Although the holiday season might give you a warm and fuzzy feeling inside at the start, shopping for that special angler in your life can begin to feel like a holiday root canal. Stores are populated with boisterous children and fake Santas, and the stench of eggnog gone south doesn’t exactly make last-minute shoppers think they’re “walking in a winter wonderland.” The best advice: Get in and get out! But what will you buy for that fisherman on your list – the angler who seemingly has everything? Countless options abound, and if you’re one of those shoppers who feels like there are just too many choices, don’t worry – Salt Water Sportsman’s editors have distilled the field down to 10 items that are sure to bring a smile to your favorite angler’s face this holiday season.
Accurate has built a reputation for making some of the best saltwater fishing reels on the market, and their newest offering – the Boss Extreme – is no exception. This new two-speed reel is available in 30 and 50 wide models and is perfect for standup fishermen that need plenty of strength, power and durability in a small package. Both feature Accurate’s patented TwinDrag and AccuCast systems, stainless-steel gears and Class 5 ABEC bearings. All of those integral parts are housed in machined 6061 T-6 aircraft aluminum for added strength. The shaft and gears are made of 17-4 stainless, maximizing pulling and cranking power at critical stages of the big-game fight. With 30 pounds of built-in drag and standard harness lugs, these reels are ready to snap in for the long run, starting at $629; www.accuratefishing.com
Customizing your boat gets expensive – fast! But an innovative new system of interlocking mounts and accessories from Burnewiin will let you get the most out of your boat and your wallet. The heart of the system is a universal fitting that mounts in the boat’s gunwales like a traditional, flush-mounted rod holder. The heavy-duty locking component allows boat owners to accessorize with rod holders, fender cleats, knife holders, bait-table mounts, downriggers and even barbecue grills, so the same holder that’s housing your grouper-digging rod at sea can also hold your grill when you’re back at dockside. Mounts start at $53 (nylon) and $169 (stainless steel); www.oceanequipment.com.
The Leatherman multi-tool – celebrating its 25th birthday – is no stranger to boats, tackle bags and chest waders. The Leatherman company is celebrating this milestone year with a special 25th Anniversary Wave Multi-Tool. Polished to a mirror finish, the Wave features Tim Leatherman’s signature and the 25th Anniversary crest. If you think this might be of interest for someone on your shopping list, act fast! They are available in a limited edition that includes a stainless-steel handle and body along with two locking blades, needlenose and regular pliers, wire cutters, wire strippers, various screwdrivers, scissors and more. $105.00; www.leatherman.com
Tie One On**
Most guys might cringe when they open the Christmas wrapping to reveal yet another piece of neckwear for their collection – unless it’s from Shep and Ian at Vineyard Vines. For the last 10 years, the brothers have made a name for themselves turning out cravats decorated with popular gamefish species like bonefish, tarpon, sailfish and marlin – popular with everybody from fishermen to politicians, including former Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Now Vineyard is branching out with belts, sandals, shorts and more apparel choices for men, women and children, inspired by angling life on Martha’s Vineyard. Ties start at $75; www.vineyardvines.com
The most prestigious member of the Sperry Topsider family is undoubtedly the Gold Cup line, and the newest member of that family – the Gold Driver shoe – fits in perfectly. Constructed from stain- and water-resistant leather, this shoe is both rugged and comfortable. Stylish laces are held in place by 18k-gold-plated eyelets that resist corrosion even under extreme marine conditions. The interior is made from genuine deerskin with a triple-density memory-foam footbed that conforms to your foot, providing all-day comfort. The outsole consists of Vibram nonmarking rubber pads with trademarked Wave Siping slits for added wet or dry traction. $150.00; www.sperrytopsider.com
At It Again**
Through his countless features, columns, photos and books about our sport over the past 50 years, SWS Field Editor Lefty Kreh’s smile, wit and all-around knowledge of fishing have touched us all to some degree – even if you don’t know it. His latest book – Casting With Lefty Kreh – is perhaps the definitive tome on the art of fly casting. This is one of those books that you won’t want to stash on a bookshelf but rather showcase in a place for all to see. Lefty believes fly casting should be nearly effortless, and in this book he explains over 40 casts with the help of more than 1,200 color photographs by Jay Nichols. He also includes practice and teaching tips for everyone from the novice to the expert. $59.95; www.stackpolebooks.com
Lethal Candy Cane
Evade is a newcomer on the fishing gear and apparel scene – and it’s a company that operates on the principle that change brings about revolution. Evade’s gaff alone gets this point across. The shaft comes in your choice of exotic hardwoods; the 8-inch hook and handle are made from highly polished 316 stainless steel; and each gaff is individually numbered for the collector. The company also has a distinctive line of clothing. Both long-sleeve and short-sleeve T-shirts from the Alpha series are made from ultrasoft, 100-percent ring-spun cotton that is comfortable on and off the water. T-shirts start at $18; gaffs retail for $1,250. www.evadearmor.com
Anyone who has fished a busy deck knows that a quality set of bibs are worth their weight in gold. The Albatross model from Aqua Skinz is loaded with features that make the bib both durable and functional. The rugged PVC outer shell is lined with heavy cotton twill to keep you dry and warm on the nastiest days. All seams are heat welded and sewn from the inside, offering additional protection from the elements. Multiple pockets with stainless-steel grommets and Velcro closures allow for safe storage of pliers, leader material, rigging floss and just about anything else you need at hand. The upper-chest and boot entries are gusseted, ensuring a perfect fit. Best of all, the Albatross bibs are cut generously, allowing anglers to layer clothing on chilly days. $125; www.aquaskinz.com
Whether it’s Scarface, The Godfather or The Big Lebowski – everyone has a movie that holds a special spot in their collection. Tarpon is definitely a must-have film for any serious angler. Conceived by French filmmaker Christian Odasso, the documentary follows him and his co-director, Guy de la Valdene, on a tarpon expedition to Key West in 1972. After seven weeks of shooting, the footage was taken back to Paris and edited in 1973. The duo decided not to release the film – and for years, bootleg copies were coveted by many a fishead. For the past 35 years the original film lay untouched until Odasso’s daughter saved it from a leaking barn. The film combines commentary by famous sporting authors and artists, including Tom McGuane, Jim Harrison and the late Richard Brautigan, and interviews with legendary Keys tarpon guides, including Woody Sexton, Bob Montgomery, Page Brown, Steve Huff and Gil Drake, who capture the essence of the early days on the front lines of tarpon fishing. Tarpon is available on dvd for $34.95; www.thebookmailer.com
Whether keeping ballyhoo fresh or drinks cold, a good cooler is a critical piece of equipment for anglers. Frigid Rigid’s new Tackle Center Cooler combines all the advantages of a 100-quart cooler that can keep ice for up to two weeks with a six-drawer, fully enclosed tackle center, which is mounted on the “set-back” portion of the cooler top. It’s perfect for tidying up the deck or reducing clutter in the cockpit. Constructed from solid fiberglass and high-density foam insulation with a gelcoat finish, this multi-tasker measures 33″ wide x 24″ deep x 25″ high. Special modifications easily transform the Tackle Center into a stand-alone seat or leaning post. It comes equipped with custom slides so it can be stowed in a recess and then pulled out and secured at your convenience. $1,595; www.frigidrigid.com