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Ice fishing

What’s on your favorite angler’s Christmas wish list? An outside-the-box gift like an ice fishing power auger is sure to be a big hit.

Christmas is fast approaching, but many of us have yet to finish our holiday shopping. Fear not! If there’s an angler on your list, these gift ideas are guaranteed to make them smile on Christmas morning.

From big Santa presents to stocking stuffers, here are my top “Fishmas” gifts for 2018:

Ice fishing auger ($100-$350): If your angler wants to ice fish, an auger is the most vital (and expensive) piece of equipment they’ll need. I recommend an entry-level power auger like the Eskimo Stingray, which can be had for less than $300. It’s light, easy to use and does exactly what you need it to do— punch lots of holes so you can pull fish out of them!

Float tube ($75-$200): If your angler doesn’t have the storage space for a boat, buy them a float tube. These handy, foot-powered inflatable chairs can get you into most of the places a boat can, along with ponds and alpine lakes that aren’t boat accessible. There’s nothing better than kicking around a small lake on a warm summer day. I recommend models you can inflate by mouth— it saves you from having to carry a pump, and in my experience, they hold air better.

Fishing rod ($20-$100): Anglers can never have too many rods! Try gifting one that will allow your angler to try a new kind of fishing. Examples include a mini ice fishing rod, a stout salmon setup or a collapsible rod for backpacking and airplane travel.

Fishing shirts ($15-$40): Nobody wants to wear their good clothes fishing. Get your angler some fishing shirts, and they’ll never go back. Long-sleeved, UV-protectant fishing shirts will keep your angler cool on those hot summer days. Huk, Under Armor and Columbia are among the most popular brands.

Net ($15-$40): A good landing net is a must-have item for any angler. If they already have a standard net, you can get them a long-handled model for the boat or a bigger net for scooping steelhead and catfish. I like nets with rubber meshing — they eliminate line tangles and are easier on fish.

Tackle box/bag ($10-$80): Every good angler likes to stay organized, and there are lots of cool options out there. My personal favorite is the Cabela’s tackle backpack, which comes in both full-size and day-pack varieties (confession—I have both). The system uses small, removable tackle boxes, which makes it easy to organize your gear by species or lure type and pack only what you need on each trip.

Lures ($1-$15): Lures make perfect stocking stuffers. From packs of soft plastics to flies and spinners, a wintertime tackle box refill will thrill any angler. Here are a few recommendations: Zoom soft plastics; Berkley Pit Bull crankbait; Panther Martin spinners; Gitzit tube jigs; Nichols Lures or Booyah spinnerbaits; Live Target top water frogs; Rebel crayfish crankbait; Salmo Chubby Darter ice jig; and small tungsten ice fishing jigs.

These are just a few ideas to get your wheels turning. If all else fails, you can always cut your angler a check for $30.50—enough to cover their 2019 fishing license.

Happy shopping, and tight lines!

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