HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS
By Rich Johnson�
Sitting at my computer this December 2nd, it�s hard to
believe it�s only�60 degrees, which makes writing this holiday gift piece a
little tough getting in the mood. Sure we�re all depressed as another
fishing season may be winding down, but it�s just a couple of short weeks
before Santa climbs down the chimney with exciting gifts for the
fisherperson. With the holidays in mind, I thought I�d pass along a few neat
gift ideas for the angler who thinks he has everything and the wife or
boyfriend who�s sure he or she does!
Gift certificates from the local tackle shop or party
is an easy present to pick up. It�s effortless and the individual who
receives the gift gets to pick out what they want. Actually, it�s not a bad
idea as many items like custom built fishing rods, tackle specific fishing
reels and other "personalized" gifts are better left to the person
receiving. As for gift certificates, don�t overlook giving someone a chance
to be there own captain for a day with a certificate from your local fishing
station for a full day boat rental. Who knows, maybe they�ll even invite you
along for the fishing trip. A certificate for a favorite party boat is
another great idea, it�s easy to do by phone and they accept credit cards.
There are other thoughtful gift ideas and let me pass a few of them along to
FISH ART. I may not be an art critic or know how
to appraise Picasso, but I do know what I like in fish art and collectibles
and it�s a fast growing segment in the fishing tackle trade. I have been to
the Trout Unlimited dinner and auction the last few years and have spent
some decent green backs on this charity event, but the highlight of the
evening is the art within the auction.
Some of my favorite pieces include "Brook Trout"
by Lee Stroncek. This is a beautiful full color portrait of a brook trout in
a natural underwater setting and looks great in my office. Much of my fish
art is in my office or living room and provides inspiration when "writer�s
block" takes hold. I can picture myself on the stream bank trying to drift a
dry Adams or an ant pattern down stream, or maybe the flash of a big brookie
darting out from a hiding place to attack a Micky Finn streamer. It really
does get the juices flowing!
Some of others include "Three Dollar Bridge"
by Richard Tumbleston. This stark, black & white drawing is a majestic view
of an open plain within a mountain valley as an angler stands alone with fly
rod, working a set of fast water on a sharp bend somewhere in the hills of
Montana or Wyoming. "Journey" by Dave Chapple is another
wonderful piece of fish art. You can find such pieces in catalogues, auction
events, antique stores and such. One thing to keep in mind�collect the art
because you like it, not because you think it will rise in value over the
years. If it does�wonderful, but remember you have look at it everyday and
you should enjoy it.
COLLECTIBLES. I�m sure may of you have received
mail from the Danbury or Bradford Mints before, where they have plates as
collectibles. You know the ones I�m talking about, the John Wayne, Michael
Jordan, Mickey Mantle or Micky Mouse collectible plates. Well these same
"mints" have fish collectibles now in the form of fish sculptures. I have
several in my collection, the rainbow trout, largemouth bass and soon to
come is my newly ordered brown trout and they run only $69 to $89. These are
hand-sculptured figures, finely painted in astute detail of fish in their
habitat and usually stand 9" X 9" or somewhere in that area. They fit
beautifully on a desk, dresser or mantle and really give a room that
outdoorsman type feel. Both Bradford and Danbury are located in Connecticut.
They are pretty good reasons not to throw out junk mail without looking at
Another collectible piece I received one year was a
"First Day of Issue" fishing flies commemorative from the US Post Office.
It�s a beautiful framed large stamp on an envelope of a Colorado "silk"
Cachet with a Lefty�s Deceiver stamp. It makes a wonderful piece for that
flyfisherman or woman. Maybe your special loved one is lure collector.
Antique lures can fetch pretty good prices these days and make a wonderful
display in any room. There are so many to choose from and trying to make a
complete set of any particular lure can take years, so you�ll have no
problem thinking of what to get him/her each year once you start. I received
a few sculptured or paper mache� fishing Santa Claus� with fly rod in hand
and creel over Santa�s should ready to hit the stream. They make wonderful
decorative pieces around the tree or dining room for the holidays.
Collectibles, as with fish art, should be acquired because you like it not
as an investment.
BOOKS. Cold winter days or nights make perfect
reading opportunities and there is plethora of books available for the
fisherperson. I have quite a few on my shelves that entertain me and help
provide info for my writing. Some of the basic books everyone should have on
their shelves begins with McClanes New Standard Fishing Encyclopedia.
This book is published by Holt, Rinehart & Winston and is available at any
bookstore. It covers everything and I mean everything! From what fish are in
what states, to techniques, biological data, the list is endless and this
1,145 page book is very comprehensive�a great gift!
My good friend Stephen Sloan, who passed away in 2005
made many appearances on my TV show. His book �Fly Fishing Is Spoken
Here� is a treasure chest of fly fishing info. This book consists of
his radio interviews on fly fishing transcribed and edited into a book. It�s
an interesting read to say the least as he speaks with noted fly fishermen
Ernie Schweibert, Bill Logan, Joe Hayworth and fishing Guides from Scotland
and the Andes and even Jack Samson former editor of Field & Stream just to
name a few. This is a limited edition print of only 750 leather bound
copies, illustrated and with a chapter by James Prosek painter and author.
Steve also penned other books, none of my favorites
"Ocean Bankruptcy," detailing his life in Fisheries management in the
world of Tuna Fishing and how other countries are bankrupting the oceans
with the over killing that is occurring and Stave has some very sensible
ideas on how to solve it. This is a riveting book!
If you are not lure collection, the new hard cover
�Collector�s Encyclopedia of Creek Chub Lures� by Harold E. Smith
M.D. is a real beauty. It offers updated identification and values of Creek
Chub lures with a detailed history of the company and those behind it with
over 1500 photos of some of the rarest Creek Chubs every produced. I have
had the author on my radio show this week and it�s fascinating how lure
collection has become a major hobby around the world. Fishermen�s
Knots, Rigs and How to Use Them by Bob McNally is wonderful with
tips and illustrations on knot tying, choosing the right rig, what knot to
use and when to use it as well as wire or mono connections plus much more.
McNally Outdoor Productions publishes the book and you can order in time for
the holidays by calling 904-287-0917.
For you freshwater anglers the newest release is �Hooked,�
with a foreword written by the bass master himself Roland Martin. This hard
cover, coffee table book is published by Simon & Schuster and begins with a
description of the basics of angling dispersed with highly entertaining
anecdotes and the secret world of the largemouth bass. For info on ordering
call 212-698-2358. Another good book is The Art of Big Game Cooking
by Eileen Clarke and Sil Strung, published by Voyageur Press. I have used
some of the recipes in this book with a big favorite of mine the venison
stew. There are also some pretty tasty fish recipes too! Fishermen�s Knots,
Rigs and How to Use Them by Bob McNally is wonderful book with tips and
illustrations on knot tying, choosing the right rig, what knot to use and
when to use it as well as wire or mono connections plus much more. McNally
Outdoor Productions publish the book and you can order in time for the
holidays by calling 904-287-0917. For do-it-yourselfer�s, Tackle Care
by C. Boyd Pfeiffer is a classic with details on tackle care storage with
lots of tips. It�s the tackle maintenance handbook! It�s published by Nick
Lyons Books and should be easy enough to find in your local tackle shop or
MY FAVORITES. One of the best gifts I received
in recent years was a Stanley Thermos. This thermos can be run over by a
truck with little damage! I�ve filled this thermos at 5 a.m. and still had a
hot beverage at 3 p.m.! They come in quart and half gallon sizes and are
well worth the price. A quality fillet knife is always a welcome sight. If
you�re hard on equipment, a good fillet knife is important. Not only will it
last a long time, but the sharper and edge you can keep on quality steel,
the safer a knife is. I prefer a wood handle to my knives, but the new
plastic grips are more comfortable then they used to be, but it all boils
down to personal preference. Including a sharpening device makes the set
complete. A hand help marine radio is another gift idea for the boater or
surfcaster. It increases the safety aspect of our sport and the price of
these has come down substantially over the years. Use your own imagination
and perhaps Santa will leave something for you too! If any of our readers
need any additional info on these subjects or other gift ideas, you can
reach me at 516-889-6895 during the hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. or
through the web site at