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The holidays are coming up and that means having to figure out which gifts to get for all the fly fishermen in your life. Even as someone who fishes, I sometimes find it hard to think of what to get for other fishermen, and similarly what to put on my own wish list.
Things that I have top-of-mind the rest of the year seem to go blank as soon as someone asks me what I’d like for Christmas, and naturally I’ll remember them all again as soon as the holidays are over.
If you’re trying to think of something for that special angler in your life, or just want to find things you may like for yourself this year, take a look at this list and see if anything tickles your fancy.
I didn’t want to just double up on suggestions from the list I did previously of 8 Useful Fly Fishing Tools Under $30, but I also think a lot of those suggestions would be relevant for gift-giving, especially if you’re looking for something small. I wanted to throw out a few honorable mentions from that article that I think would make particularly good gifts, just so they aren’t missed.
- Burton Beeracuda – great for taking cold beverages (and subs!) out on the water
- Zippo Hand Warmer – a staple for any cold-weather angler
- Onx Maps Subscription – one of the most helpful and frequently-used apps I have
- Magnetic Net Retractor – useful for anyone who has trouble finding a good spot for a net
A nice piece of art can change the atmosphere of a room. Fly fishing art is no exception. The finesse of a fly cast, the intricate details of a mayfly, and the gorgeous patterns of a fish all make fantastic artistic inspirations. If your fly fisherman already has every gadget known to man, or you aren’t sure what gear they need, art can be a safe bet.
There are tons of people out there who make fishy art, and plenty focus solely on a specific niche: trout, flies, insects, anglers, etc.
Etsy, Pinterest, and Google are good starting points for finding ideas in your price range. If you’re not sure what exactly you’re looking for and want some inspiration, here are a few artists whose work I enjoy.
Subscriptions are one of those things I often see, decide I want, and then never follow through on. I think other people are probably in the same boat. Because of that, subscriptions make great gifts. Plus, they last months or even years, so they really are the gift that keeps on giving.
There are tons of different subscriptions out there, and you’ll have to choose which is best based on the person you’re buying for. There are obviously magazine subscriptions, which could be good for people who like reading printed material.
I already mentioned OnX Maps, which is one I buy for myself and have never regretted it for a second. Anyone who fishes near private land or wants to mark waypoints on offline maps will enjoy this one.
Postfly is a monthly box-based subscription (think Blue Apron or Barkbox, but for anglers). They have different plans based on how much you want each month, as well as your preferences for things like target species or fly tying materials. Boxes include flies, leaders, stickers, and other gear, and are delivered to your doorstep each month.
The Catch and the Hatch also has a variety of membership subscription options. If you’re in Colorado, the River Explorer membership gives you access to all kinds of river information around the state. For those who are out of state, they also offer the Fly Explorer membership with fly tying tutorials, entomology information, and more.
For those who travel a lot and like to bring multiple rods on a road trip, consider checking out a Denver Outfitters Rod Vault or a magnetic rod rack for the car. These both allow an angler to transport fully-built rods from spot to spot, making it easier to cover ground on a river. The Rod Vault locks, too, so rods can be kept in it consistently, even while not on the water.
If you know someone who frequently fishes in hot weather, they might enjoy some wet wading neoprene socks. These neoprene booties include the same kind of gravel guards found on waders, but without the actual waders. They let an angler wet wade on hot days and still prevent mud and rocks from getting down inside the boots.
On the other hand, if you’re buying for someone who frequently fishes in cold weather, consider the Patagonia R1 Gloves. I bought mine in an emergency situation in Montana when the snow rolled in hard. They saved the day on that trip and have held up well since. They’re pretty tight to the skin and fully waterproof, so they keep hands dry throughout the day. They’re also smooth rubber, so I don’t feel bad touching fish with them like I do when I have fabric gloves on. Being able to dunk your hand in frigid water without having to thaw yourself out afterward is awesome.
It’s not hard to find good fly fishing literature. Autobiographies, fiction, and short essays are all common. Doing a simple google search for fly fishing books will probably lead you in the right direction, but here are some recommendations for authors to check out.
Additionally, if you want to listen to some samples of fly fishing writers’ work, consider checking out the Fly Tapes Podcast. Each episode features an interview with an author and a few readings of their work. Even though they’re short readings, you can get a good feel for their personality and writing style.
Also, check out some of the Books articles on Fish Untamed for more ideas!
5. Fly fishing accessories
If it’s last-minute and you don’t have time to order something, or you just need some stocking stuffers, it’s never a bad idea to buy small fly fishing accessories, as they’re always needed. Though they aren’t big or expensive, common items like floatant, tippet, tippet rings, leaders, fly lines, flies, nippers, zingers, indicators, and split shot are probably some of the most useful things a fly angler can have.
Tools wear out, tippet and floatant are used up, and flies are lost, but sometimes it takes a while to get into a fly shop for replacements. Throwing a couple of these in the stocking, or making a “bundle” with all the necessities can be a great way to restock someone over the winter and get them ready for spring.
And there you have it! If the fly fisherman in your life already has all these things, give them a pat on the back because they are well-prepared for whatever the fish can throw at ’em. If not, now you can be prepared for the holidays and not stuck up a creek without a paddle.