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Christmas Gifts for Anglers

Four to improve sporting chances and pleasure

     I’m going to go way out on a limb this year to suggest some specific gifts for the sportsman/woman in your life. I realize it’s a dangerous direction, but this year there seem to be some real winners out there.
     My first suggestion is a level-wind casting reel made by Shimano. Casting reels are the most dangerous gift to give to an angler who doesn’t have one, as they have a painful learning curve. It’s all because of the backlash, a horrendous tangle of line that occurs when the turns faster than line going out with the cast.
     The Shimano SLX DC 150 XG, finished in satin black with electric blue detailing, is priced in line with other quality casting reels without the computer chip. Shimano is the only manufacturer currently offering the computer-controlled model, and you’ll find everything claimed is delivered. It is an amazing accomplishment.
     A couple of books belong in any angler’s library. Lenny Rudow’s 2005 Guide to Fishing the Chesa­peake contains verified, critical information on all the brackish water locations for all the species available hereabouts. His thorough coverage of every fishable honey hole on the Bay and when it is most fruitful remains remarkable and reliable. It should be in every angler’s arsenal.
      Alan Battista’s 2017 Light Tackle Kayak Jigging the Chesapeake Bay: A Guide to Gear, Location and Jigging Presentations For Striped Bass is newer and more specialized but just as useful, offering all you need to know before venturing into the Bay and its tributaries for rockfish.
       A chilled, crisp Chardonnay is a delicious addition to holiday conversation, but not so much when the vino gets warm and sour. The Wine Tumbler made by Polar Camel comes in enough attractive colors and decorations so that you won’t get yours mixed up with anyone else’s. Double-insulated, super efficient yet lightweight and the size of a correct goblet, it keeps things warm as well as cold, so your hot mulled varieties will also stay that way for just as long as necessary.
      Youngsters on your list who’ve reached the age (about five years) that they can safely go fishing are prime recipients for the small, simple, close-faced reels and short, slim, solid-glass rods with Disney Characters and Marvel Comic heroes featured on the packaging (Spiderman was my kids’ favorite). It may not seem like a serious introduction to a fantastic sport and pastime, but these outfits really work, and everyone will thank you for it in the end.
     I also suggest you get each young angler two of these outfits, so that on their initial outings, (if you are lucky enough to go along) you can be untangling one while they are fishing with the other. And I also suggest that you don’t bring your own tackle on those first few adventures, you won’t have any time to use it.
      Have a very happy holiday!
Fish Finder
      Rockfish season ends December 15, but in the meantime the bite remains steady when weather permits. Trolling small- to medium-sized soft plastics slow and deep will get limits of legal stripers. But if you like a challenge and have a warm boat, try big, springtime-sized baits both shallow and deep. The big wintertime ocean migrators are starting to show. Also try bouncing a two-ounce jig with a big lip-hooked bull minnow around the Bay Bridge in deep water; There are some good sized rockfish there lately. 
      Perch are schooling in their deep water hangouts, 40 to 60 feet, and taking bloodworms and small minnows.
Hunting Seasons
Deer antlered and sika, firearms: thru Dec.14
Migratory Canada geese, limit 1: Dec. 20-Jan. 4
Rabbit, limit 4: thru Feb. 29
Sea ducks, limit 5: thru Jan. 10
Squirrel, limit 6: thru Feb. 29