by Andrew A. Cox
It is December, and many of us are busy searching for Christmas gifts for family members, friends, acquaintances, and associates. We may spend hours fighting the crowds around malls and other stores looking for the perfect gift. The frustrations associated with searching for gift ideas takes the joy out of the holiday season.
You can ease some of the holiday season frustration through some simple holiday planning and gift giving strategies. For some of your angling or hunting friends and acquaintances, you could consider handcrafted gifts. Such gifts could include food items that you have perfected over years of preparation. Food items such as beef or deer jerky, preserved fruits and vegetables, preserves and jams to mention a few items, can make good gifts. These gifts are good for angling and hunting friends that enjoy snacking while pursuing their sport.
Making and providing your handcrafted flies, jigs, and other lures such as spinnerbaits and plugs are other gift ideas. These can be made in hard to find colors or sizes, and you can place these handcrafted items in a nice box for presentation purposes.
If you allow time for searching, selection, and shipping, the internet can be a highly useful and effective holiday gift search engine. Searching the on-line catalogs of tackle and outdoor outlets such as Tackle Warehouse, Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Amazon and similar retailers can suggest potential gift ideas for the outdoors person. Some smaller outdoor retailers can also be identified through internet searches that sell specialty outdoor equipment. Such online searching will save countless hours and expense spent in searching outdoor stores in person. You will most likely find a better selection of items online than found in person at area retailers. This is not a strategy for last minute shopping, however. You have to allow time for shipping unless you are willing to pay the extra expense of overnight delivery.
Lastly, consider shopping at locally owned angling or sporting goods stores. Many times these are small businesses that are the foundation of America’s economy. They seem to be having a difficult time these days competing with the large, national, so called “big box” stores, as well as online sales that have cut into their market share. Though prices may be somewhat higher, there are advantages to shopping at these smaller outlets. Customer service is almost always excellent. Staff are knowledgeable and can provide advice on special fishing situations or tackle needs. Many times they carry tackle and product brands not found at big box tackle outlets. Over the course of my travels, I almost always browse through the small “bait and tackle” stores perusing their tackle inventory. Though they may have a small inventory, sometimes one can find classic, left over or discontinued stocks of lures and similar products no longer available at the big box or online sales outlets.
Unfortunately, gift giving and purchases add to the stresses associated with the holiday season. Maybe some of the ideas presented within this article may lessen some of those worries and stressors. You just might be able to find the perfect gift for that sportsperson in your life this holiday season; maybe even a gift that they will treasure for a lifetime.
Author’s Note: Dr. Andrew Cox is a contributing writer to outdoor publications and newspapers. He is a member of the Georgia Outdoor Writer’s Association. He has been fishing the waters of Georgia, Alabama, and north Florida for over forty years. Dr. Cox financially supports his fishing habits as Professor Emeritus at Troy University, Phenix City, Alabama. He may be contacted at [email protected]