Sunday April 20, 2014

Gift ideas for your 'fisherfriend'

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Welcome to Week LXXXII of 'Fishing Parkland Shorelines'. Like most of us I am a novice fisherman, loving to fish, but far from an expert. In the following weeks I'll attempt to give those anglers who love to fish but just don't have access to a boat, a look at some of the options in the Yorkton area where you can fish from shore, and hopefully catch some fish.

So it's nearly mid-December and the clock is ticking to have a perfect gift purchased for your favourite fisherman.

But what to get.

Sure you can grab a few hooks off the shelf, but really if a fisherman has his eye on a hook, well he's likely already purchased it. As a species fisherman-erectus is usually seen in the shallows of the fishing gear aisles of sporting goods stores, where they search out the shiniest new hook and immediately take the bait -- in the case to the cashier, and then home to the tackle box.

So back to finding a gift.

The first step is knowing your fisherman a little bit.

As an example if he is a hard water fisherman, one who still looks out the window on a day when winter wind-chills have the world in a frigid grip, and plan excursions to the lake, then you might consider a pair of gloves specifically designed for ice fishing.

There are of course different version of winter angler gloves, but the better ones are fleece-lined, with moisture-wicking fleeces reducing the impact of perspiration.

The gloves have an outer shell of neoprene to keep the wet out, and better versions have adjustable cuffs to ensure a nice fit and to keep the cold out.

Some gloves also come with the ability to free the thumb and index finger, which is great for tying knots without taking off the entire gloves.

A pair of ice fishing gloves would never be amiss for an ice fishing enthusiast.

For any fisherman, one of the great joys of the activity can be pausing to fillet out a fresh caught fish, and cooking it on shore for lunch.

The freshness of the fish, the natural surroundings, and often enjoying the meal with family or friends make such meals memorable.

When it comes to frying up a tasty shore lunch a cast iron frying pan is ideal, yet it is something a lot of fisherman may not have.

Yes there is likely a cast iron fry pan in the kitchen, but often the better half is a little resistant to the idea of you taking her perfect pancake fry pan out to some lake, a trip where it knocks around in the truck box with the tire iron and jack, and then it gets handled around piles of rock at the shore, and not washed properly, and … well by the time she is half way through listing off perfectly good reasons why you shouldn't take the frying pan you have given up on the idea of a fish fry. You have made the bologna sandwiches, and are half way to the quiet of your favourite fishing hole.

So a nice cast iron pan a fisherman can call his own is a great thing.

Now, if your fisherman is into fly fishing, or dreaming of one day making the move to flies, a subscription to Fly Fusion will not be amiss.

A magazine subscription is always a neat gift since the recipient gets a reminder that you were thinking of them every time an edition arrives, four times a year in the case of Fly Fusion.

Now there are many fishing magazines, and many specific to fly fishing, but Fly Fusion gets the nod here because it is one based in Canada, and as a regular reader myself, I can attest to its quality.

You can check it out at

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If your fisherman is more comfortable in the cyber world then a subscription to Catch Magazine ( ), might be just the ticket.

Catch Magazine is dedicated to trout fishing, and it is as good a magazine resource as I have found. The articles are top notch and the photography is a step above the common. There is art in the photos which greatly enhances the natural attraction of the fish and fishing.

Catch rep Brian O'Keefe said the online publication started as a way to share incredible images with a broad audience.

"Catch Magazine is a great place to show videos by Todd Moen and some of my photography, but we also really like giving new photographers a place to show their work and also have the old pros show work that is either classic or new to most people," he said.

O'Keefe said the art of the photographs help set them apart.

"There are quite a few fly fishing paper magazines, Internet blogs, websites and social media sites," he said. "We prefer exciting and creative photography and videos with some text, but not with long, wordy articles. There are so many quality books and magazines with great writing, so we concentrate on photos and video. We do not do 'how to' articles, product reviews and fly tackle industry news. There are so many, very good ways to read about our sport, so we show the sport. That is our niche."

O'Keefe is certainly right, the photography and video content available with a Catch Magazine subscription is simply outstanding, and will provide lots of entertainment through the year.

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If your fisherman overnights it regularly, especially with family and friends, meaning they'll have time in the camper or cabin in the evening to relax, and they like boardgames, wrap up a copy of Salmon Run for them.

I talked about Salmon Run with game designer Jesse Catron back in September. The game, published by Gryphon Games, is one where the theme of salmon swimming upstream in a race works nicely.

"Every year thousands of salmon are compelled by nature to leave the ocean and swim up the river of their birth to spawn. This perilous journey can span hundreds of miles, and it is fraught with danger. Strong rapids, waterfalls, hungry bears and eagles all await the salmon on their quest. Only the most fit will complete the Salmon Run," details the game's rules booklet.

"Salmon Run is a fast-paced racing game for the whole family. Maneuver your salmon upriver avoiding obstacles and jumping over waterfalls. Challenge the immense power of the river's currents! Avoid ferocious bears! Beware of stealthy eagles waiting to snatch victory from your hand! Most of all, pace your salmon to avoid debilitating fatigue."

The game board art is nice, and again fits the salmon in a river theme.

The game has the right theme to attract a fisherman, and game play has enough variety to make it re-playable. A fun choice for sure.

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Now if you have someone on the list who isn't a big fisherman, but you'd like to have them enjoy the experience of a day on the lake, I might suggest you book them a day with John Boyd and his For Your Walleyes Only guiding service.

John's brochure notes "John is registered as an expert Master Angler with over 30 awards in the categories of Walleye, Perch and Catfish. He is a seasoned tournament angler and has great knowledge on the areas he fishes.

"An avid fisherman for 25 years, John has incorporated his own love of fishing and his attention to detail into his guiding service. This means the angler has only to bring themselves, a Manitoba Fishing License and their own love of fishing."

Having spent a day on Lake of the Prairies with John last summer, written about here in August, I can attest to his hospitality as a host. He is a fun guy to fish with.

And he found us fish. As he would say walleye "with big shoulders" and perch that were jumbo tubbies too.

Mix in the fact the noon lunch was fresh fish and homemade pie, and that at day's end he cleaned the catch, after supplying all the gear and even baiting the hooks all day, and it was first class service.

Even a beginner fisherman, a friend from the big city, anyone really would enjoy the experience of being on the lake with John.

Another option, especially as your favourite fisherman gets a bit older, is a good walking stick.

Often fly fisherman have walking sticks for support wading in a river.

But there are many shore fishing areas, Theodore Dam, Canora Dam, Togo Bridge, Stoney Lake, where you have to walk over a lot of rocks to find a spot.

Carrying a rod case in one hand, and tackle box slung over a shoulder, a walking stick to enhance balance is not a bad idea at all.

Many of the walking sticks are collapsable, so they are easy to pack, and when not in use hang easily off the tackle box.

This fisherman would be pleased to see one under the ole Yule tree.

Speaking of things this particular fisherman would like one day, a Tenkara rod is right up there.

"Tenkara is the simple Japanese method of fly-fishing where only a rod, line and fly are used. Eleven to fourteen-foot long rods telescope down to a mere 20 inches. The ultra-portable gear and minimalist nature of the sport make it ideal for going farther as you explore your favorite stream. Whether it is fly-fishing while backpacking, or fishing for fishing sake, tenkara shows us that simplicity can be liberating," detailed

Tenkara rods are generally used for small trout, but they would be a blast at Cutarm Creek for perch, and I could see them being a major challenge against the small, but hungry pike at Canora Dam in the spring.

Being so compact, the Tenkara rod would easily pack in larger tackle boxes for use when looking for some extra challenge.

And there you have it, a few choices which should make any fisherman smile this holiday season.



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