Sporting Life

A Gift Guide for the Impossible Person 

By Dennis Doyle 

Choosing a holiday gift for the dedicated sportsperson can be the most daunting task anyone can undertake, especially for a non-sporting shopper. The basic reason for this is that a committed angler, photographer, bird watcher, boater or hunter already has the necessary equipment, those items are hard to find and extras generally unnecessary. 

So, when in doubt do not take a chance and pick something at random on the advice of a salesperson who may (or usually may not, no matter what they claim) have the experience necessary to make a sanguine choice. A gift certificate is the most reliable and error free item to select. However, if you decide to accept the challenge of finding a necessary piece of gear your sportsman or woman does not yet possess, here are some suggestions. 

Anglers on the Chesapeake have recently discovered the mixed blessing of the blue catfish. Its large size and excellent table qualities are big pluses but it is an extremely messy chore to fillet. Luckily, I have discovered a quick solution, an electric knife by Mister Twister, named appropriately the Electric Fisherman. It makes the whole process a slick, five-minute task instead of a half hour of agony, guaranteed. 

Another good gift is a high quality, small flashlight, like those made by Sure Fire can hit the target, as is a good quality folding knife, like those produced by Benchmade. Both of these products fall into the “would like to have but too dear for me” category, though they are not really all that expensive. 

If the person in question is a bit on the reckless side, a personal locator beacon is available in many styles and can be really handy when things don’t go according to plan. They can even be helpful to have in your auto if you spend a lot of time on the road, especially in foul weather conditions. The units will send out an emergency signal when activated and enable responders to immediately locate your position. There are units for just about any situation. 

Compact, auto battery backup devices are another appreciated item that can be extremely valuable when needed, particularly those the size that easily store in your car’s glove compartment. They can produce enough juice to start your auto over a dozen times if your car battery has gone dead. Some models can also recharge your mobile phones. Look to auto supply stores or online for these. 

High quality, stainless steel thermos bottles currently being made are also universally desirable gifts. Items made by Yeti, Nissan and Under Armor are currently very trendy choices. They’ll keep hot things hot or your cold drinks just above freezing for 12 hours or more. That’s a gift that can really be appreciated. 

Especially for the ladies (per my spouse) consider giving insulated vests, jackets and rain gear made by companies specializing in extreme sportswear for climbers, sailors, skiers and high-tech hiking. These are really welcome as those items as manufactured by fashion houses often fail under the duress of hard weather. Look for Patagonia, Helly Hensen, Henri Lloyds, Musto and similar lines of extreme activity gear. 

For after-hour lounging, I’ve also been advised, nothing is cozier than the soft pants and tops manufactured by a new Ocean City-based manufacturer, Pure Lure, and as a stocking stuffer nothing will become handier than a beverage can cooler by Toadfish. They stick (nicely) to any surface it is placed on until you need another sip. Happy holidays. 


Now that the winds have stopped the rockfish bite may start up again. Try bouncing a big lip hooked minnow on a two-ounce jig around the Bay Bridge supports. Try trolling at the mouths of the tribs down deep with medium to small bucktails or deep diving plugs such as the Rapala Mangum 20 and 30’s. Colors such as bright pink, red/white and chartreuse may get some attention from some big winter fish. White perch are still available on blood worms; they’re extra delicious this time of year and usually found just to the south of the Bay Bridge, Eastern Shore Rockpile and the mouth of the Eastern Bay. Try in 30-plus feet of water.