stocking_stuffers by liwenting

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									                                        Valley Angler
                                Stocking Stuffers for Fishermen
                                      by Bill Thompson

   Judging by the amount of ads stuffed in today's Daily Sun it is obvious that it is that time of year
again. Black Friday is upon us once again. Black Friday is, of course the day after Thanksgiving when
every retailer in America hopes that his accounts are back on the black side of the ledger. We have had
a lot of “Black” days recently; days when the stock market has taken another plunge. A lot of retailers
this year are wondering if there will be anything to celebrate after the 25th. There is no question that this
year and perhaps the one to come will be a lean one.

  With this sobering thought in mind I would like to offer up a small list of gifts for the angler in your
family that are both affordable and particle as well. As you may have guessed there is a method in my
madness and that I do have a personal stake in this.

   It can be hard for someone who is not a fisherman to buy a gift for one that is. When it comes to
buying rods and reels as a gift it is best to be armed with some specific knowledge of what your angler
would like. Every year we have well intentioned gift givers come in the shop and say that they would
like to buy a rod for Uncle Harry. When we ask what type of fishing that Uncle Harry does they
generally have no idea. When we start to explain the options they suddenly realize that they are way
out of their league. This is when we suggest that go back and get some information on what Uncle
Harry would like or settle for the gift certificate. With this in mind I offer the following suggestions.

   Clippers or snips are always appreciated by anglers and are useful for both fly fishermen and spin
fishermen alike. These little devices are used to clip line and are similar to common fingernail clippers.
They come in a wide variety of types and styles. An inexpensive one comes in at under five dollars,
however, like everything you can spend more. More expensive one may have added features like knot
tiers or hook sharpeners added and the better ones will be made from higher grade materials. This is an
item that you can never have to many of. I use several vests and gear bags so I try to keep a clipper in
each one. I also have a penance for losing them.

   If you buy the line clipper you might want to throw in a retractor or zinger too. These little devices
pin or clip to the anglers vest and are used to keep things like clippers in easy reach and out of the way
at the same time. They are a lot like key chain keepers that janitors keep on their belts. Like the
clippers, an inexpensive one sells for about five bucks. A handy device for both spin and fly fishers
alike.

   Forceps are another indispensable piece of gear that is can and used by all kinds of fishermen. They
are used for releasing fish, crimping split shot and bending down barbs on hooks among other things.
Prices range from, starting around, twelve dollars up to twenty. The most common type is the type
commonly used by surgeons. There is another style called mitten clamps. As the name suggests one can
open and close these while wearing a mitten. These are great for stealheaders and for any angler who
fishes in cold weather. These sell for around twenty bucks, but are well worth it. By the way you might
want to add in the retractor. A lot of anglers simply clip the forceps to their shirt or vest. I can tell you
from personal experience this is a great way to lose them.

  A knot tier is a useful tool and makes a great inexpensive gift. Probably one of the very best nail knot
tiers ever invented is made right here in North Conway. The Bill Franke Nail Knot Tier is simple and
easy to learn how to use. I keep one in my vest all the time and Janet and I have two on our rigging
bench in the shop all of the time. Priced at just six dollars, you can't go wrong.

   I spend a lot of time in the spring and early summer fishing the Saco. Most of the time, at this time of
year, I fish past dark. A head lamp has become a regular part of my fishing kit. They are certainly
useful for tying on flies, but even more important it is a lot easier to find my way back to the truck in
the dark. I know my clients feel better when I break mine out when we get ready to head back after an
evening of fishing. You find these at almost any camping store as well as most fishing shops. Since
they first came on the market the price on these have dropped dramatically. A supper one can be had for
around fifth-teen bucks.

   One of the most useful things I have on my vest is a magnetic net holder. Over the years I have tried
just about everything there is to keep my net out of the way when not in use, but at the same time
within reach. The magnetic net holder solves the problem. Janet first introduced me to this product
some time ago. It was not until borrowed hers one day did I discover how great these things are.
Another great gift at under twenty dollars.

   Ever wonder how big that fish really was? Personally, no, I would just as soon guess and a little on
the high side too. However, if you are a stickler for the truth Orvis makes a neat little tape measure in a
zinger for just under nine bucks. You might want to give one of these to one of your buddies that has a
tendency to, like me, guess high.

  A fly fisherman can never have too many fly boxes. Most of us have way too many flies and an extra
box to keep them is always welcome. Fly boxes can be had for as low as two dollars all the way up to a
hundred.

   Flies are also a welcome gift and you can name your price. Most shops have pre-packaged selections
or you can make up your own. If you don't ask the fly shop guy or girl help you out.
   Well there you have another shameless promotion from the shameless commerce department.
Remember the retailers of America are counting on you to turn this economy around so get out there
this weekend and do your part for your country.

  See you on the river.

								
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