By Nick Simonson
With the hours ticking away until Santa visits your favorite angler, helping the jolly old elf find the stocking stuffers to wrap up a Christmas holiday doesn’t have to be hard or expensive. What follows is a range of lures and other gear for under 10 dollars that can be easily recalled just before checkout, stash easily in anyone’s stocking or tacklebox and help connect those on the nice list with fish all year long.
On the Ice List
The onset of ice fishing season lends its excitement to the holidays and eager hardwater anglers are psyched to wake up to a stocking full of lures and other gear that makes their winter pursuits more successful. Popular gifts include spoons that add to the holiday cheer with noisemakers that rival the approach of midnight on New Year’s Eve. Offerings that contain rattles like the Northland Rattlin’ Spoon and the Lindy Flyer are also yuletide staples for stockings. Give one in a natural color like silver or perch and another in a wild hue like pink or firetiger.
Additionally, slip-floats are a go-to for anglers this time of year and frequently adorn the surface of holiday holes in the ice. No foam bobber is better recognized on hardwater than the Ice Buster, and with a super-low pricetag (sometimes under a dollar, when on sale) it’s easy to stick a handful of these seasonal favorites in a stocking.
Another premium stocking stuffer that won’t require you to wear holes in your everyday socks is a favorite crankbait for your favorite angler to use when the ice melts and open water hits. Either sneak a quick gander through the right tackleboxes to identify the most trusted models or go with a few industry standards. Rapala is a market leader with offerings for every species, from castable, short-billed options for bass like the X-Rap or Husky Jerk, to trolled models like the Shad Rap for walleyes. It’s tough not to find a use for any of their lures.
What’s more, a selection of jigs is always a welcome addition to a tackle collection, and picking a handful of bulk leadheads in a variety of colors and sizes is easy to do under the proposed 10 dollar stocking stuffer limit. Ballhead jigs and livebait jigs in 1/8-, 1/4-, and 3/8-ounce sizes will cover most depths and flows at which anglers fish. Pink, orange, chartreuse and black are good general colors, but don’t be afraid to mix it up with some others for fun and trial on the water – as parrot (a mix of blue and green) is what landed the new North Dakota state record this spring!
A Festive Twist
If there’s one tool any angler can use, and easily lose – in the water or to another project – it’s a needle-nose pliers. For as little as two dollars, this fisherman’s friend (or a few of them) can be wrapped up and stashed as a stocking stuffer for the angler who is constantly in need of some help when it comes to removing hooks with a quick twist.
Last but not least, a roll of duct tape is a must-have for any boat or tacklebox. Now in many colors beyond the silver-gray accent seen on so many car bumpers, anglers can customize their repair work with their favorite college football teams, blaze orange, camouflage, or bright pink. It’s an easy add to any tackle bag and has a million-and-one uses on the water. From first aid to rod repair, duct tape extends the life of a fishing trip at some point and does so now with more personality than ever.
Finish out the holiday shopping season strong with stocking stuffers that show you, err…Santa, cares about good angling with baits and tools that don’t break the holiday bank and help anglers catch more fish and have more fun from ice to boat to shore in 2019.
Featured Photo: Shad Raps are always a welcome find in anglers’ stockings. For those shopping for their favorite outdoorspeople, it’s a can’t-go-wrong gift. Simonson Photo