While it’s always good to not be greedy, there’s a certain kind of joy that comes only from giving people you love things that they love. Since most readers of this column are anglers, and since most anglers have friends and family members who fish, it makes sense to give the gift of bent rods. And no matter what your budget is, you can get them something they’ll have a lot of fun with.
Less than $5
At this price point, we’re looking at tackle box essentials. These are things that most anglers use and go through a lot of, so they’re always welcome. We’re talking stuff like hooks, sinkers, floats, jigheads and monofilament leader. You can also get some of the lower-end fishing tools, soft plastic baits, spoons and even cheap knives.
Less than $10
Climbing up the price ladder just a bit opens up a whole new world of lure possibilities. Most of the popular baits fall into this category: MirrOdines, X-Raps, Yo-Zuris, etc. Some brands of fluorocarbon leader (which most lure anglers prefer to mono) will just squeak in. For the bait fisherman, how about a bucket aerator or a bait knife? And everyone uses needle-nose pliers and fish measurers.
Less than $25
Almost all the remaining lures will fit in here, and so will most fluorocarbon leaders. Other choices include hats and Buffs to keep the sun off, decent fillet knives, budget polarized sunglasses, or a basic tacklebox. Rod and reel combos at this price level are best suited for kids and beginners, but you can pick up a very nice bait bucket and aerator combo and stay under budget.
Less than $50
If you want a rod and reel, at this level you’ll be able to find a budget combo. Or perhaps it’s a better idea to put the money toward a pretty good reel or rod by itself, and let the recipient figure out the other part. Other options: High-quality pliers with a sheath, a Waterproof chart, a landing or bridge net, a spool of braided line, or a really nice fillet knife. And anyone would appreciate a moisture-wicking UV-protective shirt.
Less than $100
If you’ve got a Benjamin to drop, you can get a quality rod and reel combo to put under the tree. There are also some really good rods or reels available at this price point. For the bait fisherman, a beginner-level cast net would probably be appreciated.
For those of you with deeper pockets (or who have saved all year to get your loved one something really amazing), there are some excellent choices in the tackle shop. A BogaGrip is good for anyone who fishes. High-end sunglasses (Costa is the most recognized brand) are always in high demand, if a bit tricky to buy for someone else because there are so many options. How about a Benchmade pocket knife, a beach cart for carrying rods and a cooler, or a really fancy rod or reel? For the angler who has it all, we have a giant hand-forged Mustad hook used for catching great whites. Yeah, it’s $300, but think of the stories you could tell.
For those who have been extra, extra good
How about a fishing charter? We don’t actually sell charters, but several of the guys who work out of the shop do. Fishing charters aren’t cheap at about $100 an hour (or $50 an hour on your boat, with your gas), but there are few better ways to experience the incredible fishing our local waters offer.
Don’t forget about gift cards. These will fit literally any budget, and they’re a great alternative to sunglasses that might not fit or a rod that might not be quite right.
Now of course, I’m basing this list off the inventory at the shop where I work. Some of you will have other shops that you call home base, and that’s OK. I think most fairly well-stocked local tackle shops will be somewhat comparable in what they’ve got and in pricing. And if not — hey, you know where to find me.
From me and the whole Fishin’ Franks pirate crew, Merry Christmas and happy holidays.
Robert Lugiewicz is the manager of Fishin’ Frank’s Bait & Tackle, located at 4425-D Tamiami Trail in Charlotte Harbor and at 14531 N. Cleveland Ave. in North Fort Myers. Call 941-625-3888 for more information about the shop or for local fishing info, or visit them online at FishinFranks.com.