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Updated May 22, 2023 9:11 AM
Finding the best fishing gifts for anglers can be like catching the fish of a lifetime—nearly impossible. Fishermen are very particular about their gear and all too often buy what they want as soon as they can. But the benefit of shopping for a diehard angler is that we always have our sights set on something new. If it helps us catch more fish—we want it.
With this in mind, I went into my arsenal and pulled out some gear that I know anglers would love to open on Christmas morning. I even had the opportunity to test out some new and innovative products. The key to a great fishing gift is making sure it’s useful. Ask any serious angler, and they can tell you about the endless amount of gifts we often receive that end up in the corner of the garage. Don’t add to that collection.
Best Boat Accessory: Toadfish Non-Tipping Can Cooler
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve knocked over my morning coffee on the boat ride to my fishing spot. It isn’t a fun way to start the morning. I started using the Toadfish Non-Tipping Can Cooler and there are a lot fewer coffee stains in the boat. This can holder can handle five-foot swells in the open ocean or an off-road ATV ride, definitely one of the best fishing gifts out there. It is designed with a suction cup style base that sticks to just about any surface and refuses to budge, unless of course, you want to drink from it. It can also double as an insulated cup with the included spill-proof lid. Plus, every purchase helps fund oyster bed restoration to improve water quality and keep estuaries vibrant and healthy. Now that’s something we can all raise a glass to!
Best Fishing Jacket: Grundéns Windward Gore-Tex Infinium Insulated Jacket
Grundéns has been known for outerwear tough enough to stand up to the rigors of commercial fishing since they were founded in 1911. The Windward Gore-Tex Infinium Insulated Jacket takes that pedigree into the 21st century, adding top of the line tech to that lineage. The Windward trades PVC coatings for breathable Gore-Tex, so you’ll stay dry from the inside out even when giving your all to a good fish. Body mapping puts insulation right where you need it, but keeps bulk to a minimum. Primaloft traps air like down, but won’t compress if it gets wet. So even if you end up in the drink, the Windward will keep on insulating. On the boat, in the mountains, or around town, Grundéns has you covered with the best fishing gifts.
Best Fishing Pliers: Bubba Stainless Steel Pliers
When you spend a lot of time on the water, it seems like you have two options, either spend hundreds on a nice set of pliers that will last or constantly buy a new cheap pair. The Bubba Stainless Steel Pliers give you that quality construction at an affordable price. They are built entirely out of stainless steel and have a titanium nitride coating. They have built in carbide cutters that will breeze through just about anything, along with crimp cutouts for those heavy saltwater rigs. These are my go-to pliers for rigging, unhooking fish, and anything else you can throw at them. After a long day of fishing, simply rinse them off, and they are as good as new and ready for the next adventure.
Best Baitcasting Reel: Shimano SLX DC
With all the new hype surrounding DC baitcasters, Shimano delivered with an entry level DC reel that punches way out of its league. Whether your angler is new to baitcasters or a seasoned veteran, the Shimano SLX DC is worthy of any rod you pair with it. The DC part of the name stands for digital control and works using a microchip that detects and prevents backlashes before they happen. With four settings, you can dial in how much work the chip does and how far you can cast. Taking the guesswork out of baitcasters allows anglers of all skill levels to enjoy the benefits that come with fishing them. It is available in several gear ratios including 6.3:1, 7.2:1, and 8.2:1, all featuring a smooth but powerful drag system.
Best Fishing Sunglasses: Smith Guide’s Choice
One of the most important pieces of fishing gear are polarized sunglasses. Finding the right pair for an angler can be tricky depending on how and where they fish. The Guide’s Choice glasses solve that problem. These sunglasses offer great coverage with a wraparound frame design to minimize the amount of sunlight that can sneak in from the edges. There is something for every angler with 6 different frame colors and 18 lens options. The Guide’s Choice is built to last for years to come and with Smith’s excellent customer service they will always be there to help with any issues you might have.
Best Outdoor Speaker: Turtlebox Speaker
Music can be a great way to fill in the time between fish. Turtlebox speakers help you do just that with a fully waterproof housing and amazing sound quality. These speakers are a great size to easily bring anywhere and crank out distortion-free music at up to 120dB. The battery life of these speakers is incredible, lasting 20 hours for regular listening and 6+ hours at maximum volume. The speaker has a built in USB charger and tie down anchors to make sure it doesn’t go anywhere. Possibly the best feature of this speaker is the fact that it is fully waterproof whether it be saltwater or freshwater. It excels as a boat speaker for long runs or a day on the sand bar.
Best Fishing Backpack: Yeti Panga 28L Backpack
When push comes to shove, I’m a fly fisherman. This doesn’t mean I don’t love to pick up baitcaster and throw frogs for giant bass, but I spend the majority of my time with a fly rod in hand. What this does mean is that I often find myself wading deep rivers, climbing over snowy banks, and zipping around in a falts boat. The one common theme in these pursuits is I tend to get myself, and all of my gear, wet. The Yeti Panga Backpack is a fully waterproof bag that can be submerged and still keep everything dry. I keep my camera, lenses, phone, wallet, lunch, and any other valuables I have stored here when I’m on the water. This bag gets wet, abused, and tortured when I’m fishing. It has never failed me and I absolutely love it.
Best Rain Gear for Fishing: Simms Challenger Bib and Challenger Jacket
In my experience, there are two things that will ruin a day of fishing: getting soaked and no fish. The latter is often uncontrollable, but the former is an easy fix. The Simms Challenger Bib and Jacket are made out of durable fabric with DWR water repellent. Rain and sleet roll right off to keep you comfortable and dry. The bibs come with zippered low legs to allow them to easily slide over boots and save you the embarrassment of struggling in the parking lot. The Challenger Jacket also offers some impressive features such as the three-point adjustable hood to minimize the amount of water that can get to you. I’ve been most impressed with how breathable this combo is during even the hottest summer days. You can’t control the fish, but you can control staying dry. This is a fishing gift your angler will be recommending to all of their fishing buddies.
Best Fishing Boots: Xtratuff 6 in Ankle Deck Boot
If you’ve been on a boat before you know some people can be weird about scuffing up their nice white deck. So instead of going barefoot, pick up a pair of Xtratuff’s deck boots and stay comfortable. All their boots have a non-marking sole made to keep you from slipping even in slick conditions. They keep your feet dry and are super comfortable for a long day of fishing. You’ll be dry, safe, and comfortable all day long.
Best Tote: Yeti Camino 35 Carryall
I’ll be the first to admit that the inside of my truck looks like a bomb went off. The floor is buried underneath a mountain of fishing gear. Tackle boxes, waders, boots, and bags all combine for one big mosh pit. I started using the YETI Camino 35 this fall and it especially helped with one area of my fishing hoarding problem—boots and waders. The durable and waterproof material of the Camino allows me to put my wet and muddy boots right in without having to worry. Don’t ask how I know, but having your waders and boots in one place saves you from the frustration and embarrassment of showing up to the river with only one boot. Even when you aren’t fishing the Camino serves are a great beach bag, boat bag, and camping bag. It has deployable dividers and comes in handy on many of my adventures.
Best Stocking Stuffer: Megabass Vision ONETEN FX
Ask any angler what the best jerkbait is and chances are they’ll say Megabass, and rightfully so. They have built a reputation for making the best jerkbaits available and the Vision ONETEN FX is at the top of the lineup. Some of the features are truly impressive including a folding lip to improve casting distance and hooks with barbs on the outside of the bend for better hookups. These baits fish just as well as they look and can be an amazing prespawn lure for springtime bass or fished in tailwater rivers for trophy trout. When it comes to best fishing gifts, it’s hard to beat a great jerkbait. Available in thirteen colors you can match any baitfish you need.