Choosing a gift for a fisher can be challenging because fishing is highly personal and subjective. Fortunately, there are broad categories that make it easier to identify and select the perfect gift ideas for fishing lovers.
The 10 top gift ideas for fishing lovers are:
- Gift card/certificate
- Mystery fishing box
- New season refresh
- Fishing quality of life gifts
- Fishing aids
- Equipment/supplies kits
- Charter fishing trip
- Vessel – Kayak, canoe, motorboat
- Vessel safety equipment
- Requested equipment
The trick is matching the angler to a gift and making sure it meets their interests and abilities. Gifting a kayak, for instance, only works if that person fishes from a kayak or is interested in learning how to do so. Below are some ideas for finding the perfect gift for just about any angler.
Tips For Buying Gifts For Fishing Lovers
Determining the appropriate gift for a fisher can be the easiest task in the world, while at the same time being the most challenging. It is easy because there are thousands of options that go in many different directions. It’s challenging because there is no standard for fishing. Instead, it’s almost entirely up to the fisher’s skills and interests.
Different Types Of Anglers
For example, someone who is a dedicated fly fisher will likely not appreciate lures that cannot be used fly fishing. Someone that typically fishes with a bait or spin cast reel probably would appreciate a few select flies for their lure collection but getting them 50 will likely mean 45 go to waste.
The same holds true for salt versus freshwater anglers. Saltwater fishing is very different from freshwater fishing because of variance in the fish species and the different types of water. Saltwater fish generally grow much larger than freshwater fish, so lures that will attract saltwater fish are usually too large for freshwater fishing.
Knowing what type of fishing a fisher likes and matching that to fishing gifts can be the difference between loving a gift and only the thought counting.
To that end, it is important that, if the gift giver does not know, they ask the fisher what types of gifts would interest them. If giving them a gift is supposed to be secret, it might take some ingenuity to figure out what makes them tick.
A good place to start is to engage the fisher in a discussion about the type of fish they typically go after. You can learn a lot from that type of conversation without giving away that the discussion will provide a framework for gift giving!
Don’t Get Specific
Some fishing gifts will fit any fisher’s interests. Most, however, apply to certain levels of skill or interest. Further, most anglers like to choose their equipment – rods, reels, and lures (or bait). This is because they know what works where they fish the most and what equipment they are most comfortable using.
Fishing rods come in all shapes and sizes. This is because every rod has a purpose and serves as the angler’s “eyes” underwater. Among other things, a rod:
- Picks up on hits by a fish, even subtle nudges
- Indicates when a lure bangs against an underwater structure
- Helps set the hook, avoiding over or under setting the hook, which can lose a fish
Some rods are built to feel every touch by a fish or when the lure rubs up against or comes in contact with an underwater structure. Others are built to withstand an onslaught once a fish is hooked but sacrifice brute strength for flexibility and touch. In between those two are rods that vary in sensitivity and stoutness. There are three classifications of fishing rod.
This rod only bends at the tip, making it extremely sensitive to fish bites. Within the Fast Action classification, there are Fast and Extra Fast rods, with Extra Fast being the most sensitive. Either is good for “feeling” the lure or bait through the water and fish action. Both set the hook easily as well.
This rod bends halfway down the rod and is less sensitive than fast action. Because any movement is absorbed halfway down the rod, it’s best for landing active and strong fish as it tires them out quicker than a fast action rod.
A Slow Action rod will bend down to the handle. It is great for handling lunges and long runs by big fish that are hooked in open water.
Knowing the type of rod a fisher uses most, prefers, or needs for specific instances is vital to selecting a rod as a gift. While there are no real bad choices, some rods get used a lot more than others. Choose the type of rod that the fisher hardly ever uses, and it will end up sitting in a closet and only be brought out occasionally.
The exception to matching a rod to its use does not apply if the fisher is a beginner. In that case, the best rod will be fast or extra fast, because of the sensitivity of either.
Reels also have specific purposes. There are four types of reels.
This type of reel has a bail that is pulled back when casting and revolves around the spool of line. It is the most popular type of reel worldwide because it is versatile, easy to use, and easy to maintain.
The advantage of spinning rods are that they are extremely popular and so there are many different models to choose from. That also makes them affordable. The fact that they are easy to use is also key.
A Baitcasting reel has a spool that rotates as the bait is thrown out into the water. Its advantages are that, since the spool rotates directly in and out, the bait does not twist upon casting or retrieval and the line coming directly off the reel allows for long casts.
A disadvantage is that the fisher must maintain proper tension and braking during casting or a baitcasting reel will overspin and develop snags around the spool. These are called “bird nests.” Until an angler has mastered using their thumb to control the rotation of the spool, bird nests are common and even after years of practice, still occasionally happen.
These are easy to use and perfect starter reels. They are perfect for a child just starting, but even adults taking up fishing should consider one as they are also very inexpensive, but easy to use and dependable.
A spincast reel has a closed spool that covers the line, a release mechanism controlled by the thumb via a push-button, and a frontward facing spool. They are as easy to learn as throwing a ball. The only real disadvantage is that a spincast reel tends to have a lighter test line and is smaller in size.
A flyfishing reel is an open-faced reel that is aligned parallel to the rod. The spool rotates around a “pin” that is fastened to the base of the reel, which is fixed to the rod. Because it propels very lightweight flies to a target area, the line used is very thick, but light, enabling it to be worked back and forth over the shoulder in a throwing motion to build momentum.
Most fly-fishing flies are made of feathers or hair and resemble insects. They are small, often not even a quarter of an inch in length. When they are propelled to a target area, they land lightly in the water and then worked in a manner that convinces a fish the fly is a floating meal in waiting.
Fly-fishing equipment is tailored towards the type of fish being pursued. The same applies to the rod, reel, and line. If the person the gift is being bought for fly-fishes, the smartest strategy is to let them choose what they want.
Not all bait is equal, but every characteristic of a bait serves a purpose. Because live baits come with a shelf-life, they are not covered here.
A white plastic fluke, for instance, might work in a river, but pond fish might look at it as an alien species and leave it alone. A deep-diving crankbait that suspends will just end hanging up on structure in a shallow pond but is a popular bait for deeper lakes.
The most effective baits for pond fishing might work in either of the other bodies of water, but not necessarily. Another factor is color. Bold colors with a lot of contrast usually perform better in lakes where the water is darker or cloudy. More natural colors work better, in general, in bodies of clear water.
Types of bait include spinners, spoons, jigs, stick, crank, plastic, swim, and topwater. Within these, there are multiple types of styles, different types of action, varying colors, and retrieval behavior. Because of all the variables, artificial baits are best left up to the angler.
That applies to all rods, reels, and baits. Unless the fisher provides specific instructions or models, the best gift a person can give them is a gift card. This lets them pick out what they want, and it is on them if they pick out something they do not like.
The exception to that is the beginner. In the case of a new angler, asking for advice at a sporting goods store or on an online forum is a good place to start.
Pattern Gifts After Motivation
People fish for different reasons and just about every fisher has a combination of motivations that prompt them to put a line in the water. Some just like to be outdoors while for others it is a form of therapy. Other anglers like catching fish, while some like to “hunt” the fish. For many, fishing is part relaxation, part therapy, part hunting, and part enjoying the outdoors.
The reason an angler fishes should be taken into consideration when selecting the gift. If the gift giver does not know the motivation, they should ask. Knowing the motivation can help avoid choosing something too complicated, irrelevant, or impractical.
For instance, an angler that only fishes to relax or be outdoors may not want a gift that is complex or requires a high degree of skill to use. That angler might appreciate a portable chair for sitting by the pond, lake, or river. Every angler has a reason they fish and patterning a gift that plays to that motivation will almost always result in an incredibly happy fisher.
Do Not Overthink
Buying a gift for an angler requires knowing some information about their fishing preferences, habits, and techniques. It’s not rocket science, however. If the giver lacks the appropriate information, just ask. Most anglers love to discuss their hobby.
Gift Cards Work
In many gift-giving scenarios, a gift card is considered inappropriate or a case of not taking an occasion seriously. That logic, while very appropriate in most circumstances, does not apply to fishers.
Just about every angler would love the opportunity to shop for fishing equipment and supplies and be able to choose what they want versus having someone guess if it is a good gift or not.
Keep The Receipt
If a gift card won’t work, always keep the receipt and give it to the fisher in case the gift doesn’t meet their needs. Successful fishing requires specific tools and if a gift does not provide those tools, it will still be appreciated, but will not get used very much.
Make sure the gift receiver knows that the receipt is in or attached to the gift. In some cases, there might be hesitancy because of the price on the receipt. Get over that. Most fishers do not care how much something was, just that it works for them.
10 Top Gift Ideas For Fishing Lovers
1. Gift Card/Certificate
As mentioned above, fishing is such a highly selective pursuit, and gifting a fisher the ability to purchase what they want is not cutting corners. Giving the fisher a gift card from a store that sells fishing equipment or a certificate for an online purchase lets them pick out what they need or want, versus what the giver guesses they might be able to use.
There are a few options regarding gift cards:
- Get a card that is valid in a specific store
- Get a gift card that is not affiliated with any retail outlet
- Get an online gift card that can be downloaded by the gift receiver
- Send the money to an app
If the gift in question is in any way dependent on the fisher’s ability, experience, fishing preferences, or style of fishing, a gift card is an easy choice. It gets the giver off the hook for making a good choice and gives the receiver their own choice too.
2. Mystery Fishing Box
These have grown in popularity over the last few years. Some are sponsored by retail stores while others are directly from the manufacturer. The way they work is simple:
- The giver signs the gift receiver up for the service
- The receiver gets a box every month of fishing equipment
- The subscription can be renewed or dropped by the giver
Typically, each gift box has an assortment of fishing equipment, like lures, hooks, line, tools, etc., that most anglers can use or already purchase. For example, one gift box program guarantees a certain number of top-rated hard and soft baits as well as other supplies, such as insect repellant or treatment, knives, etc.
Additionally, most gift boxes come with discounts for select retailers. Another promise often made by the organization sponsoring the box is that the value of the fishing materials inside will exceed the actual cost of the box. Most boxes also include tips and advice on cards or paper for improving your fishing skills.
The program can be canceled at any time. Subscriptions generally require a minimum period for the initial purchase although several are month by month. This is a good idea if you really don’t know what to get.
3. New Season Refresh
A new season refresh is a kit that includes “refresher” items to replace materials and supplies used last season. This can include, but is not limited to:
- Insect repellant
- An annual fishing license
- First aid kit
- Bug bite/sting treatment (separate from a kit)
- Waterproof smartphone case
- Rain suit or jacket
- Lure sampler
- Fishing line
- Fishing supplies like weights, hooks, swivels, leaders, etc.
The list can be as long or as short as the giver prefers. There are no wrong items on the list. The most expensive item on the list is the fishing license.
What the refresher kit does is helps the fisher by saving time spent in a store or online replacing or refreshing supplies when they could otherwise be fishing. For many, just covering the fishing license is a significant gift, especially since fishing license costs seem to always be increasing.
4. Fishing Quality Of Life Gifts
These include any materials or supplies that help make an angler’s life a little easier. These can include:
- Dry bag
- Portable chair
- Pocket knife
- Water bottle
- Cooking utensils
- Fileting knife set
- Fishing rod bag
The purpose of each item is only to make the life of the fisher and their experience fishing easier and more fun. You can usually find a lot of these quite cheap, so they’re ideal for those giving multiple gifts.
5. Fishing Aids
Fishing aids include anything that helps the angler improve their fishing outcome. In most cases, it’s best to keep the fishing aids simple and generic, but in some cases, like nautical maps, getting specific is preferable. Fishing aids also include many different items:
- Fish Finder – Portable and stationary on a boat
- Fishing books
- Fishing guides
- Fish bite alarms
- Nautical maps and charts
- Fishing tools like long-nosed pliers
- Trolling motor
- Trailer hitch
Anything that can help a fisher improve their skills, capabilities, and experience qualifies for this list. Many other suggestions could be added to this list too. Because some of the items are more expensive, combining a few is a good idea that won’t break the bank.
6. Equipment/Supplies Kits
This is a basic kit in case the angler finds themselves in an emergency, to help them get through it unscathed. That could include getting lost, stranded with a dead boat motor, or getting caught in bad weather.
Basic survival kit materials and supplies include matches, fire starter, a signaling mirror, survival knife, basic first aid supplies, compass, applicable maps, water purification tablets, short-term nutrition (like energy bars) scissors, portable flashlight, poncho, blanket, etc.
First Aid Kit
This should include bandages, band-aids, sterilizer, gauze, sterile pads, allergic reaction medication, headache, nausea, diarrhea and inflammation medication. These can often be bought together in a kit, which is recommended to ensure everything is covered.
This should also include any medications the fisher or member of their party takes regularly. Additionally, it should include a list of phone numbers for emergency services, and it should be updated with each fishing trip.
A camping kit includes everything needed for an overnight fishing adventure, like a tent, tarp, sleeping bag, and lighting. Many sports and outdoor adventure stores carry individual items as well as premade camping supply kits.
The best cooking kit contains fire-making materials, including matches, spices, pots and pans, plates, eating utensils, and a way to clean it all up. The simplest cooking kit is, generally, the most effective.
There are several other types of kits, but this list is a good starting point. Understanding the type of fishing trip the fisher usually goes on will make the list of supplies and materials for each type of kit easier to assemble.
7. Charter Fishing Trip
A charter fishing trip is perfect if the angler fishes in the ocean. General options include half-day, day, and specific species-oriented trips. Often, package deals for more than one fisher are available. Always remember to check the reputation and purpose of the charter service. Some are better at delivering a fishing trip than others.
8. Vessel – Kayak, Canoe, Motorboat
Because buying a vessel for someone is a major purchase, it is recommended that it is coordinated between the gift receiver and an organization, retail outlet, or salesperson that sells vessels as part of their job. Even something simple, like a kayak or canoe, comes with multiple options that depend on how the fisher will use them.
For example, there are kayaks made for fishing and camping, simple lake or pond excursions, river transport, and ocean-oriented trips. There are also seating options ranging from the traditional kayak seating below or at the water line to platform seating that sits above the kayak and almost functions like a moveable deck.
9. Vessel Safety Equipment
This includes but is not limited to life preservers, portable multi-band radio, lighting, flotation devices separate from life preservers, and anything else that will help keep the fisher safe on any vessel they have.
10. Requested Equipment
The important aspect of purchasing anything requested by the gift receiver is to make sure that you understand the fine details of what they’re looking for. It is easy, for instance, to get confused by fishing rod options and purchase something close to, but not quite what they wanted.
Purchasing fishing gifts is easy if you know all the necessary details or can leave much of the decision-making up to the person receiving the gift. For that reason, a gift card or a specific request from the receiver is recommended above all else. We hope this list helps you select the perfect gift for the angler in your life.