In my last blog I listed five ideas for useful fly fishing presents because let’s be honest a set of fish socks is hardly that exciting or useful! If you were looking for stocking fillers or smaller presents then it might be worth clicking on my Really useful Christmas Gifts for Fly Fishing blog.
However if you think you have been good or the angler in your life has excelled themselves this year, remembering the anniversary, birthdays and of course Valentines then you may just feel that they deserve one of the following!
Eye Protection: I am often asked why I insist on people wearing something to protect their eyes in the event that a cast goes wrong. Just imagine what would … happen …. if … I won’t go any further; it’s almost Christmas. There should not be a fly angler anywhere casting a fly without protection for their eyes and nowadays there are many products available that will not only avoid tragedy but also assist with our search for a fish and help us to see into their underwater world.
Polarised sunglasses are available from a variety of manufacturers starting at just a few pounds, but if you are looking for something really special that will last a lifetime with proper care then Costa is the choice of fly anglers including professional guides all over the world. These are very advanced lenses in a variety of colours; my recommendation for most UK based fishing is the Green Mirror 580G lens. Expect to pay a good bit over £200 for a set and take care to order the right head size from the huge range of frames available. Some of the most popular options include Tuna Alley (picture below), Harpoon and Man-O-War.
Something by Fishpond: This company design & manufacture the best fishing tools, luggage and clothing specifically for fly fishing that I have ever come across. If you are fed up with the worn out uncomfortable old waistcoat that spills more gear than it holds and looks like it would have been the height of fashion 50 years ago then checkout Fishpond.
Pound for pound their packs are actually far better value than their waistcoat competitors with tons of clever features including integral fly boxes, tool tabs, easy access pockets and some models will even accept a water pack for instant fishing trip hydration.
Favourite designs include the Wildhorse Tech Pack (£199.99) ideal for river angler who likes to hike for miles and the Gore Range Tech Pack (£129.99) which is just brilliant for stillwater trout anglers. Expensive but this luxury fishing brand produce innovative fishing clothing that should last many years of hard use; a great investment to be treasured.
Season Permit: Time is the all important commodity that would turn Black Fridays into a revolution if some scientist had worked out how to turn 24 hours into 48 or send us back in time to the days when our waterways were not overfished, plundered by predators or protected for everyone and everything accept the fish that swim within them.
So climbing down off my soap box for a moment how about gifting a season ticket? A few hours each week spent fishing a favourite venue is a great way to become familiar with what makes it tick and a season permit means fishing early morning, late evening and everything in between … on the way to work and on the way home.
Season ticket holders often receive special perks such as the first chance to fish when opening for the new season, lower boat costs and similar incentives. There is also a great social side to becoming a season ticket holder and depending on location it might even be possible to gain a roving ticket that allows more than one venue to be fished.
Down here in the South West it is hard to beat what Bristol Water have to offer with world class fly fishing on Chew Valley and Blagdon Reservoirs. If only I had more time to go fishing I would sign up for a season on these brilliant lakes myself! Price of Chew Valley permit in 2015 varies from £325.00 to £665.00 which is a bargain for the quality of fishing and scenery available. Take a look at their very well put together all new Bristol Water Fisheries website right here.
Casting Lessons / Guided Fishing: And now for the blatant plug because I have spent 15 years of my life teaching people how to cast and taking them fishing, so adding this to my luxury gift list may seem a little biased. However around half of the guests I have the pleasure to look after during the season receive their experience as a gift voucher and all over the UK guides & instructors provide similar services.
If you are looking for an instructor/guide in your local area then take a look at the Association of Advanced Professional Game Angling Instructors website (AAPGAI) which provides a properly constructed course and assessment procedure for people working in fly fishing. So in other words you can be assured of professional tuition when booking an AAPGAI instructor with hourly fees starting in at around a minimum of £25.00
So why pay an instructor or guide to go fishing when do it yourself is so much cheaper? I will revisit my point above for just one moment and start by saying that it saves a lot of time. For example if you are planning on trying out fly fishing for the first time or sending your loved one on a fishing experience an instructor will do all the leg work ensuring the correct equipment is available, the venue is suitable and the experience is tailored to their clients requirements.
Why leave it to trial and error, become frustrated and disillusioned and possibly even give up fly fishing altogether if in a few hours or perhaps a day or two a qualified instructor can set you on the road to many happy seasons spent by the water?
Digital Photo Frame: And finally here is my slightly off the wall suggestion for a luxury fly fishing present to stick under the tree. For many folk, including those buying gifts for anglers, they may wonder what on Earth is so appealing about spending hour upon hour by the water trying to catch a fish. Well I reckon we go fishing to spend a little bit of time at one with nature, to soak up the scenery and enjoy the mystery of what lies beneath the water lapping at our waders. It’s the peace, the tranquillity and then the sudden adrenalin rush when the line pulls tight. It’s all about the Experience.
Which means memories, lots of them and in some cases a lifetime of recollections. It could be a particularly stunning sunset, a kingfisher perched at the waterside or of course the fish of a lifetime captured on a memory card and now beaming a slide show of happy memories across the office table as a permanent reminder that soon enough it will be time to clock out and go fishing again. Pretty useful don’t you reckon?!
I actually have one of these at the fishery and after quite a bit of research nailed it down to a NIX 12 inch Hi-Res Digital Photo Frame which you can see in more detail by clicking the highlighted link. These frames are often available through Amazon at a reduced rate, currently £99.99, saving fifty quid. It runs off a usb memory stick which is included, its incredibly easy to use and offers a great display. Mine has also been mounted using a ceiling pole which is easy enough to find as an add on extra.
I think that is enough Christmas based blogging for one year. If there is some jargon above you don’t understand or a superduper fly fishing present that we should all know about then please tell us about it in the comments section below and if I can personally help you shop for the angler in your life then please don’t hesitate to contact me here.