Christmas Gift Ideas
  |  First Published: December 2016

If you don’t know what Christmas present to buy the angler in your life, this article will solve all your problems! Ditto if your loved ones are asking you what gift you’d like, and are getting annoyed when you say things like, “I dunno”, “anything I guess” and “how about a spouse who won’t keep asking questions”. Read on to find the perfect gift – one that will make any angler so grateful they’ll forever share their fish with you. Maybe even the palatable ones. And remember that the following prices are suggested retail only. They may vary from store to store.
I wouldn’t normally advise buying lures as a gift. I see them as a personal choice, requiring careful contemplation, like when you’re purchasing a new rod, reel or sandwich. However, the lures listed below are really something special because they’re so different. We anglers love trying something new, and it’s also great to present the fish with something they may not have seen before. Just be sure that the lure you buy matches the species that the giftee usually targets.
Joe the Rat
Joe the Rat ($39.95) is a collector’s piece that many anglers would rather put in the pool room than fish with, but he can and will catch cod and impoundment barra. This award-winning lure comes from the creative mind of Aaron Young from Kuttafurra, and the paintwork and attention to detail is superb. It has a leather tail and ears, and it effectively mimics a rat or mouse swimming in the water, with a paddling motion that’s enhanced by the tail wiggling along behind it. Joe really is the perfect surprise for a cod angler on Christmas Day. The only problem might come if your kid asks whether a cod would ever eat a real, live mouse. “Um, no buddy, of course not! Hey look, here’s a candy cane…” For more info on the Kuttafurra range, look them up on Facebook.
Smash Crab
The Fish Candy Smash Crab ($19.95) never fails to turn heads. When it was released at the Tackle Trade Show, everyone flocked around it like seagulls on a chip. I had to kick people out of the way so I could get close enough to see it. OK, I might be exaggerating a bit, but there’s no denying this is a great lure that would make a fantastic present. This incredibly lifelike crab is durable and flexible, and it’s easy to use, even for baitfishers. It sinks slowly, with its legs and claws vibrating enticingly. When it reaches the bottom it sits with its claws raised, just like a cranky crab. It can be slow rolled, jigged or just left in the rod holder where it can drift mid-water or bounce along the bottom. It’s already proven to work well on mulloway and reefies, and as time goes on it’s sure to catch all sorts of species. This lure measures 100mm and weighs 39g.
Halco Madeyes Octoskirt
The Madeyes Octoskirt is a good gift for both bait and lure anglers. I think this wiggly plastic looks pretty weird, but for some reason fish think it looks delicious. It has been designed in Australia by the Halco team, and it’s made of a super-stretchy plastic that can withstand repeated strikes. It’s also enhanced with a natural squid scent. This versatile skirt can be layered on top of metal lures, can be used in conjunction with bait or on a paternoster (dropper) rig, and it can also be rigged with other Madeye plastics to create unique combinations that maximise attraction. It can also be rigged on a standard jighead. You can basically put it pretty much anywhere – possibly even in a Christmas cracker. With luck, it might fly out looking like a spider, and land on someone’s lap.
Austackle Gizmo HD
If you haven’t seen anything like this before, you can guarantee the fish haven’t either. The Austackle Gizmo HD Big Fish Edition ($22) looks unusual, but it’s already proven to be effective on mulloway and reefies, and should be a hit with kingfish, big flathead, Murray cod, barra and more. You can retrieve it in a number of ways. You can slow roll it, crawl it along the bottom, hop it, drop it through schooled fish, burn it through structure and more. Use it as you would a jig or bait; look for fish on the sounder, then drop the Gizmo and let it sink through the bait school/fish. Lift and drop the lure and get hit! You can also add a soft plastic trailer. The Gizmo HD Big Fish Edition weighs 1oz and comes in six colours, including UV. Check it out at www.austackle.com.
Fishing shirts look amazing these days. They have gorgeous print jobs, provide the ultimate in sun protection, and are quick drying. For most adult shirts you’re looking at around $60-$80. For kids, it’s more like $50 – although I wouldn’t recommend buying clothing for a kid on Christmas Day. It’s not very exciting, and they might think Santa hates them.
Insect-Repelling Apparel
The new Bigfish Maxflow Repel apparel repels 95% of mosquitoes and other biting insects. Amazingly, it retains 80% efficacy even after 50-70 washes! Bigfish tested the shirts on the flood plains of the Adelaide River in the Northern Territory, where mosquitoes are so thick they actually bite through traditional shirts. During testing, plenty of mozzies landed and bit through traditional fabric, but when they landed on the Repel-infused fabric, they quickly took off again. Checkmate, you blood-sucking scumbags. The Repel range has all the features of Bigfish’s current fabric (soft, cool, lightweight, durable and UPF 50+). And if you don’t need a mozzie-repellent shirt, you should still check out the Bigfish range of apparel. Whatever your favourite species is, you’ll find it on a Bigfish shirt. You can browse the range at www.bigfishgear.com .
Samaki Barra and Jack shirts
Samaki, creators of the Chromed Barra shirt, say it tells a story: “Set amongst the dense dark mangroves, the Chromed Barra lurches out from the structure to engulf a Samaki Vibelicious Thumper Tail. Here is the start of the fight to win the ultimate trophy fish, entice the barra from the structure of the mangroves and watch it lurch from the depths.” Maybe. I just think it looks badass. Other badass shirts from the range include a mangrove jack design and a GT design. They have stories too but I’m a little short on space. All Samaki long-sleeve fishing shirts offer superior UV50+ protection and help you stay and cool on the water. They’re available from a size 2 toddlers to a 3XL adults – an excellent size range that’s pretty rare when it comes to fishing shirts. For more info visit www.samaki.com.au.
Zerek Dry Fit Jerseys
These shirts are great value at $29.95. Designed to keep you cool and comfortable while you’re fishing, Zerek Dry Fit Jerseys have been released in black and white colours with the distinctive Bluewater Craft logo. The Dry Fit material actively moves sweat away from the body to a separate fabric layer, where it can evaporate away. This leaves you feeling dry at all times while fishing. Available in sizes M-3XL, and with sizing that suits Australian bodies (let’s be honest, we like to eat), the Zerek Dry Fit Longsleeve Jerseys will keep you fishing longer in comfort and style. Zerek distributor Wilsons has a whole range of great shirts, and you can see them at www.wilsonfishing.com.
Daiwa fishing shirts
For a more traditional style of fishing shirt – one with pockets, button-up studs and a cool mesh liner – there’s the Daiwa Fishing Shirt. This UPF 40+ rated, breathable fishing shirt is manufactured from an anti-bacterial material, and because it has plastic studs rather than buttons it’s very easy to put on and take off. As you’d expect, Daiwa also has a range of modern fishing shirts, all of which come in sizes S-XXL. There’s a wide array of colours, but my favourite is the white Saltist shirt – a must-have for anyone who loves these iconic reels. You can see the full range of Daiwa apparel at www.daiwafishing.com.au.
Shimano Ocea Fishing Gloves
Shimano's Ocea Fishing Gloves are designed for anglers wanting to protect their hands from the harmful elements that offshore angling can dish up. That’s a classy way of saying they’ll stop your hands getting ripped to mince. These gloves provide extra grip in wet conditions, with a reinforced, non-slip material on the index finger and palm to maximise casting and jigging grip in the wet. And of course, they also provide protection from slicing braid and sharp scales and spikes from fish. An ultra-thin titanium alloy helps keep your hands warm on cold days, while letting your skin breathe on hot days. They also provide sun protection. They’re not cheap, at around $55, but they’ll easily outlast cheaper gloves and protect your hands better. There’s more info at www.shimanofish.com.au.
I find sorting tackle to be a lot of fun, which is why I love my tackle boxes and bags. My goal is to have one bag for every species. People tell me that’s too many, but I don’t care. Here are my picks for 2016.
Rapala Urban Classic Sling Bag
The Rapala Urban Classic Sling Bag has a revolutionary, award-winning design. It stays out of the way on your back, giving you freedom of movement when casting and retrieving, yet the bag swings to the front when needed. No more wiggling out of your backpack to get a replacement lure. The bag is comfortable too, with a 3D mesh back panel and an adjustable shoulder strap. Both main compartments hold 3600-sized tackle boxes and open to form a work tray when changing lures. The bag also features a secondary compartment for large accessories and additional pockets for smaller items. A Quick Draw plier holster and retracting tool holder offer fast and easy access to the most used tools. Head to www.rapala.com.au for more info.
Berkley Day Backpack
Berkley has a wide range of tackle storage solutions under the Fishin’ Gear Tackle Management Systems brand. All products, from the smallest to largest, feature heavy-duty fabrics and corrosion-resistant zips and fittings. Never again will you have to wrestle with corroded, stuck zippers and amuse everyone with your frenzied swearing. One of Berkley’s latest Fishin’ Gear releases is the 30L Fishing and Lifestyle Backpack ($74.95). Packed full of features, the FG 30L Day Backpack includes an internal organiser and mesh pockets for tackle boxes and tools, plus a padded pouch designed to hold reels. There’s a built-in Nano Shade cover for protection from heavy rain, and you can even carry a 15” laptop so you can make Powerpoint presentations between bites. Head to www.berkley-fishing.com.au to view the range.
Black Magic Surf Waist Pack
Whether fishing in the surf or from the rocks, any angler can appreciate the idea of having fewer items to carry in their hands. Some sensible people might suggest you simply take less gear with you, but don’t listen to them. You can have your cake and eat it too with Black Magic’s Surf Waist Pack. Made from high quality materials, it has a number of compartments and pockets to store your gear. Black Magic has also taken it a step further by creating a ‘ready to go’ waist pack filled with essential tackle and accessories. The pack includes: Velocity Surf line; Tough Trace; Longreach surf rig; hooks and swivels; Wasabi fillet knife; Bait Buddy thread; and fish handling towel. The whole package costs around $90, and you can find out more at www.blackmagictackle.com .
Ugly Stik Cooler
Ugly Stik have released a cooler bag for ultimate convenience while fishing. It holds six cans and keeps a full day’s worth of food nice and cool. The zippered closure ensures you’re always ready to enjoy a cold drink. The back of the cooler bag also folds down to reveal two drink holders, so you don’t have to worry about balancing your drink on the ground. The Cooler Bag also includes an Ugly Stik stubby cooler – bonus! It costs around $30 and there’s more info at www.shakespeare.com.au.
Moncross Multi Minnow Box
Moncross are known for making quality tackle boxes, and one of their newest ones is the Megabox Multi Minnow box ($15.95-$19.95). It’s double-sided and allows you to secure your hardbodies without the worry of them tangling. These boxes also make it quick and easy to locate the lure you’re looking for thanks to the clear lids, and they’re also ideal for storing squid jigs. Megabox Multi Minnow boxes are made from heavy-duty materials to withstand temperature extremes and impacts. Deep compartments are ideal for lures with heavy-duty or upgraded trebles, and the ‘V’ shape of these compartments keeps the lures secure during transport. Multi Minnow boxes are available in three sizes. The first holds 13 lures up to 130mm long, the second holds 13 lures up to 145mm long, and the third holds 17 lures up to 165mm long. Check out the Moncross range at www.tackletactics.com.au .
Wilson Tackle Storage Unit
Wilson Fishing’s new portable tackle storage unit allows you to keep everything organised, whether you're at home or on the road. It comes in a flat pack, making it easy to transport, and can be assembled in a few minutes. Built around a lightweight and super strong aluminium frame, this unit can store eight rods rigged or unrigged, and it also has three storage shelves and a top shelf/work bench. Two removable bags that can fit up to four standard tackle trays are also included. A zippered front flap allows the unit to be closed up, keeping pests out. A mesh vent in the rear allows water vapour to escape. The unit measures 105cm x 57cm x 47cm when set up, and folds down to 52cm x 42cm x 20cm. For more Wilson storage solutions visit www.wilsonfishing.com. $150
Here are some unusual gift ideas for those of you who want to raise some eyebrows on Christmas Day. You could probably achieve the same result by wearing nothing but a Santa hat, but some people might not like that.
Reusable hand warmers
Pocket Balls are reusable pocket-sized hand-warmers that cost just $12.95 for a twin pack. They’re waterproof and come in a variety of sport themes: footy, soccer, golf, cricket, tennis, basketball and the magic 8 ball. It’s pretty cool how they work – they contain special crystals and activate when you click their inner metal disk. To recharge them, you place them in boiling water until all the crystals are liquefied. They provide up to an hour of heat. Pocket Balls are available at selected retailers, and you can also purchase them online www.take5energize.com.au/Pocket-Balls. Yes, they’re not much use during summer, but I still think they’re cool. Or hot. Whatever, they’re good.
Squid Ezy
I like catching squid, but normally I’m not the one to clean them. It uses up valuable time I could otherwise spend on washing the boat, getting dinner started, and other important tasks. And also, I don’t want to. The Squid Ezy is perfect for people like me. This clever tool makes the whole process simpler and the most difficult aspects easier. If you go to www.squidcleaning.com you can see a video on how to do it, and can also buy a set ($22 plus P&H).
Geecrack Lurekeeper
The Japanese think of everything. First it was the shoe umbrella, and now this – a clever tool created by Japanese company Geecrack. It’s very affordable at just $8.95. And unlike the shoe umbrella, it’s useful. It has been designed so you can secure your lures, squid jigs or hooks to your baitcasting or spin reel. Lurekeepers are made in Japan and have a patented design. At one end is a thin strip that goes underneath the reel seat. Once you’ve put the reel on top of the strip, the Lurekeeper will be secure, and you can just leave it there. It holds trebles, single hooks and squid jig spikes, so you won’t damage your rods or guides. For more info visit www.dogtoothdistribution.com.au.
Boomerang Mid Size Zinger
Do you know an angler who keeps losing things? In any group of mates, there’s always someone who is hopeless that way. (If you don’t know anyone like that in your group of mates, it’s you.) Enter the Boomerang Mid Size Zinger ($24.95). It’s ideal for keeping fishing tools handy, securing keys and other important items, and attaching gear to your boat or kayak. It can quickly, easily and securely be attached to almost anything. The Mid Size Zinger is built to survive the elements, featuring a polycarbonate case and a 24” heavy-duty Kevlar cord. It has been proven to last over 1 million pulls. For more info check out the range of Boomerang Tools on www.tackletactics.com.au.
Techni Ice Jungle Reef mattress
One of the best things about the Jungle Reef self-inflating mattress ($59 incl. delivery) is how compact it is. It also comes with self-inflating pillows. Unfolded, it’s 2.05m long and 1.20m wide, and has a 6cm PVC base. To inflate, you simply open two nozzles and wait for it to do its thing. To find out more, head to www.techniice.com .
Zerek Measuring Tape
Most measuring tapes are large and cumbersome but the Zerek Marsh Slider Measuring Tape is not. It fits in a shirt or pants pocket, giving all anglers the chance to measure their fish before lying about it. Constructed using durable PVC and with large numbers for easy reading, the Measuring Tape measures fish up to 120cm, and it rolls up to a very compact 13cm high by 7.5cm wide. There’s more info at www.wilsonfishing.com.
The Complete Cast DVD
The Complete Cast (Applying Principles to Fresh & Saltwater Fly Casting), is a new DVD presented by legendary fishermen Lefty Kreh and Ed Jaworowski. In this DVD, Lefty and Ed demonstrate, explain, and teach the elements common to all casts with a single-handed rod. Features of this DVD include: more than 25 casts and techniques; more than three hours of in-depth instruction of principles-based casting fundamentals; helpful tips and techniques that are simple and easy to apply; practice tutorials and exercises that improve your casting; and analysis of the tailing loop and how to remedy. Anglers of all skill levels will derive useful tips from The Complete Cast. It costs around $70, and more info is available at www.ejtodd.com.au.
Garmin action cams
And now we come to the most expensive item on our list. If you have $450 to spare, you can’t go past Garmin’s VIRB X and VIRB XE action cams. They shoot rich, HD footage, are waterproof to 50m, and have a plethora of sensors and wireless functionality options. Features include image stabilisation, slow-mo, different zoom levels, sharp still photos (even while recording) with up to 12MP image quality, and secure mounts. A water-repelling, flat glass lens stops the problem of water drops on the lens when you’re transitioning in and out of the water. The microphone delivers extremely clear audio, even underwater. For a full (and very long) list of specs, check out www.garmin.com.au. And that’s it for this year! Merry Christmas from all of us at Fishing Monthly. Reads: 2358

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