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Holiday gift ideas for an angler  

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So it’s getting to be that time of the year when you contemplate what exactly it is that you need as an angler and upon being prompted, divulge it to those whom are looking out for you. If you haven’t decided, here are some ideas to cover all your bases.

1. Go premium
Waders wear out. That is just what happens. The key is to get a pair that will last the longest, because in the end, it’s cheaper to buy a pair every couple years, than buy the cheapest pair once or twice a season. Between June, when I bought my Simms Headwaters stockingfoot waders, and today, I’ve fished three weeks each in both Alaska and California. The GoreTex front keep sharp rocks from scraping gashes and feisty thorns out of your legs, unless you really get tangled. They are more expensive than cheaper materials, but GoreTex is GoreTex and after repairing the two pinholes I’m once again bone dry.

2. Lighten up
I always thought that buying anything lighter than a 4-weight was too specialized or a waste. Once I considered that many of the fish I caught were smaller than 14-inches outside of some bigger water, I convinced myself to try a 1-weight. I went with a Sage TXL-F and have not been disappointed. Small ball is the way to go on smaller mountain creeks and plenty of rod builders have their own version of the fun rod to do it with.

3. Tie it for yourself
If you haven’t already, get into fly-tying. I am far from an expert, but I love tying. I keep myself to the simple patterns - Prince, birds nest, pheasant tail, some streamers etc, but few things calmly conclude a day like some whip finishes. Most fly shops carry starter kits, but be ready to replace some of the equipment if you end up finding tying is for you. A good vise is vital, so is a quality bobbin so your thread doesn’t keep breaking while you are securing hackle.

4. Get your read on
You can’t always be fishing, you probably don’t have enough material to be always tying, so there is plenty of time to read. In the past year I’ve been put onto some great books. Most are available online and can be received and finished by Christmas. Here are a few:
The Longest Silence - Thomas McGuane
The Angler’s Coast - Russell Chatham
Another Lousy Day in Paradise - John Gierach
If you’re into some outdoors, but not fishing, and haven’t read The Grizzly Maze by Nick Jans, it’s a great read with plenty of conversation points.

5. Somewhere to go
Rainbow trout live all over the country, but there is a palpable difference between Stanislaus River rainbows and the brutes of the Alaska Peninsula. Yeah, I know asking for a week on Lake Iliamna catching 30-inch rainbows might be a bit much to ask for this holiday season, but maybe something like four guided hours on the lower Sac with a guide from the Fly Shop, or a weekend at the Clearwater Lodge on the Pit River might be perfect. Northern California has some fantastic fishing for large rainbows and browns, not to mention steelhead on the Trinity, Klamath and other coastal rivers. Seeing those rivers in a new light under the guidance of a pro might just be the perfect gift this coming Christmas.


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