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Finding the best fishing gifts for anglers can be like catching the fish of a lifetime—nearly impossible. Fishermen are very particular about their gear and all too often buy what they want as soon as they can. But the benefit of shopping for a diehard angler is that we always have our sights set on something new. If it helps us catch more fish—we want it.
With this in mind, I went into my arsenal and pulled out some gear that I know anglers would love to open on Christmas morning. I even had the opportunity to test out some new and innovative products. The key to a great fishing gift is making sure it’s useful. Ask any serious angler, and they can tell you about the endless amount of gifts we often receive that end up in the corner of the garage. Don’t add to that collection.
I wore the Rockport Hooodie while fishing all summer long. It became my go-to from June to August and I was always cool, comfortable, and protected. It has a full-coverage hood design with a UPF rating of 50+. Other features include chest pocket, thumb holes, and quick-drying materials. —Ryan Chelius
Anglers love two things: Fishing, and fishing gear. FishVault is the only subscription box delivering premium fishing gear anglers will actually use. Picked by anglers for anglers, every month FishVault partners with premium brands like Oakley, Garmin, Yeti, Bubba, Rapala, and others to deliver awesome gear. Each box comes with carefully selected rods, reels, gear, and tackle worthy of die-hard anglers. You choose the fishing preference (saltwater, freshwater, or both) and apparel sizes for your giftee, and then FishVault handles the rest. I’ve never been disappointed in a FishVault box, and it is truly the gift that keeps on giving all year long. —Max Inchausti
A good fish finder will help lead you to your next big catch. We recommend the Lowrance Hook2 as the best portable fish finder because it’s easy to use and has both a GPS plotter for tracking your course and important waypoints and a wide-angle transducer that gives you colorful detailed images. —M.I.
Fishing line is one of those things no angler can have too much of. We dubbed the Berkley Trilene XL the best mono fishing line out there. It’s super strong yet soft enough for smooth casting—and the chance of kinks is low. —M.I.
When we tested fly rods, we found the Orvis Clearwater to be one of the best thanks to its line control and smooth long casts. Plus, it performs just as well as higher end rods at just a fraction of the price. —M.I.
I wore the new Grundens Boundary wader all spring and was impressed with its build, comfort, and versatility. The wader is made with Gore-Tex technology and features one of the best suspender systems I’ve ever seen on a wader. Anglers can feel confident and comfortable wearing the Boundary waders during the dog days of summer or in the dead of winter. It truly is an all-around premium wader that took the fishing world by storm this year. —R.C.
One of the best parts of a hunting or fishing trip is packing for it. With the adventure still ahead of you, it’s impossible not to let your mind wander and imagine all of the wildness that’s ahead. New for 2023, Patagonia has launched its newest line of the Black Hole Duffel Bag. Outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen have been packing and dragging their gear in Black Hole bags for years. So, what’s different about the new line? The biggest change is that they’re made from 100-percent recycled thermoplastic polyurethane. According to Patagonia: “For every 1,000 yards of TPU produced, 75 pounds go to waste as a result of the manufacturing process. In an industry first, Patagonia is now purchasing the TPU ‘waste’ direct from the factories and recycling it into all Black Hole Duffels moving forward.” If there’s someone in your life who values sustainability in their gear, this bag would make a fantastic and thoughtful gift. The Black Hole Duffel comes in a variety of colors and four sizes. —Colin Kearns
The Bonfire 2.0 served as my firepit on two different trout camps this past summer. It is small and light enough to throw in the back of your truck without taking up too much space and is the perfect size for a campfire after a long day on the water. It comes with a stand, ash pan, and a great ventilation system to minimize smoke. When you aren’t at fish camp, the Bonfire 2.0 works just as well in the backyard or at the beach. It is an all-around gift for an angler—whether at trout camp or at home. —R.C.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve knocked over my morning coffee on the boat ride to my fishing spot. It isn’t a fun way to start the morning. I started using the Toadfish Non-Tipping Can Cooler and there are a lot fewer coffee stains in the boat. This can holder can handle five-foot swells in the open ocean or an off-road ATV ride, definitely one of the best fishing gifts out there. It is designed with a suction cup style base that sticks to just about any surface and refuses to budge, unless of course, you want to drink from it. It can also double as an insulated cup with the included spill-proof lid. Plus, every purchase helps fund oyster bed restoration to improve water quality and keep estuaries vibrant and healthy. Now that’s something we can all raise a glass to! —M.I.
Grundéns has been known for outerwear tough enough to stand up to the rigors of commercial fishing since they were founded in 1911. The Windward Gore-Tex Infinium Insulated Jacket takes that pedigree into the 21st century, adding top of the line tech to that lineage. The Windward trades PVC coatings for breathable Gore-Tex, so you’ll stay dry from the inside out even when giving your all to a good fish. Body mapping puts insulation right where you need it, but keeps bulk to a minimum. Primaloft traps air like down, but won’t compress if it gets wet. So even if you end up in the drink, the Windward will keep on insulating. On the boat, in the mountains, or around town, Grundéns has you covered with the best fishing gifts. —M.I.
When you spend a lot of time on the water, it seems like you have two options, either spend hundreds on a nice set of pliers that will last or constantly buy a new cheap pair. The Bubba Stainless Steel Pliers give you that quality construction at an affordable price. They are built entirely out of stainless steel and have a titanium nitride coating. They have built in carbide cutters that will breeze through just about anything, along with crimp cutouts for those heavy saltwater rigs. These are my go-to pliers for rigging, unhooking fish, and anything else you can throw at them. After a long day of fishing, simply rinse them off, and they are as good as new and ready for the next adventure. —M.I.
With all the new hype surrounding DC baitcasters, Shimano delivered with an entry level DC reel that punches way out of its league. Whether your angler is new to baitcasters or a seasoned veteran, the Shimano SLX DC is worthy of any rod you pair with it. The DC part of the name stands for digital control and works using a microchip that detects and prevents backlashes before they happen. With four settings, you can dial in how much work the chip does and how far you can cast. Taking the guesswork out of baitcasters allows anglers of all skill levels to enjoy the benefits that come with fishing them. It is available in several gear ratios including 6.3:1, 7.2:1, and 8.2:1, all featuring a smooth but powerful drag system. —M.I.
One of the most important pieces of fishing gear are polarized sunglasses. Finding the right pair for an angler can be tricky depending on how and where they fish. The Guide’s Choice glasses solve that problem. These sunglasses offer great coverage with a wraparound frame design to minimize the amount of sunlight that can sneak in from the edges. There is something for every angler with 6 different frame colors and 18 lens options. The Guide’s Choice is built to last for years to come and with Smith’s excellent customer service they will always be there to help with any issues you might have. —M.I.
Music can be a great way to fill in the time between fish. Turtlebox speakers help you do just that with a fully waterproof housing and amazing sound quality. These speakers are a great size to easily bring anywhere and crank out distortion-free music at up to 120dB. The battery life of these speakers is incredible, lasting 20 hours for regular listening and 6+ hours at maximum volume. The speaker has a built in USB charger and tie down anchors to make sure it doesn’t go anywhere. Possibly the best feature of this speaker is the fact that it is fully waterproof whether it be saltwater or freshwater. It excels as a boat speaker for long runs or a day on the sand bar. —M.I.
When push comes to shove, I’m a fly fisherman. This doesn’t mean I don’t love to pick up baitcaster and throw frogs for giant bass, but I spend the majority of my time with a fly rod in hand. What this does mean is that I often find myself wading deep rivers, climbing over snowy banks, and zipping around in a falts boat. The one common theme in these pursuits is I tend to get myself, and all of my gear, wet. The Yeti Panga Backpack is a fully waterproof bag that can be submerged and still keep everything dry. I keep my camera, lenses, phone, wallet, lunch, and any other valuables I have stored here when I’m on the water. This bag gets wet, abused, and tortured when I’m fishing. It has never failed me and I absolutely love it. —M.I.
I’ll be the first to admit that the inside of my truck looks like a bomb went off. The floor is buried underneath a mountain of fishing gear. Tackle boxes, waders, boots, and bags all combine for one big mosh pit. I started using the YETI Camino 35 this fall and it especially helped with one area of my fishing hoarding problem—boots and waders. The durable and waterproof material of the Camino allows me to put my wet and muddy boots right in without having to worry. Don’t ask how I know, but having your waders and boots in one place saves you from the frustration and embarrassment of showing up to the river with only one boot. Even when you aren’t fishing the Camino serves are a great beach bag, boat bag, and camping bag. It has deployable dividers and comes in handy on many of my adventures. —M.I.
Ask any angler what the best jerkbait is and chances are they’ll say Megabass, and rightfully so. They have built a reputation for making the best jerkbaits available and the Vision ONETEN FX is at the top of the lineup. Some of the features are truly impressive including a folding lip to improve casting distance and hooks with barbs on the outside of the bend for better hookups. These baits fish just as well as they look and can be an amazing prespawn lure for springtime bass or fished in tailwater rivers for trophy trout. When it comes to best fishing gifts, it’s hard to beat a great jerkbait. Available in thirteen colors you can match any baitfish you need. —M.I.