BRIAN JOHNSON ON OUTDOORS — Christmas shopping list for fishermen

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, December 2, 2020

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Now that Thanksgiving is over, it’s time to pull out the Christmas decorations and get ready for my favorite Holiday of the year.

I absolutely love Christmas!  I love the way that my wife decorates our home, I love looking at Christmas lights, I love watching Hallmark Christmas movies, I love spending time with family, I love all of the Christmas events at Church, but most of all I love the hope I have because God sent His only son to pay the price for my sins so that I could be with Him for eternity. Christmas is amazing!
While I must admit, Christmas shopping isn’t my favorite part of the holiday, I do find great joy in giving my loved ones the perfect gift.  However, to be honest, this is hard to do and I don’t always get it right.

This is the reason that I write articles every year that will help you pick out great gifts for the hunters and fishermen in your life.
Today’s list is focusing on fishermen:

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1.  An electric filet knife. 
This is the gift that keeps on giving!  In fact a great electric filet knife will be used for many years to come and will contribute to countless family fish fries. I have owned several during my life, and I can tell you that they are not all created equal. The cheaper they are…. the cheaper they are.  In fact I have even burned a few of the off brand knifes up. When buying one for fish, make sure it has the long, slender, slightly curved blade that comes to a point. This is the traditional filet knife shape and seems to work best.  A good mid range knife is made by Rapala, but the one I’ve had my eye one is a Bubba Blade.  They make both a corded and cordless rechargeable model.  The reviews are great and I think I’d love the rechargeable one so I wouldn’t have to worry about cords.

2. A new fishing reel.
My goodness, have the prices gone up on these through the years!  Believe it or not, there are bass fishing reels that cost over $500! I’m sure these are great, although they aren’t really in my budget.  In my experience, a nice reel typically cost at least $100. The ones that I buy for less than that are OK at first but simply don’t seem to last. Many companies make great products, but through the years, I have had my absolute best luck with Shimano. They have a great value in their SLX line, but my favorite is the more expensive Curado. Keep in mind while buying a bass fishing reel, they come in various gear ratios. A good all around ratio is somewhere between 6.5 and 7.1 to 1.

3. Life Preserver
This is a great gift that every boater is required by law to have. The main types are either the inflatable or jacket style. I prefer the jacket style when running down the lake, but if I’m going to wear it while fishing, the inflatable is less bulky and therefore my top choice.  Since I have a bit of OCD, I like my stuff to match. Remember this when buying a life jacket for your fisherman and buy one that matches the color of the boat! Life jackets come in all sizes so keep this in mind as well. One to big won’t be as safe, and one too small won’t zip or buckle.

4. A custom fishing rod
I included this in my list last year, and I actually got one for Christmas! It was my favorite gift of the year! I absolutely loved being able to pick the color, length, strength, speed, handle material, handle shape, and rod eyes. I was able to customize exactly what I wanted.

In fact, I bought two more for different baits during the year and I’m not done yet!  There are many great custom rod builders, but my preference is Shane Jelsma at Jelsma Rod Co. Shane is a veteran who served our country well, really seems to know what he is doing when it comes to custom rods, and is a great guy.

5. Digital Scale
When I was growing up as a kid, fish scales were called de-liars.

The reason is, they kept you from lying about the size of your fish. I must confess, I always think they are bigger than they actually are!  A good digital scale will keep you honest and help you keep track of your personal trophies. These are also great for tournament fishing when it comes time to cull the smaller fish. Like the electric knives mentioned above, you get what you pay for so don’t buy the el cheapo.

6. Rain gear
If you are going to fish much, you are going to eventually get caught out in the rain. A great rain suit is priceless!  The best combo is a pair of rain bibs and a quality rain jacket. Unfortunately, the goods ones ain’t cheap!

I recently purchased the pro guide series from FroggToggs and I think they are going to work out well.  Expect to pay $300 and up for a complete set.

7. Fishing sunglasses
Not only does a great pair help you look cool, they also allow you to see fish underwater. The polarization on the lenses helps to remove the glare on the water which will help you be able to better see structure and fish beneath the surface. Prices and style vary, but they all work. Here again, you get what you pay for.

8. Garmin Live Scope
This is the latest in underwater sonar technology and actually lets you see the fish clearly before you ever make a cast.

The pro bass fisherman using these units are giving Garmin credit for their victories claiming that they are able to distinguish between fish species and are able to tell exactly what presentation the fish are looking for.

Live Scope seems to make fishing like a video game where much time is spent watching the screen. This product is a game changer and clearly gives its owner a competitive edge in tournaments.

The Live Scope has a $1,500 price tag and must be used with a compatible Garmin unit. If your fisherman doesn’t already have a base unit that will work, these can be purchased from $600 up.

9. Fishing gloves
Here is a great inexpensive idea and one that can also be used as a stocking stuffer. If you fish in the cool weather, these are a must! Don’t worry if your fisherman already has a pair because multiple pairs are great. When one pair gets wet, simply switch to a dry pair.

10. Guided fishing trip
I mean who would not want to go on a guided trip and learn to catch more fish?

These trips are not only fun but educational as well. Trips can be purchased for half or whole day and you can pick just about any lake. Spend the day learning more about your home lake or venture off to a trophy destination like Lake Fork.  The opportunities are limitless and adventure awaits.  The trips are usually for two people so you can even join your fisherman and make some memories.

I hope this helps you with your shopping but most of all I hope you have a great Christmas season!


Brian Johnson is pastor of First Baptist Church of Winnie, owner of and writes about outdoors in Port Arthur Newsmedia.