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Christmas gift ideas
  |  First Published: December 2003



something for every budget

SECTION: General

SINCE the fat man in the red suit last visited, a lot of new products have hit the tackle store shelves. Many are the result of new techniques and fishing styles and others are the result of technological advancements which manufacturers have developed in a bid to create that perfect piece of tackle.

Anglers always have fishing tackle high on their Christmas wish-list, but the people buying the presents don’t always know what we like. Below are some of the hottest new items to grace the tackle store shelves and if one of your desires is on this page, I suggest that you circle it and leave it in a conspicuous place!

TACKLE BAGS

Over the past few years anglers have seen the value in having tackle bags instead of tackle boxes. Bags can hold a large variety of items such as tackle, refreshments, sunscreen, sunglasses, cameras and much more. You can easily change your tackle according to your needs for the day by just swapping one utility box for another. Tackle bags are also easier to transport and generally have shoulder straps which leave your hands free to carry other items or to exaggerate the size of the fish you nearly caught.

Plano has several bags, including the 3375 and 3376 models, which hold combinations of utility boxes. The 3376 bag also has a reel storage section, and prices start from around $80. Abu Garcia has several smart looking bags of excellent value with good storage areas, quality zips and fasteners as well as utility boxes, from around $80. The Shimano bags start at around $70 and also have a lot of angler-friendly features and storage ideas. Shakespeare and Surecatch bags are a little cheaper, from around $50. Many of the Shakespeare bags include sports bottles and other add-ons. Most bags come in a variety of sizes and styles, some with utility boxes, others without. You can check out the range at most tackle stores.

One bag that has limited distribution but is of the finest quality is the Sage Kit Bag. It’s the ideal bag to carry a selection of tackle, sunglasses, refreshments, reels and much more. It was mainly designed for flyfishers but will appeal to all those who don’t mind paying around $180.

SAGE FLY RODS

Sage is one of America’s oldest and most respected fly rod companies and has recently released new ranges. The four-piece TCR series is available in very fast action 5wt, 6wt, 8wt and 9wt rods. Around $1300, Santa will definitely have to dig deep for these.

The fast-action Xi2 four-piece series is available in every weight between 6wt and 14wt. Price is between $1200 and $1300. The Sage LE is an entry-level series in 4wt, 5wt, 6wt and 8wt two-piece rods for around $340, and 5wt or 8wt four-piece rods for around $365. All Sage rods carry unconditional lifetime warranty and the price includes a quality rod tube.

SOFT PLASTICS

Two of the highest turnover items in tackle stores over the past year have been soft plastic lures and jigheads. Some of the best-selling latest releases include River-2-Sea Bottom Walker Shads, Eco-Gear Minnows and Power Shads, Terminator Snap-Back Shads and Storm Wildeye Swim Shads, Curltail Minnows and Rattle Grubs. Many of the old favourites have also added a lot of new colours to their range and new sizes. Squidgies have recently released a new range of Hot-Tail plastics in a range of styles and sizes. Slider has added new colours such as Muscadine, Camouflage, Sour Grape, Wildcat, Gold Glitter and Tennessee shad.

To accompany these new plastics there are several revolutionary jigheads from Nitro to choose from. Nitro jigheads have been designed for local conditions and not just copied from American designs.

You need to get into your local tackle store to check out these and many others, as this is just a small sample of the large range of plastics and jigheads now available for between $6 and $13.

SCENTS

With the surge in sales of plastics there’s been an increase in the demand of products such as scents and fluorocarbon leader. Scents in particular have really been a talking point among switched-on anglers and distributors have responded with several new products.

The Halco Catch-Scents have always been popular but it wasn’t until the Spike-it products emerged that anglers started to use scents regularly and believe in their effectiveness. The Spike-It range includes Garlic, Gamefish and Crawfish in clear and coloured versions. They even have a pack of Nikko-style pens in four colours with a garlic flavour that can be used to customise and scent plastics. Bottles of Spike-It cost around $22 each and the pen pack around $25. The Yum brand includes scents such as Garlic, Shad and Crawfish, and these retail for around $17 per bottle.

Powerscent Capsules were recently released by the importers of Eco-Gear and come in a pack of 40 for around $25. You just break open a capsule in a bag of soft plastics and the whole lot are scented. They come in two varieties, Prawn and Shad.

VIDEOS AND DVDs

All of us like to watch a good fishing video, especially when the weather doesn’t allow us to fish. There have been several new releases, all well worth watching. Prices range from $20 to $35.

Reel Girlsfeatures the gamefishing team of Jeni Lerch, Tracey Rushford and Sara Hennessy as they target a variety of gamefish and do everything from rigging the baits to tagging and releasing billfish. There is plenty of good fishing action (and the girls are pretty easy on the eyes).

Squidgy Secrets 1 and 2 feature Laurel and Hardy duo Steve Starling and Kaj ‘Bushy’ Busch, teaching anglers the hard-earned secrets of using their Squidgy soft plastics. Anyone who likes plastics should see this, there is heaps of good information and useful techniques.

Fishing Wild in Weipafollows the adventures of two Brisbane lads and their friends as they explore the waterways around Weipa. There are great action shots and valuable advice on a host of tropical species.

The Breamin’ 1 and 2 videos were released last year but you can now get both on the one DVD for around $55. They contain tips from some of Australia’s best bream lure anglers as they fish various rounds of the national BREAM series.

DEEPWATER JIGGING OUTFITS

The latest technique for offshore fishing is deepwater jigging. Although the good quality gear is reasonably expensive, it performs the task much better than anything else on the market and is made to last in this very physical angling pursuit.

Daiwa has a good array of tackle, with spin and overhead outfits designed to handle braided line to over 50kg. The Daiwa Saltiga overhead reels start from $700 and the threadlines from $1150. The Blast series spinning reels are a little cheaper, from $750, yes still have the inline pinion gear mechanism which makes them so effortless to use in deep water.

Accurate is well known amongst deepwater jigging gurus, with its strong and reliable overheads from around $900 for the 665 Jig Special.

Daiwa jigging rods start at $600 for the Saltiga series and $490 for the Catalina series. The near-solid graphite construction, silicone guides and double bindings make them perfect for deepwater jigging.

Gary Howard has a series of Australian-made jigging sticks on imported top-shelf Calstar blanks for around $600.

Although some anglers may consider this gear to be expensive, deepwater jigging requires high quality tackle due to the stresses put on the gear by big fish on braid in deep water with very heavy drag settings. Gear that’s half the price won’t do the job as well and probably won’t last any more than a few trips.

DEEPWATER JIGGING ACCESSORIES

Deepwater jigs vary a bit in price but there is no denying the quality of the Japanese Red Sea Ace-Jigs. There’s a good selection of weights and colours from around $40. Cheaper yet effective products include Daiwa Speed Jigs, Citer Little-Hooker Jigs, Tackle Tactics Express 300 Jigs and River-2-Sea’s Knife Jigs and Sea-Rock Jigs. These can vary between $9 and $30 and come in a variety of weights and colours. Deepwater jigging requires special hook rigs including those from Gamakatsu, Decoy and Master Baiter Custom Tackle for between $10 and $15. Fisherman Super-Stealth leader material ($56) is the favoured brand and you can get storage bags with compartments for your jigs from around $35. Daiwa distributes braided line for deepwater jigging which is colour coded at various intervals so you know how much line you have out. It’s a bit over $150 for a 300m spool of 40lb, 60lb or 80lb braid.

BACKPACK COMBOS

for active anglers who like to get away from it all, Shakespeare has released several backpack combos which include rod, reel, reel cover and a backpack complete with tackle storage compartment and four utility boxes. The fly combo is a 5/6 weight, five-piece rod and matching reel with canvas-covered tube – ideal for trout, light estuary and impoundment work. The spinning outfit is 3-6kg 6’6” five-piece rod, with a Cirrus 3040A spinning reel and protective rod tube – great for estuary and freshwater. A Cirrus 100A baitcasting reel and 5’6”, 3-6kg four-piece rod and tube makes up the baitcaster combo. All outfits come with the backpack tackle bag to which you can attach the rod tube for hiking. They retail for between $260 and $280 for each entire package.

FISH GRIPPERS

Several new fish grippers have been released in the past year. Berkley has released its stainless steel Big Game Lip Grip with built-in 14kg digital scale. The upgraded unit, the Lip-Grip Scale (around $100), runs on a 9-volt battery and is water resistant with auto shut-off.

Rapala’s Lock’n’Weigh (around $220) has a 27kg spring scale, and is primarily made of stainless steel. The original fish-gripping tool, Bogagrip, has the 60lb model back on the market with a price nudging $500. They are extremely well made and would last a lifetime.

Most of the grippers that were out last year are still available, including the Kokoda Talon-Grip, Berkley Big-Game Lip-Grip, Gladiator Lip Gripper and the 30lb Bogagrip.

ACCESSORY KITS

Several great new kits suit all anglers, from beginners to experts.

Berkley’s Mono/Braid Combo, Weigh/Fillet Combo, Essentials Combo and Cleaning Combo range from $20 to $45. Rapala has the Pro-Guide series of kits, including Essentials, Tool Combo and Clipper Combo, which retail between $40 and $100. Shimano has a Fishermen’s Tune-Up Kit, Professional Series Kit, Accessories Kit and Combo Tool Kit, which start at $30. These kits contain various tools such as pliers, line clippers, knives, cutting boards, braid scissors, hook disgorgers, weighing scales, forceps, sharpening stones, casting plugs, scalers and much more.

Jarvis Walker’s Pro-Fillet Kit includes several knives, a cutting board and sharpening steel, all in a plastic case for around $40.

All are available at the larger tackle stores.

NO MORE SOCKS!

This is just a small sample of the exciting new tackle available this Christmas. The prices listed may vary from store to store. Some items may be in hot demand and short supply so put in your order with family and friends now. Most stores also have gift vouchers if you’re hard to buy for.

So unless you want to get jocks, socks or hose fittings again this Christmas, circle a few items in this article and leave it in a conspicuous place, such as the front of the fridge, the car windscreen or pasted to the side of the dog. You could even get it laminated and give it to your loved one to use as a place-mat!

Have a Merry Christmas and a safe and prosperous New Year.

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