Special Gifts for the Outdoors Man or Woman

Buying a special holiday present for an avid angler, hunter, canoeist or kayaker is fraught with difficulty. Most dedicated sportsmen and women already have the gear they need. Those who don’t have definite ideas of what they want — but it is almost impossible to divine just what. However, there are a few things this holiday season that can be counted on to give special joy to just about anyone who’s outdoor obsessed.

A Nifty Flashlight

Flashlights are a great gift. I don’t mean the old-fashioned clunkers the size of a 16-ounce beer can, but the new, very compact, high-tech versions you see on TV crime shows. Did you know that they were originally developed to the demanding requirements of military and law-enforcement applications?

I got my first exposure to these amazing illuminators a couple of years ago in the form of a Christmas gift — not one that I was given but one that I had impulsively bought for an acquaintance. 

Before giving the SureFire 6P, I tried it out to be sure it was actually useful. Overwhelmed by its superb performance and utility, I kept the light for myself, and gave the intended recipient something else. 

Measuring about four inches long and scarcely an inch in diameter, these tactical torches are waterproof, shockproof and as close to indestructible as you can get. Most can survive being run over by a truck. Generating an incredible beam of light, they are the equivalent or better of a conventional flashlight a dozen times the size and weight. 

Once you own one of these instruments, you’ll never again be happy with any other type. Most local outdoor stores are now carrying good selections.

A Fine New Rod

Giving a fishing rod has always been a particularly risky gesture as most devout fishers already have their favorites. But this year, for Chesapeake Bay fishermen and women, at least, there is a new model of fishing rod just available. Few anglers know about these rods yet, and, in my view, they are spectacular. 

If your sportsperson in question fishes from a boat for rockfish or any of their finny fellows, and if they live-line, bait fish, throw artificial lures or, particularly, engage in any light-tackle jigging, the new Shimano Trevala S TVSC series of rods just announced for 2011 will knock their socks off.

Why are these so special? They are easily less than half the weight of most rods used for these applications, and the blanks are much smaller in diameter, more sensitive and far more powerful. Guaranteed, these new rods will instantly and significantly raise the performance, weight and rod strength standard with light-tackle anglers everywhere on the Tidewater.

Approximately six-and-a-half feet in length, weighing only four to five ounces and, depending on the model, utilizing line tests from 10 all the way to 80 pounds, they are able to handle lures and bait weights out of all proportion to their size.

I can’t think of a light tackle angler alive who will not be enthralled with this rod. At least one of these babies is at the top of my list to Santa.

A Better Paddle 

Kayakers and canoeists have at least one thing in common besides loving the water, for both use a paddle. Generally, outdoor devotees of this stripe start out with a standard utility paddle, and most never see any sense in using anything else. After all, a paddle is just a paddle. Except it’s not.

A well-constructed, higher quality paddle will be lighter, stronger, and more efficient than the basic utility model. While its use may provide only a slight, incremental improvement during a single paddle stroke, when the overall load is measured by, say, a thousand strokes over a long day’s journey, it can make the difference between exhaustion and exhilaration.

This is a gift a paddler will remember you by for years to come; in fact, every time out paddling.

Local canoe and kayak dealers should have good selections of better-made instruments this time of year. Have an approximation of the intended’s height to determine the proper size of these most useful and often beautiful creations. If you’re an online shopper, Bending Branches, Werner and Carlisle have excellent sites.