The Best Holiday Gift

By Capt. Cefus McRae, Nuts & Bolts of Fishing Series

My family tells me I’m the hardest person to buy a present for. They look in my closet and see plenty of fishing and hunting clothes…some with the tags still attached. Take a stroll through my shop, and you’ll see tackle boxes stacked to the ceiling, and every rod rack is full. Sound familiar? We fishing fanatics tend to accumulate a lot of stuff, and unless we slam a rod tip in the tailgate or have a reel completely lock up, we will hold on to gear forever. I’ve got some rods that are over 20 years old that I haven’t fished with for 10 or more years. But they still hold a sacred place on the rack.

Of course, some of my stuff has sentimental value…a gun my dad gave me…or a rod which belonged to my grandfather. But there’s a lot that just sits there. Every year, the rods get a coat of wax, and the guns get oiled, but they never get to see the light of day. If they could talk, they would probably be complaining about having to sit on the bench instead of playing in the game. Virtually every rod or gun in my shop has a story. A story about an exciting fishing trip, a snowy pheasant hunt in the Dakotas, or maybe the first fish one of my kids caught. For those reasons, parting with any of them seems unconscionable. I’d bet a lot of you can relate.

All through my youth I was blessed to have a family who spent a lot of time together in the outdoors. Some of my fondest memories are sitting on the bank of a farm pond, listening to my grandfather tell stories from his youth. Sure, we caught some fish…but it was the bond we built while fishing that had such a tremendous impact on my life. Now, nearly a half century later, I continue to pass on some of those stories, experiences and knowledge I’ve acquired to the next generation. Again, I’d bet a lot of you can relate.

So this Christmas season, my wish list is pretty simple: I wish everyone could take the time to create memories outdoors…whether it’s fishing, hunting, or just experiencing a day hiking at a state park. Take time to enjoy being with people you care about and make some new memories of your own. I would also encourage you to find a local youth home, Scout troop or neighborhood organization that could benefit from your stories and knowledge. Or maybe just begin with your own kids and grandkids and enrich your relationships through this splendid pass-time we love so much. Not only will you be giving a grand gift, you’ll be getting one too. I guarantee it will warm your heart and soul for years to come.

From our family to yours, we wish you Tight Lines, Calm Seas and Merry Christmas! Capt. Cefus McRae and Buck The Wonder Dog.