Cougar Claw spinners catch trout.
Bob Frye/Everybody Adventures.
In some houses Christmas sounds like carols or laughter or wrapping paper tearing.
Then there are fishing households.
In those places, you’re as apt to hear phrases like “be careful casting that in here,” “please don’t hook yourself” and “now I know why they call it stinkbait” as anything else.
But fishing gifts get people outside, usually together, in ways that lead to wonderful memories. And that’s all good.
So this year, consider this fishing gift guide for the angler on your list.
Cougar Claw C2
($4.49, find it here)
Cougar Claw spinners catch fish.
It’s true that the last of the deer hunting seasons aren’t even over yet.
But you know how these things go.
In the time it takes to clean your rifle and put it back in the safe, trout season will be here. Beginning no later than early March, states all across the country will launch their largest stocking efforts of the year. Millions of rainbows, brooks, browns and goldens will be loaded into tanker trucks, driven around the countryside and released into lakes, river and streams, just in time for spring fishing.
So it’s not too early to stock up on tackle.
One thing you’ll want to add to your box is the Cougar Claw C2. It’s an inline spinner with a speckled blade – colored as if someone threw paint at a wall – and a tail that adds flash and movement.
Cast upstream and worked back down, just fast enough to keep it off the bottom, it catches trout reliably. It takes bass and panfish in moving water and still, too.
These weigh 1/8-ounce and come with an extra thick stainless steel wire shaft that resists bending. They’re available in black, white and chartreuse.
AFTCO fillet knife
($69 to $89, depending on size; find it here)
The AFTCO fillet knife is a premium product.
Yes, you can go into a big box store – not mentioning any names, but you know the one – and buy a fillet knife on the cheap.
And if you only cut up a couple of fish a year, that’s probably OK.
But if you prepare a lot of crappies, walleyes or other fish for the table, you owe it to yourself to get a knife that can not only last for years, but perform admirably all the while.
Enter the AFTCO fillet knife.
They feature full tang blades – that means the steel runs the length of the handle – made of 4116 German stainless steel. Often used in medical tools and in the pharmaceutical industry, that’s a steel also renowned for use in professional kitchen knives. It can be sharpened to a very fine edge, then retain that for a good period of time.
The blades are upswept on the end for ease of use and bonded with gold titanium nitride to prevent corrosion, even around salt water.
The handles, meanwhile, are made of textured polypropolene plastic to provide good grip.
These come in three blade lengths, 8, 10 and 12 inches.
Waterproof phone case
($39, find it here)
There was a time when fishing meant carrying a few essentials. A rod, a reel, and some assortment of flies, lures or bait.
The DryCase waterproof phone case just flat out works.
Today, for most people, you can add one more thing: a cell phone.
We all carry them, to take pictures of our catch or, at least, to have for emergency purposes.
But they’re sensitive. You’ve got to protect them.
That’s just what DryCase’s waterproof phone case does.
It’s a clear plastic bag of sorts, but a heavy duty one, that comes with a hand pump. You put your phone inside, then use the pump to remove any excess air.
That makes it possible to use the touchscreen while the phone is in the case. And the plastic is crystal clear so as to not mar your photos.
Measuring 8.5-by-4.5-by-0.5 inches, it fits any phone. It’s depth rated for up to 100 feet for one hour and comes with both a neoprene arm band and lanyard, so you can not only take it fishing, but canoeing, kayaking, paddleboarding, swimming, diving, surfing, or virtually anywhere you’ll be in or on the water.
The case has a headphone and mic jack, too.
($24.95; find it here)
Wooly gloves keep your warm without excess bulk.
It’s a fishing conundrum.
When the weather turns cool and even cold, you want to protect your hands amidst splash and spray and wind and water. Yet you still need to be able to cast, detect bites, work a paddle, or handle your boat.
Wooly gloves by Fish Monkey are the solution.
They’re made of premium breathable wool that can absorb up to 30 percent of its weight without feeling heavy. A synthetic leather palm offers a tacky grip.
Meanwhile, on the inside, the gloves are finished with a soft knit fabric that gives the gloves Fish Monkey’s “second skin” fit.
The result is a snug fitting glove that wicks moisture away, maximizes dexterity and retains warmth even when wet. They come in two sizes: small/medium and large/extra large.
These full-finger Woolies are new to the market.
But Fish Monkey makes a half-finger version, too, for when the weather is slightly warmer. They’re $19.95.
Fishing Caddy Camo XL
($89.95, find it here)
Joe Pippins is an inventor. More important is that he’s a dad, one who wanted his kids to fish with him.
The Fishing Caddy Camo XL is a multi-tool of sorts.
They did for a while. But as they got older they started drifting away. One reason, he figured out, was because fishing was becoming a chore. Each time out they were making so many trips from the truck to the lake and back again, lugging separate piles of gear, that fishing lost its appeal.
Desperate to rekindle their interest, he developed the Fishing Caddy. It’s a 5.5-gallon bucket on steroids.
What it does is allow anglers to carry everything they might need on a trip in one container, then use that same container as a fishing tool itself.
For example, the bucket holds 30 pounds of water. Fill it, then attach the dual rod holder and your rods stay in place even if you get a heavy bite. What’s more, if you use the included rod holder hooks — which are really strike indicators – the bucket tells you a fish is biting even before your rod tips bends.
Want to change spots? A quick release water spigot allows you to drain out the water, restock your bucket with gear and go.
The Fishing Caddy – 18-by-12-by-12 inches – also comes with a padded handle for carrying, padded lid for sitting, and an extra large detachable cup holder.
You also get an LED light attachment and two bright, waterproof LED lights with batteries. Those make this especially handy for things like catfishing after dark.
Catch a Monster
The Catch a Monster series of rods will surely appeal to children.
($14.99, find it here)
Admit it. It wasn’t long after you first held your child or grandchild that you started thinking of taking him or her fishing with you.
Here’s some gear you can use to do just that.
Shakespeare recently released its “Catch a Monster” series of rods. Designed to build excitement and still catch fish, they’re one-piece, 2.5-foot-long rods equipped with spincast reels. They’re considered medium action … for those really big bluegills, I guess.
What makes them attractive to kids is that they comes in four colors – orange, pink, purple and yellow – and feature a fun, cartoonish monster face on the reel.
Add a hook, bobber and weight and each is ready to go out of the packaging.
If you want to outfit your young angler completely, Shakespeare makes matching nets for catching everything from minnows to butterflies and “play boxes,” too. Those are kid-sized tackle boxes that can also hold everything from toys to crayons to hair accessories.
The nets are $5.99, the tackle boxes $6.99.
Fulks Custom Silent Squarebill
($8.29, find it here)
Watch any fishing show, listen to any bass pro at a seminar, read any article in a fishing magazine, and the advice is always the same.
The Fulks Silent Squarebill is a proven fish catcher.
To catch fish, throw your lures around cover.
It’s certainly true, bass, and many other species of fish, relate to grass, wood, rocks, and the like, lying in wait until a meal presents itself.
But when you look at your tackle box, every expensive crankbait in there – the ones you don’t want to or can’t afford to lose to a hangup — has as many dangling treble hooks as a fortune teller has earrings.
What to do?
Choose a squarebill crankbait. The wide, flat bill on its front is specifically for banging off structure, from downed logs to riprap. Many bites, in fact, occur when the lure is “backing up” or bouncing off those obstacles.
The Fulks Custom Silent Squarebill does just that especially well. And it does so without making any noise. It’s got none of the internal rattles that, especially on clear or pressured waters, can turn off hungry bass.
But what’s really cool? These 1/2-ounce lures – amazingly detailed and lifelike — are all hand-painted by an artisan who’s colorblind.
HyperSpeed Bearing Lubricant
HyperSpeed lubricant helps keep high-end reels working efficiently.
($8.99, find it here)
Don’t worry, we’re not here to tell your spouse how much you paid for that last baitcasting reel.
Besides, what’s it matter anyway? Your kids already ate twice this week, didn’t they?
Joking aside, baitcasters are generally pretty expensive these days. That’s because they’re precisely engineered pieces of equipment, more like a high-end sports car than your first clunker.
So if you invest in one, it pays to maintain it.
Lew’s HyperSpeed lubricant, which just came on the market this fall, helps do just that.
Developed in partnership with Lucas Oil, HyperSpeed is for using on high-speed baitcasters. You apply it to the cast control cap, spool main shaft and palm side cover bearings.
It works by offering “a low coefficient of friction with superior flow and lubricity,” the company said.
What that means is it keeps parts working smoothly, resists corrosion, and lasts long without gumming up or turning into a lacquer. That translates to smooth operation and better casting.
HyperSpeed is sold in 1-ounce bottles. It comes with a needle tip for precise application.
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