Christmas Gift Ideas for the Avid Angler
By: Mark Romanack
The iconic Spin n Glo attractor/bait float has caught the author so many fish over the years it simply has to be included in any Christmas gift buying guide. The No. 6 is Mark’s top pick for walleye and the No. 2 is his “go to” choice for lake trout.
Tis the season for gift giving and in my opinion fishermen are the easiest group to buy for. No avid angler was ever disappointed to open a gift full of fishing tackle, fishing clothing or fishing accessories. After all, if your tackle box is full, buy another tackle box and get busy filling that one! Owning too much fishing tackle isn’t a thing so, Santa can feel free to give until it hurts!
YAKIMA BAIT COMPANY
Yakima Bait Company is one of the oldest and most trusted tackle manufacturers in the nation. Many of the lures we depend on each week at Fishing 411 TV are produced by Yakima Bait including the iconic Rooster Tail Spinners, Mag Lip plugs, the Spin n Glo attractor/bait floater and the Spin n Fish a hollow plug that can be stuffed with cut bait or scent products.
We use the Rooster Tail Spinners mostly to catch trout, but they are also deadly effective on smallmouth bass, panfish and northern pike. With over a hundred colors and sizes to choose from, there is a Rooster Tail for every angler.
The 3.0 and 3.5 Mag Lip plugs have become one of the most commonly seen lure on Fishing 411 TV. That’s because these plugs routinely catch so many different species of fish including lake trout, chinook salmon, coho salmon, steelhead, brown trout and even walleye.
When it comes to the Spin n Glo attractor/bait floats, we use two sizes a ton including the No. 6 for walleye fishing with minnows or nightcrawler and the No. 2 clean for targeting lake trout. With more than 100 body and wing color options to choose from, the hardest thing with a Spin n Glo is picking just a few to get started with.
Last but certainly not least, the Spin n Fish is becoming the hottest thing in salmon fishing. Fished in combination with a rotator and stuffed with cut bait or fishing scent, the Spin n Fish catches chinook and coho salmon like nothing else on the market.
When you fish the Yakima Bait Mag Lip plug, this is how it commonly comes to the boat. Fish literally inhale this plug like it’s their last meal. In many cases, it is!
If you haven’t seen the Bill Lewis Precise Walleye Crank in action, it’s time you added a few to your tackle box. Designed by Mark and Jake Romanack to be the ultimate big water walleye crankbait, the PWC features oversized wide bend hooks, a premium finish, loud rattles and it comes tuned and ready to fish right out of the package. Must have colors include the FireTiger, Green Tiger, Metallic Chrome/Orange Belly, Huff n Puff, Sunrise and Green Muffin.
The Bill Lewis Precise Walleye Crank or PWC for short has been turning a lot of heads since it was introduced last December. Designed to dive deep on shorter lead lengths, the PWC features two oversized hooks, premium finishes and comes tuned and ready to fish right out of the package.
The Steelshad blade bait is rapidly becoming a dominate force among bass, walleye and trout fishermen. The 1/2 ounce size is ideal for targeting smallmouth, largemouth and walleye. The 3/4 ounce version is tailor made for jigging up monster lake trout. Ice fishermen are raving over the smaller sizes for panfish, walleye and sauger. Available in a host of fish catching colors including glow finishes, the Steelshad blade bait is the only blade bait you need in your tackle box.
OFF SHORE TACKLE
Two items are a “must have” when it comes to Off Shore Tackle products including the iconic OR12 Side-Planer and the OR20 Pro Weights. The Side-Planer is the in-line planer board everyone has attempted to copy and failed. Nothing on the market works better or lasts longer than this industry leading product. The OR12 Side-Planer is most commonly used for targeting walleye with crankbaits or live bait rigs, but this same board is also ideal for trolling up trout and salmon on flat lines or when trolling with lead core.
The OR20 Pro Weight, in combination with the OR16 Snap Weight Clip is how anglers everywhere get their lures to greater depth. The OR16 attaches to the OR20 with a split ring, making it easy to put weight on the line to increase depth and then just as quickly remove the weight when fighting fish.
EAGLE CLAW STARFIRE X TROLLING RODS
Just released, the Starfire X trolling rods from Eagle Claw were designed by none other than Mark and Jake Romanack of Fishing 411 TV. Built from a graphite/fiberglass composite, the Starfire X rods are tough, affordable and they feature for perfect actions for a host of popular trolling presentations.
The 7’-6” and 8’-6” Telescopic In-Line Board Rods are perfect for pulling crankbaits, spoons or live bait rigs with planer boards like the iconic Off Shore Tackle Side-Planer. The 7’-6” version was built with walleye anglers in mind and the 8’-6” version for trout and salmon anglers.
The 8’-6” Telescopic Bottom Bouncer Rod is perfectly designed for fishing bottom bouncers ranging in size from one to four ounces. This rod has a very soft tip and moderate action, making it ideal for telegraphing bites, without letting the fish feel the resistance of the rod. This rod also doubles as an excellent choice for fishing three-way rigs when targeting trout and salmon with plugs like the Mag Lip.
The 8’-0” two piece Downrigger Rod is designed to be an “all purpose” downrigger rod ideal for targeting everything from spring coho, to chinook salmon, lake trout, steelhead and even walleye.
Last, but certainly not least the 9’-0” Telescopic Diver Rod is an industry first. Historically, diver rods are long, very bulky and tough to store in a fishing boat. No one has come to market with a diver rod that telescopes for storage, yet extends to function perfectly with all divers up to and including magnum versions. This rod also features stainless guides making it ideal for fishing copper wire, lead core and weighted stainless steel wire for trout and salmon. This rod is also a great choice for targeting trophy fish like catfish, musky and for saltwater trolling applications.
SMOOTH MOVES SUSPENSION SEATS
Everyone who owns a fishing boat wants Smooth Moves Suspension Seats to soften the ride in rough water. Smooth Moves produces two models including the Ultra which is manually adjusted to increase or decrease spring tension by simply turning one knob clockwise to increase tension or counter-clockwise to reduce the seat tension. This simple to use suspension seat is bullet proof.
The Smooth Moves Air Suspension Seat uses an air pump and simple push/pull switch to increase or decrease the seat tension. The air is ideal for making rapid changes to the seat tension while running. The air suspension system can be powered using a portable cigarette lighter plug, or hard wired into a electrical buss.
Both the Ultra and Air models can be installed using simple hand tools in a few minutes time.
STRIKER BRANDS CLOTHING
For anglers who fish rain or shine, a good rain suit is not a luxury, but a necessity. The Striker Brands Adrenaline is the ideal rain suit because it layers perfectly over mid-layer clothing, is 100% dry and breaths beautifully when the rain stops and the sun pops back out. This suit fits even tall anglers with ease and the hood is designed to stay in place even when the boat is running at full speed. The pockets feature waterproof zippers so your cell phone stays dry and the cuffs are neoprene to keep water from seeping in at the wrist.
Available in three colors including Black, Veil Stryk and Veil Stryk Transition, the Adrenaline Rain Suit is the best value on the market in performance rain gear, period. At Fishing 411 TV our crew literally lives in the Adrenaline Rain Suit. It’s the one piece of clothing that gets packed for every trip.
The Striker Brand Adrenaline Rain Suit appears on almost every episode of Fishing 411 TV. Mark says it’s the only item that always gets packed, no matter where we are fishing. Every avid angler needs a good rain suit and the Adrenaline is the best the author has ever owned.
PRO CURE BAIT SCENTS
At Fishing 411 TV we get a lot of questions about Pro Cure. Does it really work? What formulas do we recommend? What’s the best way to use scent products?
When we started using Pro Cure Super Gel more than a decade ago, it was a turning point in our fishing careers. Not only does using fishing scent increase the amount of bites we get, the fish that bite do so with more authority.
We strongly recommend that anglers clean their lures before using a fishing scent product using a non-scented, bleach free dish soap such as Joy Lemon Dishwashing Fluid. Once the lures are cleaned, apply a liberal amount of Super Gel. While fishing, get in the habit of cleaning the baits every time you catch a fish to insure negative odors such as blood are removed before resetting lines. We carry in the boat a small plastic pail with a scrub brush and soap in it just for this purpose.
For trout and salmon fishing our favorite Super Gel formulas are Bloody Tuna, Alewife and Smelt. For walleye fishing our favorite Super Gel formulas are Emerald Shiner, Gizzard Shad and Nightcrawler.
When fishing spawn for steelhead or brown trout, we feel that the Salmon Egg formula helps a great deal.
The more a person uses Super Gel, the more confident they become in this product. I hate to image what fishing would be like if we weren’t allowed to use Super Gel on our favorite lures and live baits.
CISCO FISHING SYSTEMS
Clearly Cisco Fishing Systems produces the highest quality track, rod holders and trolling accessories on the market. All American engineered and made in Ohio, no matter what boat you own, Cisco Fishing Systems has the products to rig it right the first time.
The three rod Tree Mast Rod Holder is a staple on our boats at Fishing 411 TV. We like rod holder trees because it presents the butts of the rods outside the boat, increasing room inside the boat and spreading out the rod tips more effectively. Any time we are fishing in-line boards, the Cisco Rod Tree is on our boat.
The Cisco Cradle Rod Holder is bullet proof and designed to handle even the most heavy duty of trolling chores. We use the cradles for fishing diving planers like the Dipsy Diver, but we also use this style of rod holder for flat line trolling with bottom bouncers or three-way rigs. The beauty of a cradle rod holder is the rod can be removed by simply lifting it upwards, setting the hook in the process.
Tube style rod holders are popular with a lot of anglers. They are versatile because they can be used with in-line boards, diving planers or downriggers. Anglers who want to keep things simple will find that a tube style rod holder does a lot of things very well.
FISH HAWK ELECTRONICS
Anyone who fishes the open waters of the Great Lakes needs a sub-surface trolling probe that monitors water temperature at depth, trolling speed at the surface and trolling speed at depth. The Fish Hawk X4D has dominated in this category by providing anglers with dependable data for targeting temperature sensitive species like trout and salmon.
New for 2024 major improvements have been made to the Fish Hawk sub-surface probe that are simply game changing developments. For details visit the Fish Hawk site to see when these new products will be available for sale.
PRECISION TROLLING DATA
We would be remiss if we didn’t talk at least a little about the Precision Trolling Data phone apps. Anyone who is serious about trolling will find that this comprehensive phone app provides critically important depth diving data on all the popular crankbaits, live bait rigs and diving devices such as Tadpole Divers, Dipsy Divers, Slide-Divers, Tru-Trip Divers and much, much more. In fact, it’s hard to find a trolling product that has not been tested by the staff at PTD to determine it’s diving depth at various trolling speeds.
The Lifetime package is the most popular purchase at PTD. This package provides anglers all the data we currently have included in the app and as new data is added, updates are provided to Lifetime customers at no additional charge. The PTD app is sold at the Google Play and Apple App Stores respectively.
SUMMING IT UP
All the items outlined above are available for purchase on-line by simply visiting the company’s web page and most are also available at your favorite retailer. Give the gifts that keep on giving all year long. Give fishing tackle this year and watch the smiles as those packages are unwrapped!