I try to not think about Christmas until after Thanksgiving, so I guess its time. I have my two front teeth, so my next choices are fishing equipment. Fishermen are easy to buy gifts for, since we never have enough fishing stuff.
Prices range from a couple dollars to ridiculous amounts. I think any fisherman would be happy with any of the following. I know I would since I use all of them and depend on them. I have everything on this list, but, like any other fanatical bass fisherman, I could always use duplicates!
Garmin Panoptix Livescope – If you like knowing what is underwater, the Panoptix system can’t be beat. It shows structure and cover, but more importantly, fish as they move, their depth, distance from the boat and direction from the boat, much like shining a spotlight underwater. You can make every cast count and see how the fish react to your bait in real time. Its almost cheating! The first time I was in the boat with one and saw how it worked, I ordered one for my boat as soon as I got home.
This system is expensive, costing a little under $3000.00 for transducer and sonar unit with a ten inch screen for it.
St.Croix Avid Rod – The Avid line of rods are good quality for the cost and have a great warranty. The seven-foot medium fast is good for topwater, crankbaits, spinnerbaits and swimbaits and the medium-heavy fast is perfect for small jigs, Texas rigs and shaky heads. I use those two actions for almost all my fishing.
The Avid series of rods are about $180.00. each.
American Hero Speed Stick rod – I bought a rod from Berry’s Sporting Goods to replace my heavy jig and worm rod I broke. When I tested it in the store, it felt good even though it is a seven-foot rod and I really wanted a shorter rod for skipping baits under docks. The medium heavy, fast action was right, though, and I got it. After using it several times and catching a few fish on it, I am very happy with it. It cast half ounce jigs and Texas rigs with a three sixteenths ounce sinker well, exactly what I wanted it for. I can skip ok with it and it has good sensitivity for feeling bites on those baits. The seven-foot length gives me good leverage when setting the hook.
The American Hero Rod I got at Berry’s SportingGoods was a little under $100.00.
Bass Pro Shop Reels – I get a nice discount from Bass Pro Shops on their branded stuff, so I use their reels. They are less expensive than many of the same quality and have had good service with them. The three I use are the Pro Qualifer, Carbonlight and Signature Series. The higher priced reels are a little smoother and cast a little better, but for most of my fishing the cheaper models serve all my needs. I use the Signature Series for pitching and skipping baits under docks when the higher price makes it worth it. For everything else, the lower priced reels are fine, and I can pitch and skip with them if needed, I just get a few more backlashes.
The Pro Qualifer is $80.00, the Carbonlight is $125.00 and the Signature Series is $160.00
Guidewear – I fish year-round and this time of year it can be miserable on the water if you don’t have proper clothes. A few years ago I bought a Guidewear suit from Cabellas. The bib pants and jacket have both zipper and Velcro flap closings on all openings. They are lined and have Goretex for waterproofing. When suited up with hood up and closed, nothing shows but my eyes, nose and hands. It is warm and completely waterproof. I have fished in rain, sleet, wind and temperature in the teens and have been comfortable, except for my hands, even in the worst conditions. Rubber insulated boots complete the outfit when it rains.
This outfit is not cheap, at about $275.00 each for bibs and jacket, but worth it if you are out in bad weather.
Sunline Shooter fluorocarbon – Fluorocarbon line is important in clear water but works well in stained water, too. The lighter line is limp enough for spinning reels but 12-pound test and up is best on baitcasters. It is some of the toughest line I have ever used, strong and abrasion resistant. If my reel is spooled with fluorocarbon, its Sunline Shooter. It has never failed me.
A 200-yard spool of this line is about $25.00.
Trilene monofilament line – Some baits like topwater require monofilament line, and I like Trilene XT Extra Tough line in 12 to 14-pound test. It is very strong, abrasion resistant and cast well on both bait casters and spinning reels.
At 1000-yard spool of this line, plenty to last a few years, is about $25.00.
Rapala DT 6 – The DT series of crankbaits come in a wide range of colors and depth they work. They run true out of the box with no tuning. The DT 6 is good from fall through Spring for bass feeding in relatively shallow water. They have no rattles and that helps for spooky, heavily pressured bass. I have one tied on every trip and have caught some of my best limits on them.
Rapala DT 6 crankbaits cost about $8.00 each.
JJs Magic – JJs dip and dye quickly colors plastic baits and gives them a strong garlic scent. It comes in several colors to “match the hatch“ and bass love it. I never throw a plastic bait without dipping the tails in chartreuse JJs.
A bottle of JJs Magic cost about $6.00.
All these things work well for me and I would not want to be without them on a fishing trip.