Pier Fishing in California

Resources :: Tackle Tips

Stocking Stuffer Ideas For The Angler

Whenever an angler’s friend, parent, relative spouse or significant other asks me what they should give that angler, I always say, “Don’t buy a rod or reel!” The reaction is often a look of betrayal or hurt, certainly disappointment. “But why not?” they ask.

The answer is, anglers are particular people and the best intentions frequently have the worst results. Unless you know exactly which rod or reel your fishing friend wants, you will be much better off if you leave that decision to him. A good solution is a gift certificate. The fisherman can use it to buy the equipment of his choice and he will be as grateful as if you’d given him precisely what he wanted.

But some people don’t like gift certificates. They prefer a more personal touch. But if you are unfamiliar with angling, it’s a tricky situation. I’ve always felt that the best gift is one that someone will appreciate yet might not go out and get for himself. Or maybe it’s something he’s been” meaning to get around to,” but never remembers when he’s at the tackle shop.

Here then is a list for the non-angler who wants to get something for a fisherman. These are “stocking stuffer” items that can also be individually wrapped for extra fun. We all love opening presents, right? With the exception of items 1&2, all these are under $10 and many are under $5. Also, if you want to save money, most of these items are significantly less expensive if you buy them somewhere other than a bait and tackle shop.

  1. Fishing License. This is one of my favorite Christmas gifts. My family gives me one every year. It’s true that a license is not required on most piers, but why not give your angler a wider potential? California is an enormous state with more angling possibilities than can be experienced in a lifetime. Note: extra stamps are available for two rods in freshwater lakes, striped bass, and for other regional regulations-but hold off on those. Let the angler get them later on. He may not need any of them.
  2. Hand Warmer. An obvious component of the winter’s angler’s gear, but you would be surprised how many fishermen don’t have a hand warmer.
  3. Watch. No more excuses for being late! Seriously though, this is a useful item few of us keep handy. I like the stopwatch variety because I’m one of those obsessive types who like to time everything from moments between casts to a battle with Moby Dick-which is why I can tell you I fought a 75# bat ray for 1:10:23 at Berkeley Pier in May of 1997. It’s also good for keeping track of tides.
  4. Screwdrivers. A set of small Phillips and Flathead screwdrivers can really make an angler’s day. There are few things worse than having your fishing come to a screaming halt for the sake of one minor adjustment.
  5. Pliers. Needlenose are best, especially those with a wire cutting feature. Or, for specialized work, a pair of forceps or a hemostat, ideal for removing hooks-from a fish or a finger.
  6. Pocket Knife. Most anglers have their special knives for bait and filleting. But a little jackknife can be invaluable. You don’t need to get one with a lot of stuff. A single blade and a bottle opener will do. Tweezers are nice as well.
  7. Nail clippers. Exquisite line trimmers. Get them at a baitshop for $5 or less than a buck elsewhere.
  8. Tape Measure. The best kind, believe it or not, is the loose one you get from a fabric store. It’s waterproof and easy to store. The metallic kind may be quick to recoil but they are also quick to rust and quit working entirely.
  9. Elastic Thread. Another fabric store offering, and probably half the price as what’s offered at a tackle shop-with more yardage. White or black, I don’t think it matters, but get both if you are worried.
  10. Gloves. A cheap pair of work gloves can save hands and even keep them warm. Whether it’s pulling out a snag, handling a fish, or retaining circulation on a cold salty day, gloves are great. I suggest the cheap work kind because gloves get lost easier than just about any apparel. Get two pairs!
  11. Rags. This is so obvious a fishing necessity that it’s amazing how few anglers remember it. Any auto parts store will carry cloth towels for a cheap price. You could also get a package of handiwipes but they are not particularly recyclable.
  12. Thermos. Hot or cold, whatever the beverage, you will be remembered with gratitude.

This Tackle Tip offered by Songslinger, Songslinger's Fishing Page