You have a kid, relative, significant other that doesn’t do anything but fish. 24/7 and 365 he/she is talking about fishing, watching fishing, potentially reading their favorite fishing blog…
The problem here is shopping for the little devil am I right? You couldn’t tell a size #3 bait keeper from a 4/0 EWG if they hooked into you! Don’t fret! I love the holidays, and there’s nothing like getting a bunch of Christmas tackle that you can’t use until March! Woohoo!
In the spirit of Christmas, I’ve taken it upon myself to rank the best gifts for reels, rods, and some tackle just like the Fat Man here does it. A Nice and Naughty list. The nicer you are, the nicer the gear. HO HO HO…
I’m a certified reel junky. All of these gift suggestions are coming from newly released reels at this year’s iCast (2018). Not only will I give you the name and price of each item, but also the link to it on tackle warehouse. You’re welcome… you filthy animals.
Nice- Shimano Curado DC ($249)
Shimano could not have done much to improve on the latest Curado, it was the best Curado ever made. They did the only thing they could do. They put a microchip in it. Yes, there’s a computer in that fishing reel. Baitcasting reels can be a hassle to deal with because you constantly have to be aware of your brake settings, line tension, and the fact that you can’t cast it like a spinning reel. Shimano solves all this with a computer that monitors the speed at which the spool spins and automatically and electronically adjusts them so you never backlash!
The breaks have 4 settings based on your line making it the simplest braking system on the market. Aside from all this, you can cast this thing a mile. It’s absolutely disgusting. Fish don’t stand a chance.
Average- Daiwa Tatula 100 ($159)
It doesn’t do this reel justice to put it in the middle category and is really only here because of the price. This is the lightest Tatula to date, AND the lowest-profile reel on the market to date. It’s a
big small deal. Anyone that loves finesse fishing is gonna love this thing. All aluminum frame weighing in at a measly 6.9oz makes this thing a featherweight, and to top it off with the proprietary Daiwa T-Wing line guide makes this thing a true Christmas miracle.
Naughty- Shimano SLX ($99)
Once again, this beauty is only here for the price. Shimano is a quality brand and has been forever. Fishing with a Shimano is like driving a lambo; it’s a buttery smooth, finely tuned, beautifully engineered masterpiece. So this SLX is like finding a lamborghini for 50% off. And they didn’t hold back one bit. Hagane metal frame (some proprietary Japanese metal, in my experience noticeably more durable than aluminum, just a bit heavier), coupled with Shimano’s proprietary VBS breaking system-which I payed $200 for when it first came out so this thing is a STEAL. Seriously, if you’ve never wielded a Shimano- splurge on this bad Larry. It makes it impossible to believe that Shimano started out making bikes.
The Stradic Ci4+ has been top dog in the spinning market since it dropped in 2016. Once again a full Hagane metal frame with a titanium bail ensures this thing will be fishing long after you’re gone. Nothing lasts forever but piece of art will get you halfway there. If you’re a trout angler I highly recommend this reel because of it’s smooth retrieve and how quickly it reacts to start-ups and stops. Shimano says this is due to its asymmetrical frame which I can’t even pretend to understand, I’m just an idiot who catches fish, but I can tell you without a doubt it handles incredibly well and is more responsive than other reels in this price point. The one downside is this bad boy (like most Shimano gear) is a licensed and certified bank breaker.
Average- Daiwa Fuego LT ($100)
Every fisherman does the same thing when inspecting a spinning reel. They’ll fiddle with it in their hands for a bit, maybe flip the bail a couple times, and sure enough they whip the handle around and let go, they then stare intently as the handle continues to turn. Every. Single. Time. I do the same thing, it’s like an impromptu reel test. However, when you try to reel test this bad boy; it turns into a fan. I’m not kidding, the Fuego will just go on for days. To put it in holiday terms- this thing is smoother than an Elf’s Rectum. For the money, it’s a must-have.
Naughty- Pflueger President ($49)
I hate getting political around the holidays but it’s a necessary evil for this timeless reel. I quite honestly don’t know how Pflueger can deliver this kind of quality for this price but you and your wallet can send them a thank you. It’s nothing special, but it’s very smooth for the price, quality aluminum handle and frame, and it’s a workhorse that would rival god damn Secretariat. Mine is going on it’s forth year of heavy use, but I know guys fishing just as much as me that have had theirs for 7-8 years. So yeah, it’s a worthy investment. Aside from stellar quality, you can also expect serious distance from this piece of American Muscle.
Oh right, and it also happens to be the #1 best selling spinning reel in America, so yeah, pretty solid.
While I tend to have a bit more appreciation for reels because much like a fish; I like shiny things. But that doesn’t mean I neglect rods. A high quality graphite modulus in my blank is more important than Santa’s insulin. Oh and while I put pictures and links to the baitcasting versions of these rods, they are all also available in a spinning outfit for you finesse fisherman out there.
Nice as H***- Dobyns Champion Extreme ($349)
Now, as you’re reading this, there’s a quarter of you drooling on you computer over this Dobyns, a quarter of you are already scrolling down to the “naughty” rod, and the rest of you are angry I even suggested such a ludicrously expensive gift. The way I see it- there’s two ways you would actually gift this rod to someone. 1.) You really love your kid and if that’s the case reach out to me so I can let my parents know I will be a part of your family now. And 2.) your kid got absolutely screwed with a birthday on December 24th or 25th and you feel guilty for all these years of “combined” gifts. All kidding aside, this is a wet dream of a rod. Not all things will put more fish in the boat if you spend more money on it. This is not one of those things.
The Dobyns Champion series will catch you more fish. Besides having one of the best graphite modulus’s on the market, they also happen to be hand-picked and tapered for every bass fishing application you can think of. The graphite alone is sensitive enough for you to see a noticeable increase in netted fish, but when matched with the technique it is designed for you- your hook-up ratio is going through the roof. The amount of bass you catch will be insane, but so will your wife when she finds the receipt so just keep the dog house warm- you’ll be there a while.
Average- Dobyns Fury Series ($119)
At the time of writing this blog, the entire Dobyns Sierra series is on clearance at Tackle Warehouse for $109. The Sierra Series features a full-cork handle, Kevlar wrapped reel handles, and Alconite Fuji guides. Click the link and pick them up now. They are a higher quality rod than the Fury Series and are currently cheaper. Grab 2 or 3. You’ll thank me later.
That being said, I decided to put the Fury Series up here anyway because this is a limited time sale. The difference between a Sierra for (normally) $160 and a Fury for $120 is slim. You will not find a better rod in the price range. I can’t stress enough how happy I am with the Fury Series and am planning on buying more, and I HATE split-grip handles with a fiery passion. The sensitivity and strength of the Fury is so unmatched I ignore the handle. Oh and it’s Dobyns so they have every option from a 6’8 Medium action to a 7’6 heavy action. It’s hard to ask for your two front teeth with these rods out on the market.
Naughty- Shimano Convergence ($59)
I typically try to avoid rods this cheap but since I have a serious shopping problem I picked this one up anyway. I could not be happier. It features a full-cork handle and Fuji guides, and the modulus is thinner than I expected, but after flipping the slop and hauling out slaunch-donkeys with 17lb fluoro for years- I can assure you the Convergence is a tank. Strong like an Ugly Stik and sensitive like a Shimano, it’s an absolute killer combo.
Finally, for the people in your lives you really don’t like that much but still need a gift for; I got you covered. Any of these options will get you good with the in-laws or your A-hole boss. Give them the gift of everlasting happiness- Tackle.
- River2Sea Whopper Plopper- It’s almost 2019. If you’re not slinging a whopper plop around every chance you get then you’re probably a pan-fisherman. Pick one up TODAY, catch donkeys in the spring.
- Venom Lures Weedless Ned Rig- The single best technique for catching as many fish as you possibly can now is weedless. You’re welcome. Pond-hoppers rejoice.
- Z-Man TRD Craws- The perfect pairing to the weedless Ned Rig. The same stretchy, seemingly indestructible, elaz-tech plastic you know and love, now in craw form. Bass candy at its finest.
- Megabass Vision 110 Jerkbaits– My all time favorite Jerkbait to throw numerous conditions. Comes with a tungsten weight which transfers from the back of the lure to the front upon the cast allowing you to cast it further than traditional jerk baits. Not to mention all Megabass paintjobs belong in a museum.
- Lucky Craft LV 500- This lure has been a best-seller on Tackle Warehouse since people were still fishing with bamboo. Certified fish catcher that you can throw at virtually any depth and in any conditions.
- River2Sea Bully Wa 2– The frog with the best walking action, most durable plastic, and hooks strong enough to tow a truck. No bass is safe.
- Teckel Sprinker Frog- A beautiful combination between frog and whopper plopper. The sprinker frog gives you the same action as a plopper with a weedless presentation, and an adjustable boot to dial in the best noise for your fishery.
Hopefully these gift ideas will help some poor lost soul out. And for those of you reading that are fisherman- beware of Tackle Warehouse. The more time you spend there the weaker your self-control and the smaller your wallet gets. Merry Christmas ya filthy animals.
HO HO HO