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BRIAN JOHNSON ON OUTDOORS: Just because ‘I love you,’ here’s an outdoors gift

Every year I write a list of Christmas gift ideas for fishermen, duck hunters, bow hunters, and the avid outdoorsmen.

With Christmas still being several months away I thought that those lists would be a little premature. However, it doesn’t hurt to give someone a gift out of season, not for a birthday, anniversary, or holiday, but simply to say “I love you.”

For today, let’s think about the fisherman or fisherwoman in your life. I mean it has been a long and hot summer, they work hard, and they deserve a little something special.

Here are a few gift ideas that will surely put a smile on his or her face and give you some extra brownie points for the future:

1. A new fishing reel
Not a cheap ordinary reel but a good one. This isn’t the time for an on-sale combo but rather the time to pick something special. Throw in a few extra dollars and get a reel that will become his or her favorite. Buy one that they have probably wanted for a while but wouldn’t spend the money on themselves. In order to get the right one, you might talk with their fishing buddies or take a stroll by the reel counter and ask them if they could have any which one would they pick.

2. A fishing net
As a bass fisherman, my fishing net is an important asset in the boat.

The pros on TV lay down on the deck while reaching over to lip their trophy bass and hoist them into the boat. While this looks great for television, I can promise that I’m not interested in trying this in my boat for several reasons. First of all, I am not as limber as I once was and if I lay down in the boat, I may be there a while. Secondly, I have no desire to stick my hand in a mouth full of hooks while the fish is still swimming.

When picking a net, there are several options. The better ones are telescoping so that the length can be adjusted and the netting is rubber or plastic to avoid hook tangle.

3. Tackle box
A girl can never have too many shoes or purses and a fisherman can never have too many tackle boxes. These come in various shapes, sizes, and configurations and all have their special purpose. I have never met a tackle box that I didn’t like. Some prefer the soft sides while other prefer the hard shell, but they will all put a smile on any fisherman’s face.

4. A new fish finder
Also know known as depth finders, fishing graphs, chart plotters, and probably a few other names that I am missing. These units range from small screen to large screen and from cheap to get a loan in price.

They are a must on every bass boat. Several are equipped with GPS and can be used to mark spots as well as aid in navigation. Lowrance and Hummingbird are the top two brands, but Garmin, Ray Marine, and a few others make nice units as well.

Most bass boats have one on the front and one at the steering wheel, so if you are going to upgrade for your fisherman, you will need to decide which one you will be replacing. It is generally a good idea to stick with the same brand since there is a learning curve when changing brands.

These are just a few ideas that are sure to put a smile on any fisherman’s face. The Bible teaches us to “make the most of every opportunity.” My thoughts are this … if you have a little extra cash and can give someone a gift that brings a smile to their face, brightens their day, or makes them feel loved and appreciated … you should do it.

After all … “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Brian Johnson, originally of Port Neches, is pastor of First Baptist Church of Winnie, owner of DuckDogTrainer.com and outdoors writer of The News.