Let’s be honest there probably wasn’t much in the Black Friday high street sales to interest us avid anglers or the avid angler/s in your life and who in their right mind wants to be part of that nonsense anyway?
So if you are trying to decide what you would like to unwrap this year or are pulling your hair out trying to choose then here are 5 ideas … and most important of all the suggestions are not novelty fish based jumpers or socks but a list of really useful presents that can be enjoyed throughout the festive & fishing season.
Entomology Book: Ento … what? Well basically a guide to insects. This is a fly fishing blog and so most of what I am going to list here is for anglers who like to cast flies to their fish, Trout being the most obvious species followed by Grayling. Both these fish feed on all sorts of flies and pupae and larvae, so knowing what they feed on, when they feed on it and how to identify is an integral part of what we do. And an aspect that many fly fishers miss out on. There are a ton of books out there but Pat O’Reillys Matching the Hatch is hard to beat and the right kind of size to fit in a tackle bag. Enjoy in front of the fire while nursing a glass of mulled wine and dreaming of the new 2015 season.
Fly Fishing Magazine Subscription: More fireside reading material, mince pies & mulled wine at the ready! There are so many magazines to choose from these days, especially online although there is something even more satisfying about receiving one through the post. The main game fishing options in the UK are as follows – Trout Fisherman for lots of instruction and news about stillwater fishing, ideal for anglers getting into the sport and progressing. Trout & Salmon – very much for Salmon anglers, concentrated on wild fishing, instructional with plenty of fishing stories, catch reports & foreign fly fishing sections. Fly Fishing & Fly Tying – instructional, with relevant articles for the inexperienced angler but mainly aimed at discerning fly fishers that want to read articles covering a huge variety of fly fishing opportunities and also enjoy creating their own flies. Or if you want to go a little more Top Gear and dream about fly fishing in far flung places try Fly Life. This magazine (along with the suggestions above) is available on tablets such as the iPad but in the flesh I don’t think I have ever come across a more beautiful fishing magazine. A publication fit to be read, reread and carefully stored in a bookcase.
Top Tip – printed subscriptions won’t generally start until the next issue so get them signed up and pick up a copy of the latest mag from the newsagents to wrap up, with the exception of Fly Life which is sent from overseas.
Fishing Diary/Log: I wrote an in depth piece about owning a fishing diary a couple of blogs back. You can read my thoughts on why asking for a fishing diary this Christmas is a good idea by clicking the highlighted link. To summarise this is a really useful gift that can be treasured for years to come, full of great memories but also information that can be used at the waters edge and even passed along to fly fishing family members in the future.
Practice Rod: Resilient fly fishers might well be braving the winter weather and getting stuck into Pike, Grayling and small stillwater Trout at this time of year, but plenty hang up their rods until the new season arrives in spring. That’s around four or more months with no casting practice!
The Redington Form Game Rod solves the problem as it can be cast indoors if there is room (office floor?!!!) or set up in a corner ready for a quick lawn session tune up whenever there is a spare five minutes … to an hour or more because seeing what can be achieved with the 30’ line & simulated leader is more than a little addictive. At just 4’2” long it is also an ideal (fun) way to get kids into fishing.
Fly Box: This may seem like an obvious choice but no list of useful fly fishing gifts would be complete without a mention of this all important part of every fly angler’s day. Your main problem is which one to choose! From a practical point of view it makes sense to go for slot foam, which offers individual security for each fly, unlike the old style flat foam lined boxes which deteriorated over time as flies were stuck in and pulled out.
Most modern boxes now have this slot foam option such as the cracking Leeda Profil Boxes, pocket sized but with masses of storage capacity and ideal for all sorts of flies including delicate dries. But if you after something a little classier then take a look at Turralls range of Bamboo fly boxes, slot lined with a traditional case, lightweight and available in a variety of sizes.
Looking for stocking fillers that won’t break the bank? I have been very impressed by the Fulling Mill Tactical Slimline fly box range which as the name suggests are super slim line allowing storage of several neatly arranged assortments in one pocket. It is worth noting that these particular boxes are more suitable for nymphs rather than dry flies and when using the slots push each fly in bend first!
That rounds up my list of five for this week, but next time I will focus on some really special luxury fly fishing presents, just in case the angler in your life has been particularly good this year! And if you are still a bit stuck on what to get or don’t understand fly fishing jargon please use the comments section below or contact me here and I will do my best to help.