also topographic and hydrographic map cartridges available for many of the units.
- Plastic Utility Boxes – Versatile and inexpensive. Fill a couple up with lures and pop them under the tree or into their Christmas stocking.
- Lures – Remember no one ever has enough lures, so sneak a peak into their tackle box to see what they like, and then load up their Christmas stocking.
- Tackle Box – If you have gone out and bought them boatload of lures, they may not have enough room for everything in their old tackle box.
To see what types of tackle boxes or tackle systems are available, go on line to either: Bass Pro Shops: www.basspro.com or Cabela’s: www.cabelas.com. Both company’s also provide online product information assistance in case your having trouble deciding.
- Weigh Scale – For those anglers who may be somewhat prone to exaggeration, a new weigh scale will take all of the guesswork out of determining just how big that fish really is.
Rapala/Normark – www.rapala.com - make a good digital scale. For the more serious angler a scale by Chatillon: www.chatillon-scales.com may be in order. These quality scales are International Gamefish Association certifiable, and come in a variety of sizes.
- The Cabin 14 Ultimate Shore Lunch Cook Book – Featured in both Cabin Life and Lake Simcoe Living magazines this book is filled with delicious, guide inspired and filed tested recipes, this book will provide you with everything you need from advice on choosing the ideal location, gearing up to step-by-step instructions on how to create the Ultimate shore lunch experience.
Field tested recipes include Lemon Wine Walleye, Honey Cajun “Sweet Fire” Fish Nuggets, and Chili/Lime Stir Fired Trout, as well a number of tasty sides, such as Hush Puppies, Warm Potato Salad and “Drunken” Fried Rice.
- This book is available for $4.99 from the iBook’s store: itunes.apple.com/ca/book/cabin-14-ultima...ch/id939300950?mt=11 - or Google Books: tinyurl.com/m2pl6xe.
- Fishing or Hunting Trip – Just watch their face when they open this one. While hunting trips tend to run several days or a week, fishing trips tend to give you a few more options. You can book them a day trip (see Guided river trips below) or one that lasts a few days or a full week.
But if you really want to leave them slack jawed, consider booking them the fishing or hunting adventure of a lifetime through Plummer’s Arctic Lodges at: www.plummerslodges.com
For a listing of lodges and outfitters within Ontario go to: www.fishingontario.com or www.huntinginontario.ca.
Another good source of information is iWantToFish: www.iwanttofish.com - an international sport fishing destination-planning site.
- Tim Horton’s Gift Card – These will always come in very handy on the trip to and from their favorite fishing hole or hunt camp.
- Boat Accessories – There are all manner of accessories available for the boater. For example, consider replacing their old bulky life jacket with a comfortable inflatable PFD, some new padded seats or an electric trolling motor. Both Cabela’s: www.cabelas.com and Bass Pro Shops: www.basspro.com carry a large selection of boating accessories.
- If you are considering an electric trolling motor then consider one from Motorguide: www.motorguide.com or Minn Kota: www.minnkotamotors.com
- Field Journal – Give them something they can use to record their outdoor experiences. Journals are available in many styles at any stationary store, and some specialty sporting goods stores do carry versions that are fishing and hunting specific.
- Multi Tool – A must for any outdoors person. These versatile tools are great for doing any type of minor repairs while out in the field or around the house.
The Swiss Army folks also have a multi tool called a Swiss Tool. For more information on Swiss Army Products go to: https://www.swissarmy.com/ca/en
- Yeti Cooler – If keeping things either cold or frozen for an extended period of time at the fish or hunt camp is important, then you cannot find a better cooler than a Yeti.
While fairly expensive when compared to other coolers, they are built to last, dry ice compatible and some models are even bear proof. I have two of them, and when using dry ice they keep my food frozen for up to a week.
For more information click on: www.yeticoolers.com or http://www.cabin14.ca/blog/product-reviews/item/94-chilling-with-a-yeti
- Knife Sharpening System – There is nothing worse than tying to fillet a fish or dress your game with a dull knife.
- Fishing Accessories – Even fishermen have to accessorize, and by accessories I mean things like a line stripper, hot line cutter, hook removers, jig eye busters and line nippers to name just a few.
The folks at Normark/Rapala: www.rapala.com and Berkley: www.berkley-fishing.com have some neat accessory kits, but if you are buying for a fly fisherman, then the gadgets and gizmos available know no bounds.
If you have a fly fisherman on your list and prefer a specialty store, Wilson’s: www.canadasflyfishingoutfitter.com is worth a visit.
- Shore Lunch Kit – This can be a great gift to get the kids working on. None of the items suggested are very expensive, and everything can be found either at a dollar, grocery or sporting goods store.
- Items to Include:
- 2 – 12” cast iron frying pans
- Medium size pot with lid
- Plastic egg holder
- Plastic bottles with screw tops in assorted sizes for oil and spices
- Cutting board
- Fillet knife
- Coffee pot
- Zip lock style bags in various sizes
- Clean up kit (soap pads, j-cloths, small bottle of dish soap and a couple of dish towels)
- 4 each of plates, bowls, coffee mugs, knives, forks and spoons (consider buying ones made out of lexan plastic as they are light and durable)
- Metal egg flipper
- Can opener
- Medium size metal serving spoon
- Paper towels
- Roll of aluminum foil
- Grilling basket
- Cooking grate and/or propane burner
- Cabin 14 Ultimate Shore Lunch Cook Book
- Garbage bags including some smaller ones to store the frying pans in
- Matches in a waterproof container, and
- A good quality plastic tub to put everything in – well most everything - because it’s unlikely the grate or propane burner will fit, unless you come up with a box that is too large to carry!
- Waterproof Camera – Don’t leave home without one!
Olympus, TG4 or TG860: www.olympuscanada.com
Lumix by Panasonic: http://shop.panasonic.com/search?q=waterproof%20cameras and,
Pentax WG series: www.ricoh-imaging.ca
While some of these cameras do allow you to take HD videos, another option for taking excellent HD videos is the GoPro: www.gopro.com
- Waterproof/Shockproof Equipment Case – It always amazes me how many people go out in their boat, or into the field with their expensive optics and other equipment packed away in a plastic bag or just stuffed into their pocket, and while their equipment may be waterproof, they are never drop proof.
Therefor, to protect their valuable equipment, consider buying them a waterproof/shockproof equipment case, and in my opinion, the very best available are those made by Pelican and Nanuk.
The Custom Case Company in Ottawa, ON: www.customcaseco.com/pelican_ca.html carries a full line of Pelican and Nanuk cases and has very fast delivery.
- ThermaCELL Heated Insoles – Do you know someone who is always getting cold feet? Then these wireless, re-chargeable, and remote controlled foot warmers, will keep their feet warm and toasty while in the boat, blind or tree stand: www.thermacell.com
ThermaCELL also make a number of interesting mosquito repellent devices as well.
- Hand Held Bug Zapper – Tired of being pestered by bugs? Well, this is the opportunity to exact your revenge on all of those nasty critters. While there are several zappers on the market, the best, hands down is the Executioner – Makes a great stocking stuffer! For a review of this product go to: http://www.cabin14.ca/blog/product-reviews/item/99-the-executioner
- Camp Chef Expedition Stove – If you have someone on your holiday list that loves to camp, the Camp Chef Expedition stove will be a welcome addition to they’re camp kitchen.
With each burner generating 30,000 BTU’s of power, and the available 3 burner model, you can prepare a full meal in an hurry for just about any size group.
For a review of this product, please go to: http://www.cabin14.ca/blog/product-reviews/item/97-:the-camp-chef-expedition-3x-triple-burner-stove or you can see their full product line at:
- Custom Crafted Wooden Fishing Boat or Canoe – This suggestion is not as off the wall as it may seem at first.
For over 90 years B. Giesler and Sons Boat Works, in Powassan, Ontario, Canada, have been building beautiful, hand crafted wooden boats.
Boats start at just over $3000, with canoes starting at around $2100. That’s right – only a little over $3000 for a stunning handcrafted wooden boat.
To see what they have to offer click on either of these links:
- Minn Kota iPilot – Without a doubt this is one of the most innovative and useful fishing products to come along in many years.
Available either as an add on to certain Minn Kota electric trolling motors, or factory installed on a new motor, the angler on your shopping list will not be able to thank you enough should he or she find one of these under the tree.
You may also want to consider the new iPilot Link – which is and integrated GPS trolling system that allows you’re trolling motor to communicate with your Humminbird.
Check it out at: www.minnkotamotors.com
A full product review can be found at:
- Guided River Trip – Treat your favorite angler to fully guided trip on one of southwestern Ontario’s premier rivers such as the Maitland, Big Head or the Saugeen, where they can fish for Steelhead, Smallmouth Bass or even Musky.
For further information and to book a trip, contact either Ken Collins at Grand River Troutfitters: www.grandrivertroutfitters.com or Mike Verhoef at Fly Fitters Guided Fishing Adventures: www.flyfitters.ca
- Hook, Line and Spear: The Ice Fishing History of Lake Simcoe - A rare, now out of print book by Beaverton Ontario resident Robert Kirk chronicles the fascinating history of ice fishing on Lake Simcoe. Hook, Line and Spear:
The Ice Fishing History of Lake Simcoe treats the reader to an informed, in-depth look at fishing through the ice from its earliest days to the present, and contains a number of excellent historical photographs as well. A great gift for any ice fisherman interested in the history of the sport, or for that matter history buffs with an interest in Lake Simcoe.
Fortunately, a limited number of first addition copies are available at: http://www.fishinglakesimcoe.ca/directory/bookstore.html
- Ice Fishing Gear
Here are some of the hottest items available for your favorite “hard water” fisherman.
Portable Ice Huts:
Fish Scaler for Panfish:
Tumble Drumm Fish Scaler: http://www.cabelas.com/product/Tumble-Drumm-Fish-Scaler/700809.uts
Aqua VU Underwater Camera AV Micro 5c: http://www.aquavu.com/Products/Aqua-Vu-New-Underwater-Cameras/AV-Micro-5c
Ice Auger Cordless Drill Adapter:
Ice Master: http://www.icemasteradapter.com/
- Drones – This latest “Techno Toy” comes in all shapes, sizes and price ranges. Many have built in HD cameras, some are GoPro ready, while others will interface with your smart phone or tablet, thereby letting you see what the drone sees in real time.
They are great for finding game, and if the water is clear enough, can help you to locate fish as well.
- Headlamps - A great way to light things up without having to fumble about with a traditional flashlight.
There are many styles and brands available, with one of the best being the Petzl Tikka RXP intelligent headlamp. See it in action at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXNXYj_px7o
- Electronic Maps – Navionics offers a wide range of marine and lakes maps for tablets and smartphones: http://www.navionics.com/en/navionics-plus