By Captain Thom Smith
special to the sun
With just a few shopping days left until Christmas, I'd
like to pass on a few gift ideas that may be helpful for
the angler or anglers in the family. Every year I look
for something that is brand new and different and there
are a lot of great gifts available.
One thing that I've mentioned before is a line-winding
station. This machine will strip the old line off your
spools and wind new line on. It's a smaller version of
the commercial line winders that tackle shops use. It
makes replacing your line quick and easy without the line
twist that alot of people get when they do it by hand.
Berkley has a nice little unit for about $26. Berkley
also has a nice Marker Bouy that sits high in the water
and reels up the line for about $11.
Rods and reels can come in two-piece combos or individual
rods and reels that cost $40 and up. If you have that
in mind as a gift, be sure that you know what type fishing
the recipient intends to do before buying.
For someone who wants a personalized fishing rod built
for them, a custom rod is the way to go. A craftsman can
build a rod with the length, action and thread color that
suits your needs. Some craftsmen can do fancy artwork,
weaving fish, maltese crosses and eagles into the wraps.
Also, your name or boat name can make the rod even more
Over the years, I've developed an appreciation for artwork,
especially paintings, sculptures and wood carvings that
feature fishing scenes, fish and boats. I have carvings
by Frank Gabriel, of Apollo Beach, which are full-sized
replicas of snook and redfish that many people have a
difficult time believing are carved from wood.
Harvey Guant is a local artist that does excellent work
on everything from fish prints, T-shirts and tiles to
custom picture frames. Until the end of December, you
can view his work at the Arts Council of Manatee County
located at 926 12th St. W. in Bradenton or call him at
Florida Sportsman magazine publishes a line of books that
are very helpful, and I'll mention four that I have. "The
Fishing Planner" gives you a full year of tide, moon
phases and solar lunar tables for the state. It also contains
a lot of useful information about a variety of things.
"Sportsfish of Florida" and "Sportsfish
of the Gulf of Mexico" are two fish-identification
books that are illustrated by Kevin Braut. The pictures
are in color and right on the money. Each fish is described
with its scientific name, other names and information
about the fish, such as size, food value and game qualities.
In addition, which tackle and bait to use and areas where
the fish can be found are included.
"Bait, Rigs and Tackle" covers more knots than
you will ever need to know, from how to tie a "Bimini
Twist to how to hook a shrimp and other live baits.
Personally, I think all of these books are a necessity.
How-to books and videos on fly fishing, fly tying, cast
netting, cast net repair, cleaning fish and books on antique
rods, reels and lures are also great ideas.
Popular stocking stuffers range from filet knives to sharpening
stones, jigheads, hooks, pliers, scissors (that cut braided
line) and charts.
If none of these ideas appeals to you, check with local
tackle shops for help. They have knowledgeable people
that fish and can give you first-hand information. Gift
certificates are appreciated and all of the tackle shops
Fishing guides also have gift certificates available,
and its good to secure a fishing trip for a prime
time period for the upcoming year.
If it's a major gift you're looking for, the Power Pole,
a shallowwater anchor, is a great gift for the inshore
fisherman. It is a little pricey, but a great gift. There
are also electronics like a handheld GPS or VHF radio.
They are excellent and reasonably priced gifts for the
I hope some of these suggestions help. If you have any
questions or want more information, you can call me at
737-5672 or 776-1187.
Merry Christmas, and a happy new year.