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All I Want for Christmas – Neil Waugh's Yule Tide Fishing Gifts Wish List


It's Fishin' Holers second-favorite time of year (anytime we are out fishing is, of course, our first).

When the gifts pile up under the Christmas tree and anticipation of the angling year that lies ahead builds.

And while there's no questioning that Santa knows everything and has our best intentions at heart, sometimes he needs a nudge in the right direction.

Photo by Neil Waugh

So here is a wish list of products and merchandise that are guaranteed to make your holiday season merry and bright and all your Christmases white. Or better still, blue.

The Sound of Silence

– Don't get me wrong, I've got nothing against gasoline powered ice augers, which, when they came out many decades ago were a giant leap forward from the old-school "armstrong" variety - allowing hard water anglers to drill multiple holes without turning the exercise into a trip to the gym.

Especially during our long western winters where the ice thickness can become excessive toward the end of February.

But two-stroke motors can be temperamental and noisy. Plus there's always the worry that some gas might leak from the tank during transportation.

The ION Ice Auger – which promises "all you hear is the sound of ice shredding" – resolves much of that unease.

Its much-improved 40 volt lithium battery generates a powerful torque allowing the ice fisher to drill up to 1,600 inches of hole before a recharge and comes in a selection of bore diameters up to 10 inches. All in relative silence. The auger reverses with the flick of a switch, allowing cuttings to be moved away from the bit, greatly reducing the possibility of jams. And because the electric motor emits zero fumes it's ideal for use in permanent ice shelters.

Be True to Your Team

– Here's a great way to be loud and proud about your Western Canadian professional sports team.

And catch a lot of fish while doing it.

Pelican Lures out of Winnipeg, Manitoba offers a selection of spoons decked out in National Hockey League (NHL) and Canadian Football League (CFL) team logos.

The lures come armed with top-of-the-line Eagle Claw treble hooks and are subjected to Pelican's state-of-the-art heat transfer process which imbeds your team's digital image onto the nickel plated surface. Rendering the lure extremely fade resistant.

In time if it begins to lose its lustre a quick bake in a 400C oven will restore its shine to as good as new.

A great stocking stuffer idea for the angler sports-fan in the family.

Slice and Dice

– Being a responsible and ethical angler - especially in these days of aggressive fisheries management practices by government conservation agencies and reduced harvest opportunities - is to limit what you catch and savour all you keep.

And nothing turns a successful day on the water into a delicious celebratory meal at home or around the campfire than a good knife.

Bubba Blades has a selection of filleting knives in various blade lengths and flexes that makes transforming a stringer of fish into a tasty fish fry "a piece of cake."

The knives come in Bubba's signature textured no-slip handle and the stainless steel blade comes with an exclusive Teflon coating which makes removing the flesh from the bones a "whole new feel."

Each knife is honed to a razor sharpness at the factory and includes a synthetic custom sheath and safety guard. It's a Christmas gift to fry for.

Getting Started

– Demystifying the mysteries of fly fishing can appear to be a steep learning curve for the rookie angler. Where to start?

Well the soundest advice I can give is to get yourself rigged with a quality – but affordable - rod and reel combo.

The Orvis Company from Manchester, Vermont, has been synonymous with the fly-fishing business since 1856, and offers its "all around" Encounter Series in various lengths and line weights.

Combined with a large-arbour reel, allowing for fast and efficient line pick-up and matched with a weight-forward floating fly line.

Which Orvis describes as "the perfect first rod for any fly angler."

And while it is built for the rigours of the "hardcore " angler, it is offered at a price point with "frugality in mind."

It also comes with Orvis CEO Perk Perkins' personal motto that: "We do not sell what we ourselves would not be proud to own or give."

Safety First

– They say one of the leading causes of death among tropical fishing guides – who earn their living poling flats boats under an unrelenting southern sun – is melanoma.

Over exposure to harsh sunlight is no laughing matter.

One way to beat the heat and ward off the risks of skin damage is a Buff.

This unique piece of outdoor clothing was originally designed for Spanish motorbike riders but now has been taken up with enthusiasm by the angling community. The polyester microfibre sun protection can be worn around the neck in a dozen different configurations and particularly comes into its own on bright, sunny days or while running to a new angling location in a boat.

It's available in a variety of designs including several fish variety images by renowned artist Derek DeYoung.

Cold Comfort

– One of the unfortunate down-sides of ice angling is ice. Plus the snow and the cold, cold weather generally.

No matter how you layer-up the frigid air will inevitably creep into your ice-angling structure and make your day on the ice uncomfortable.

A Mr. Heater propane fueled radiant heater is a great way to beat the cold and extend your stay on the ice surface exponentially.

The heaters come in a variety of configurations including a compact model that fits over a 1 pound propane bottle – ideal for one-person ice tents. The units can be adapted to larger propane sources and come with an easy to operate ignition system and vital safety features like an oxygen depletion sensor and an accidental tip-over shut-off. Let there be heat.

Getting There

– They say getting there is half the fun. But not if you get lost.

Backroad Mapbooks has a solution to that which combined with a Garmin global positioning device (GPS) can turn you magical mystery tour into a pleasant experience.

The Backroad GPS maps contain the most comprehensive and detailed coverage for Canadian recreational outdoors users and are compatible with Garmin GPS and Basecamp technology.

Fishing and hunting "hot spots" are outlined as well as topographical features, bush roads, paddling routes and thousands of geographical and recreation points. Guaranteed to get you to your destination.

Backroad Mapbooks - Fishing Maps The Fishin Hole
Backroad Mapbooks - Fishing Maps

[image source:]

A Piece of the Legend

– The Palliser Bait Company of Lacombe, Alberta has been producing it high quality angling lures, named for the company's namesake and founder, the legendary Len Thompson, for generations.

45 million lures and counting have been produced since Thompson began manufacturing them on his farmhouse table at Abernethy, Saskatchewan in 1929.

And they remain effective fish-getters where ever predatory fish swim and are particularly effective on pike, walleye, lake trout and bull trout.

The Lennie's irresistible wobble was honed by Thompson who invariably carried a ballpeen hammer and file in his tackle box to tweak his lures.

A design which has remained virtually unchanged since the 1950s constructed with corrosion resistant brass and environmentally friendly paints.

Len Thompsons come in a range of popular colours including red and white, yellow with red diamonds and black and white. And are available in a handy five-pack, just right for putting in someone's stocking.

On the Pontoon

– While bank angling has its rewards, nothing gets you to good fishing better than a boat.

Especially when weekend warriors crowd the access points or the marshy shorelines of many western waterbodies make fishing on foot impossible and often dangerous.

The solution, of course, is a fishing boat.

But a large, rigid watercraft can present its own set of challenges.

A soft-sided inflatable like a raft, float tube or pontoon offers a compatible compromise.

Outcast Sporting Gear presents a series of pontoon boats in its Fish Cat series which can be assembled quickly and later stowed away in a compact package. The strong frames and durable pontoon bladders give waterborne anglers a greater sense of safety while allowing them to reach a far-greater range of fish-holding waters.

The pontoons – which range from guide-model doubles to compact single-angler craft - come with anchor systems and storage decks and paniers.

And can be equipped with sonar, GPS systems and electric motors to extend the anglers reach and sub-surface knowledge greatly.

When All Else Fails

- No matter how much you pry and probe during the big pre-Christmas build-up it's sometimes still hard to know what your loved one really wants.

Especially with a sport so complex, technical and personal as angling.

And the last thing you want to see on that magic morning when the gifts are opened is a disappointed face.

A great way to beat the odds of getting it wrong and avoiding the unwanted anxiety of making a return is to let the anglers in the family make their own choice.

And give them a gift certificate in a denomination that feels right.

It also allows them to troll the post-holiday sales where they can get an even bigger bang for your outdoors buck. That's called win-win-win.

Previous Fishing Articles
(1) The Jewel at First Ice
(2) Fly Fishing Bucket List
(3) Guided or DIY?
(4) Pond Power
(5) Caddisflies
(6) In the Good Old Summertime
(7) A Southern Escape
(8) Springtime in Alberta - Can Thrill You to the Bone
(9) Sunny Day Rainbows
(10) New "Fishing" Year Resolutions
(11) Five Fine Places to Find Trout
(12) Catfishing Revisited
(13) Discover Squamish, an Outdoor Playground
(14) Falling for Cutthroat
(15) New Water and Old Friends
(16) My McLeod
(17) Temperature and Trout
(18) On the Road Again
(19) Tips That Will Make You a More Successful Fly-Fisherman
(20) 5 Ways to Catch Your Trout
(21) The Difference Maker - Reading Trout Stream Waters
(22) Rollin’ on the River
(23) Windy Day Pike
(24) Cures for Cabin Fever
(25) Snowbirding with a Fishing Rod
(26) Alberta’s Spring Creek Browns - Blessings and Curses
(27) A day on our foothill streams
(28) Fly Fishing Crowded Waters
(29) Fly Leaders
(30) In the Zone
(31) Learners Permit
(32) Flies of Summer
(33) Selecting the Right Boat
(34) The Italian Job
(35) Making a difference
(36) Pass the Salt
(37) Hopper Time - Fly-fishing’s Second Season
(38) Pike on the Fly - Fishing New Waters
(39) Fall brings the big walleye out
(40) Hoppertunity Time
(41) Becoming a Better Dry Fly Angler
(42) Make Your Own Fishing Adventure
(43) Early Season Fly Fishing
(44) Walleye Logic
(45) Fly Fishing in the Desert
(46) Grammy’s Fish
(47) Top 10 Trout Lures
(48) All I Want for Christmas – Neil Waugh's Yule Tide Fishing Gifts Wish List
(49) Muskies - The Ultimate Predator
(50) What to expect when fishing the West Coast
(51) Tips & Tricks for Fall Fly Fishing
(52) There’s No Place Like Home
(53) A Golden Opportunity
(54) The Observational Trout Fisherman
(55) Un-matching the Hatch
(56) Alberta Super Bugs
(57) Glass is Back
(58) The Bull Trout of the Athabasca
(59) Speed Kills
(60) Entering the Twilight Zone
(61) Old Man River
(62) The Pink Salmon of the Squamish River
(63) Small stream BT fishing
(64) Fly fishing beyond Trout: getting started
(65) In The Walleye Zone
(66) Zoo Trout
(67) Fly Selection for Beginners
(68) Fly Fisher's Christmas
(69) New Waters
(70) Big Bad Burbot
(71) Looking Back
(72) Out of Africa
(73) Finding Success on Crowded Trout Streams
(74) Mountain Peaks, Fast Streams, Fall Colours And Rocky Mountain Whitefish
(75) The Browns of Autumn
(76) Fly-Fishing Pike Through The Seasons
(77) Walleye Town
(78) River Fun - One Bite At A Time
(79) Fly Fishing Larger Rivers
(80) Going With The Flow
(81) Becoming A Better Fly Fisherman
(82) Swinging The Fences
(83) A View From The Aerie
(84) Dixieland Delight
(85) Atlantic Salmon - The Fish of 1000 Casts
(86) Do It Yourself Pink Salmon
(87) Montana's Cool Missouri
(88) Pretty Is As Pretty Does
(89) Toothy Critters
(90) Hard Water Lakers at Cold Lake
(91) Top Ten Flies
(92) Northern Exposure
(93) Home Water Lessons
(94) Chicken Of The Sea
(95) Sealing the Deal – How to Ensure You Land More Fish
(96) Deep In The Heart Of Texas
(97) Keep It Up!
(98) River Fishing for Fall Walleye
(99) After the Flood - A look at Southern Alberta rivers and streams one year after the 2013 flood
(100) Reindeer Lake - A Diversity of Opportunity
(101) Hawg Holes
(102) Saltwater Salmon
(103) Early Season Dry Fly Fishing
(104) Down a Lazy River - A Fly-rodding Adventure on the Lower North Saskatchewan
(105) The Fly Fishing Season Ahead
(108) Bright Fish from the Land of Silver
(109) Canada's "Other" Salmon
(110) Fall Walleye
(111) Wet Flies
(112) Versatility the Key to Success
(113) Grayling of the Boreal
(114) Teaching Kids To Fly Fish
(115) Size Matters
(116) Fly Fishing Small Streams
(117) Chasing Winter Whites One Lake At A Time
(118) Manitoba's Fishing Jewel
(119) The Twelve Gifts Of Christmas
(120) The Point Of It All
(121) Fishing With Friends-Big Weather Seizing The Day
(122) Fall Fly Fishing
(123) Personal Pontoon Boats 101
(124) Big River, Big Fish
(125) Bottom Bonanza
(126) Fishing Small Flies
(127) So Many Choices, So Little Time
(128) Four Seasons of the Bow
(129) Favourite Lakes - Some Like it Hot
(131) Trout Hunting New Zealand style
(132) Don’t Leave Home Without Them – 10 Lures That Should Be In Everyone’s Tackle Box
(133) Edge Walleye
(135) Smallmouth Bass – An Oft Overlooked Challenge
(136) Four Corners – Four Waters
(137) Chasing Pothole Trout
(138) Springtime Stoneflies
(139) The Torrents of Spring
(140) Drift Boat Fly Fishing
(141) Bust Them With Bait
(142) Cure the Winter Blues with a Good Book
(143) Hot Strategies for the Cold Months
(144) Cutthroat: The Angler's Trout
(145) Terrestrials
(146) Fly In For Fishing Fun
(147) Rocky Mountain High
(148) Reading the clues
(149) Where the Trout Are The art of locating feeding trout in rivers and streams.
(150) K.I.S.S. and Tell Fly-fishin
(151) Fly Fishing 101
(152) To Catch a Big Halibut, or Ling Cod
(153) The Bountiful Bones of Ascension Bay
(154) Grayling in the Eye of the Beholder
(155) Fly Fishing for South Fork Clearwater Steelhead
(156) Manitoba's Red River - North America's Catfish Capital
(157) Eliminating the Spook Factor
(158) Trust Your Electronics
(159) The Most Important Hatch of the Year
(160) Early Season Nymph Fishing for Trout
(161) Finding Success for Ice Trout
(162) Walleye can be Humbling
(163) The Secret to Landing the Big One Finally Revealed
(164) Winter Flyfishing
(165) North Saskatchewan River - An Underutilized Fishing Gem
(166) Hot Fall Pike Action
(167) Tips and Tricks to Save the Summer Slow Down
(168) Reading Trout Stream Waters
(169) Frequently Asked Questions
(170) Streamer Fishing for Larger Trout
(171) The Lure of Big Walleye at Last Ice
(172) Deep Water Perch
(173) Post Spawn Brookies
(174) A Fisher's Life
(175) The River's Last Stand
(176) The Big Ones Come out at Night
(177) Coho on the Coast
(178) Chasing and Catching Halibut
(179) Summer in the Mountains
(180) Peak Walleye Season
(181) Slow and Steady Wins the Race
(182) Last Ice Rainbows
(183) The Burbot Event
(184) Tackle Matching
(185) Ice Fishing Strategy #2 - Going Light
(186) Ice Fishing Strategy #1 - Location
(187) The Lure of Brook Trout
(188) The Shallow Water Hunt is On
(189) Hot Backswimmer Action Happening Right Now
(190) Fishing Among Giants-Pursuing Lake Sturgeon on the Prairies
(191) Adventure at Davin Lake Lodge, Northern Saskatchewan
(192) The Vesatile Plug
(193) Bead Head Flies, Plugs and Shot and other Spring Favorites for Pothole Trout
(194) Planning your Upcoming Angling Adventures
(195) Good Fishing at Last Ice
(196) Maximize the Odds - Use Multiple Presentations
(197) Daily Fish Migrations
(198) Fish Migrations - Following the Spawn
(199) Lake Whitefish - An Ice Fishing All Star
(200) Pick Your Favorite Brook Trout Lake...and Go Fishing
(201) A Look Ahead to Great Trout Fishing
(202) Wrestling White Sturgeon on the Fraser
(203) The Fun in Ultra Light
(204) Flyfishing and Leadcore Lines
(205) Embrace the Spirit of Adventure
(206) Never Stop Learning
(207) Ice Fishing is Getting Hot
(208) Jigging through the Ice
(209) An Ice Fishing Unsung Hero – The Setline
(210) Rainbows on Ice
(211) The Season of Ice Begins
(212) Red Hot Fall Pike Action
(213) Hitting it Right with Water Boatman
(214) Facts On Cats
(215) West Coast Adventure
(216) June Walleye Frenzy
(217) Aerated Lakes are Big Trout Factories
(218) First Fish of the Year Pothole Rainbows and Browns
(219) Northern Exposure
(220) Sometimes There is More to Fishing Than Catching Fish
(221) Early Season Pike On The Fly
(222) Man Overboard
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