Step 1: Cut a hole in the ice. Step 2: Drop some bait in the lake. Step 3: Reel in holiday gifts for the fishers in your life.
The good news is we’ve scoured the interwebs for you and put together a list of our top 10 presents for the anglers among us. From sun-protective apparel to beautiful fly rods and a packable boat, the gamut is covered.
There comes a time in every kid’s life when they’ve just gotta have their own gear. And the Redington Youth Minnow tackles that head-on.
This four-piece rod is designed with the tiniest anglers in mind. An 8-foot 5-weight, the Minnow provides a medium action and a shorter length, making casting easier for those of us in our growing stages. It comes with its own case, rod, reel, and fly line, making it ready for action the day it hits your doorstep.
YETI LoadOut Bucket: $40
Anyone looking for a hard-working, longlasting gift will love the LoadOut Bucket from YETI. The injection-molded construction makes it virtually indestructible, and the wide-grip handle makes carrying heavy loads surprisingly comfortable.
Organize gear, take a seat, bail out the boat, or haul your catch, this do-all bucket is up for the task. And with extra accessories, including a lid, caddy, gear belt, and tie-down straps, there’s a bucket configuration to please anyone on your list.
Rapala Fish N Fillet Superflex Knife: Starting at $19
Starting at $19, this fillet knife has a bunch of happy reviewers — and it’s also particularly nice to look at. If your angler is more meat-on-the-table and less catch-and-release, this knife is a great grab.
The superflex of the knife itself allows for easy maneuverability in the fillet process, and it’s available in three lengths from 4 to 7 inches. The knife has a nonstick coating that allows for easy movement through layers of skin and muscle. And the tooled leather sheath allows for easy and clean storage in a pack or in the kitchen.
Cabela’s fly tying kit lets the aspiring fly tier test out their mettle by making it easy and affordable to get into the game. This particular kit is designed for travel, but it works just as easily at home. The wood case is pretty, lined in blue felt, and organizationally sound for the equipment that it holds. It includes Cabela’s Super AA Vise and a plethora of tools from bobbins to scissors to hair stackers that’ll get the fly tier knee deep in fake bugs in no time.
With a 42-page book of instructions and a kit that’s ready to roll, Swift Fly Fishing has made it easy to create an extra set of bragging rights about the rods we fish. And the brand has a plethora of weights and mediums to build from. Graphite? Covered. Fiberglass? You bet. You might need to do a little legwork to figure out the right rod for your special someone, but it’ll be worth it when they unwrap this one.
RepYourWater is the cool kids’ brand for fresh hats and duds that feature thoughtful art and location-specific vibes.
Its Freshwater Spine Sun Hoody is indeed fresh, and the freshest thing about it is that part of the proceeds go back to conservation groups supported by the RYW crew. It’s fun to test the knowledge of those around you with the freshwater fish silhouettes that run down the back, and your angler can wear this knowing that the shirt itself supports conservation in the process.
MAKO Boats 414 CC Sportfish Edition: $575,000
Everyone deserves to dream, right? MAKO Boats lets us indulge with this fully kitted-out sportfishing boat.
The 414 CC is at the top of the brand’s line for good reason. It has an 80-gallon leaning post baitwell, a FUSION stereo complete with surround sound and subwoofer, a Shadowcaster underwater light package, and the most powerful engine in the lineup.
And if the 414 CC Sportfish Edition seems a little, um, out of your price range, that’s OK. MAKO Boats has a great lineup of more affordably priced boats well under the half-million mark.
SealLine Bulkhead View Dry Bag: Starting at $23
With a few different sizes to choose from, these dry bags have stood the test of time in keeping things dry since 1986. The roll-top design is simple, and the welded bottoms create an easy shape for stuffing and searching for gear. I’m partial to the window that allows you to find what you’re looking for without having to compromise the seal.
Orvis Open Air Casting Shirt: $79-89
The lightweight poly-nylon blend is quick-drying and comfortable for warmer temperatures and sunny days. The SPF dials in at a solid UPF 40+, and caped front and back panels allow for easy ventilation. And roll-up sleeve tabs allow for easy maneuverability for the active caster. Stick a pair of tickets to the Florida Keys into one of the double-breasted pockets for an extra touch of class.
Early mornings on the river call for hot coffee on demand. YETI delivers on the coolness and the hotness, and its latest design gives a nod to heritage camos of the past.
If a bottle doesn’t cut the mustard, the Ramblers come in a wide array of options from a classic coffee mug to a travel cup that’ll save the avid coffee buyer tons of plastic and paper waste for years on end. The Rambler Magslider lid is a personal favorite, and it makes a great $10 stocking stuffer for those of us (hint: me) that can’t seem to keep a lid around.
Alpacka Caribou Packraft: Starting at $795
Here’s a boat that won’t set you back half a million dollars. And better yet, it packs down to under 5 pounds, making it just as easy to “tow” for those of us driving Fiats.
The Caribou is Alpacka’s lightest, and the ultradurable nylon holds up in tough conditions. I know: I somehow managed to flip one of the brand’s kayaks after getting stuck in a downed tree. (My fault — for real though.) I’m partial to the versatility of the Caribou. Its simple design allows for a plethora of uses from fly fishing to packing out a deer. And the inflation bag makes for an easy, quick way to get on the water in just a few minutes. Plus, no one is ever going to guess that a boat is in a box under the tree. Pretty darn cool.