Finding the right gift for anglers
It is hard to believe that the holiday season is upon us already. Thanksgiving has come and past. It was sure nice to have both my children home for Thanksgiving. It is a great time of year to appreciate family and friends.I get lots of calls regarding Christmas suggestions for fly fishermen. They typically come from friends wives or family members who want to get their favorite fly fisherman or woman a gift that they can use. Anglers, particularly fly fishermen and women, need lots of different items. Fly fishing gear can be expensive, if you are talking watercraft, rods and reels and lines, or fairly reasonable if you are talking about some of the other many gadgets that they use.Probably the one item that a fly angler appreciates the most, particularly if he or she does not tie their own, are flies. Prices on these can range from anywhere from $1 to $2 apiece, depending on where you buy them and the type of fly. I would suggest getting them locally where knowledgeable local anglers are available to assist you with a good selection.What fisherman would not like a new rod or reel? It is pretty easy to get ideas from friends as to what their preferences may be. If in doubt, a gift card at their favorite sporting store is a great way to go so they can select their own gift.Fly lines can run from $30 to more than $60, and there are so many different types that I would tend to shy away from buying one of these for your angler. Because the fly lines can vary in line weights and from floating to different sinking rates, selecting the right line can be a difficult proposition. Many anglers prefer certain brands of lines as well. So unless you really know what they want, leave this one alone.For fly fishermen there are a number of gadgets that are carried that an angler really should have and that run less than $25. These items include a good stream thermometer for checking the water temperature, nippers for cutting line, hemostats for pinching barbs and split shot and removing hooks, split shots for use of nymphs, strike indicators for nymphing, liquid or gel fly floatant for dry flies, dry shake (a desiccant for floating flies after they are wet), tapered leaders and tippet material.If your fly fisherman ties flies, there are literally hundreds of other items that they can use if you include different materials. Fly tying items can run the gamut from expensive to affordable. Since you really need to know what type of flies that they tie, you may have difficulty picking out the right materials.Local shops can probably help you out, but I would suggest some simple items that fly tiers can always use, such as bobbins, hackle pliers or threads. The two best sizes of thread for our area are 8/0 and 6/0. The best colors are probably black, brown, olive, tan and white.Anglers also need warm, layered clothing. Moisture wicking underwear, various layers and socks are really nice items for anglers. Disposable heat packs are available for keeping toes, hands and even the body warm. These are necessities if your angler fishes during cold weather.The only other suggestion that I would have is to keep your eyes open because you never know when a good item may appear. I happened to turn on the television the other morning and my wife had been watching the QVC channel. When it came on they were promoting a hood called a Hotheadz 6 in 1 hat. It was a hood and face mask combination that was reversible in two colors and was wind resistant and waterproof and rated to 40 degrees below. This is a perfect item for a winter angler and, at $19.95, is quite affordable.I am getting this column out early this season so it may help you out with finding just the right item for that angler in your life. Have a terrific holiday season and remember, you can still fish in the winter!Bruce Ajari is a Truckee resident and regular fishing columnist for the Sierra Sun and other area newspapers.