Helping to fill an angler’s tackle box with some of the hottest lures can be a daunting task, but if you’re thinking of a really welcome Christmas gift then it would be tough to go wrong with the following hot picks for a variety Ontario’s species. We broke down our suggestions for both open and hardwatertackle boxes. These lures are great stocking stuffers or gifts coming in at around $10 or less.
Budget Priced Items
Open Water Lures
- The Rapala Trigger X Flutter Worm can be rigged weightless either and wacky or Texas style and is extremely effective for both shallow largemouth and smallmouth bass – especially early in the season. A couple hot colors in 2015 included black/blue for largemouth and green pumpkin for smallmouth
- The Storm Arashi crankbaits have been a real favorite for bass, pike and even perch ever since they’ve hit the market a couple of years ago. I was fortunate enough to test out their newest deep diver with promising results. The standard 10 foot model continues to be very productive but the Arashi Deep 18 and 25 should be great additions for deep bass and pike in 2016
- Rapala X Rap and Shadow Rap: Two jerkbaits that Simcoe’s bass, pike and perch find hard to resist. I have at least one of these tied on to my rods from opening day to closing, all season long.
- Storm Chug Bug and Arashi Top Walker: The Chug Bug is an old favorite that has been around for decades and the Top Walker is new on the market. The Chug Bug pops on the surface to create lots of noise and vibration, while the Top Walker zig zags its way to drive fish crazy below. Both are primarily bass baits, but pike will attack them as well.
- The Storm WildEyePro Paddle Tail series of soft baits can be productive for pike, bass, and even laker.
- The Matrixx Series of spoons are very lifelike and feature a holographic eye and come with a Nickel Plated finish that lasts. They’re great for casting or trolling for lake trout and northern pike To find a Rapala dealer near you or to shop online, just visit www.rapala.ca
Ice Fishing Lures:
- HT Marmooska Tungsten Deluxe Ice Jigs: Tungsten sinks much faster per volume than traditional lead. For yellow perch that like deeper water this can be the ticket to success on a cold winter’s day when the perch bite is hot below the ice.
- HT’s ChatterSpoon: For perch the 1/4 oz chartreuse glowcolor is tough to beat and the 3/8 oz model in silver/black is a lake trout favorite while the 3/8 oz size in gold does it for whitefish. These spoons have a built in rattle that help bring fish below your hole.
- HT’s Alien Jigs are one of my all-time favorite winter perch jigs. Tipped with an assortment of soft plastic creature baits or a couple real live maggots, they are hard for Big Jumbo’s to resist.To find the closest HT dealer near you or to shop on line, visit www.icefish.com
Wil With a Simcoe Jumbo Perch
Mid Range Gift Ideas under $100
Rapala 50lb Touch Screen Weigh Scale: This extremely accurate digital scale adds ease and convenience to weighing and tracking your catch. It’s easy on the fish for a quick release afterwards and will run up to 400 hours on two AA batteries.
HT Deluxe Tackle Tote: Every winter I am seeing more and more Ice anglers who have these carrying cases to hold all of their ice rods and reels. There are three zippered storage compartments for tackle and accessories and it comes with a handy carrying strap as well.
HT Arctic Fusion TX Spinning Combos:This line of specialty ice fishing rods come with ultra-smooth, three bearing anti-reverse reels. These rods will be a hot item this winter. They feature the new Total Touch Handle engineered to enhance the transfer of even the most subtle lure movements immediately from the line to the blank- and right thru to the user’s fingertips by keeping them in direct contact with the blank itself. Combined with E-Z ice-out guides, these lightweight, single footed rods come in various lengths and actions to suit the variety of species we have on the lake.
For the avid outdoor enthusiast I’ve chosen my three favorite books of 2015 that I’m sure will make great Christmas gifts
Do Fish Fart? Although this new locally produced book is geared for kids 7-12 years old, I know plenty of adults who couldn’t help reading it from cover to cover. As they sheepishly laugh at many of the 200+questions provided by school kids aroundabout Lake Simcoe, they and the target audience are sure to learn a thing or two from the answers provided (many of the fish-related questions I was happy to answer). Ladies of the Lake was instrumental in putting this book together with net proceeds going towards the Ontario Water Centre. You can find out more and order the book at www.lakesimcoekidsbook.com
Fish, Frogs, and Fireflies is written by award winning outdoor writer and friend Robert Montgomery. It’s a series of short stories by Robert and 13 others that’s suitablefor all age groups. The stories are not necessarily all about fishing but are related to the great outdoors and lessons that can be learned from first hand experiences. If you’re like me, you’ll read most of these stories with a big smile on your face.You can order a hard copy or e-book at: www.fishfrogsfireflies.info
The Cabin 14 Ultimate Shore Lunch Cook Book is written by avid angler and outdoorsman Harold Ball. Although it’s based on years of cooking various fish-centric dishes and sides in exotic, often secluded shore-based locations such as Great Bear Lake NWT and the Coppermine River in Nunavut, these sumptuous meals can easily be transferred to locally caught fish such as lake trout,walleye, whitefish and even perch. This electronic fishing cookbook can be purchased on: iTunes, Google Play or here.
High End Gift Ideas
HT Polar Fire Sabre FX Ice Auger
Starting at under $400 these units are some of the lowest priced gas ice augers found in Canada. I’ve used the two cylinder version with great success for the last two long, cold winters … easily cutting thru some of the thickest ice Simcoe has seen in over a decade.
• See-through gas tank to easily view fuel level
• Centering ring creates a smooth-edge hole
• Blade protector and muffler guard for added safety
• Ultra-comfortable foam grip handle and throttle control
High-performance, four-cycle 35CC engine models are also available
Wil Relies on his HT gas auger to cut thru event the thickest ice
Guided Fishing Trip: Heels Recreational Fishing Services located in Innisfil offers both open water and hard water excursions that cater to the angler who just wants to go out onto the lake, have some fun, learn about electronics, discover new techniques and catch a few fish. Everything is supplied by your host,Lake Simcoe veteran year round anglerGerry Heels.Regardless of whether you are fishing from his bass boat on any number of lakes when the water is liquid or in one of his portable ice huts on Lake Simcoe (and even a few other lakes) when the water’s frozen, this unique experience is sure to create fond memories. You can set up a guided trip for the angler(s) of your choosing ranging from $200-$400 at: www.heelsrfs.com
Gerry Heels (right) gets his clients on fish and teaches them a thing or two along the way
An HT Portable Ice Hut: HT makes huts of all sizes and shapes but the POLAR FIRE XTREME TX 2 or 4 person shelter would be tough Christmas gift to beat. It’s insulated with Polar TX for maximum heat retention and comes with a carry bag and carry straps. There are 2 zippered doors for easy in and easy out. These and other HT ice huts can be bought or ordered at Canadian Tire and are in the $300-$400 range.
Lowrance HDS-12 Gen3 Insight Fishfinder/Chartplotter with StructureScan HD: For those willing to spend about $4,500 towards the ultimate Christmas gift for your favorite hardcore angler then look no further then this high tech sonar and mapping unit available at Radio World. Features include built-in CHIRP sonar which delivers the finest target resolution and noise rejection available for perfect arches that clearly identify fish targets below and around your boat!Also includes free Insight Genesis maps, automatic softwear updates, Multi View, DownScan imaging, Multi Touch Screen and keypad and chart sharing. Of course the 12.1inch wide screenwith full color is like looking at a mini- flat screen TV in HD.
Lowrance Elite-5CHIRP Ice Machine: Currently on sale at Radioworld for $665.00, this 5” portable fishfinder/chartplotter unit is perfect for Lake Simcoe ice anglers. It combines the advanced CHIRP technology of the Gen 3 open water models with DownSacn imaging and a built in GPS antenna. It has advanced processing, multi-window display and is microSD memory card compatible. Radioworld is located at 4335 Steels Ave in Toronto and carries the most complete stock of sonar units at the lowest prices that I know of anywhere in the province. Staff are all trained professionals and their before and after service is why so many anglers and boaters from southern Ontario and beyond have developed a bond with this store and its staff.