by Kirk Deeter

One thing I cannot understand at all is the “Black Friday” phenomenon. Wake up at some ungodly hour in the middle of vacation, to go fight through traffic, stand in lines, risk being trampled in a stampede… all for the cherished tradition of spending money on cheap Chinese product at a big box retailer. Of course, I know certain manic shoppers who look forward to that with the same gusto as some of us look forward to deer camp… and they likewise question the sanity of anyone willing to wake up before dark to go stand in a river during a sideways rainstorm, swinging flies for steelhead, which we’re just going to let go anyway. So much for owning the logical high ground.

But I will say this… during your holiday shopping, please don’t forget to stop by the local fly shop. They need the business. And frankly, they deserve our support. Even a few bucks will make a difference.

Here’s a list of gift ideas… all under $25… which you can find at the fly shop. They’re perfect gifts for your fishing buddy, or as stocking stuffers… or even for yourself (so long as you’ve been good).

– For that buddy who needs all the help he can get to stay organized, get him the fishpond Sweetwater Reel and Gear Case. The medium size can fit four freshwater reels or two reels and two spools. Its also a great place to throw those little items that get lost in larger gear bags. MSRP: $24.

– Buff Headwear. Try a UV Buff, and you’ll find they’re much more than sun protection… they’re also fashion statements. Retail is $22, and you can find them at many fly shops.

– The Little Red Book of Fly Fishing. Guaranteed to make you 25% smarter on the river between New Year’s and Opening Day. I hope you’l find a copy ($16.95) at a fly shop; however, if you want one signed, and are willing to pay a few bucks extra for shipping, I’ll write any inscription (e.g. To Bob, The golden god with a nine-foot rod”) if your order from

– Chums Halfpipe Eyewear Retainer… $6. It floats. Thus it could be a gift that keeps on giving, saving hundreds in lost eyewear. Your friends will thank you.

– A dozen flies. Especially if you can get some tied in the shop, with specific patterns for local waters. No gift will touch an angler’s spirit (and keep them daydreaming about warm fishing days) like a dozen hand-crafted flies. Figure $2 a fly… a dozen fits inside the cap at $24.

– Have a friend who could use some help keeping his gear clean and ready to go? (That includes yourself.) RIO’s AgentX Line Cleaning Kit is the perfect gift for the holidays. The kit includes a RIO Wonder Cloth and a bottle of AgentX line dressing. Retail is $10.95

– Fly fishers like to wear their affinity for the sport… literally. So for some inspiration on the water as well as some style, get your best fishing buddy a Redington t-shirt this year for the holidays. Choose from four different designs. I thing Redington has the coolest t-shirt prints going. Cost @ $20.

– How about a cap featuring the logo of your favorite fly shop? $20.

– Subscriptions to your favorite outdoor/fly fishing magazine… Field & Stream, of course, should be a renewal.

From socks to fly boxes, to gizmos, and decorative doo-dads, you’ll find a lot more than expensive rods and reels at your fly shop. No matter what is on your shopping list, or personal wish list (interested to know what’s on some of your lists….), please consider stopping in the fly shop!