Just consider this to be a kind of “thank you” for the faithful outdoorsmen willing to grind their way through this column each week. Now, leaving it open in a strategic place around the house is up to you!

Moms, wives and Grandmas…… Christmas is the best, possibly the only, shot your favorite hunter or fisher person has at getting a gift that he or she will probably not buy for themselves.With that in mind, I am listing some choices that are sure to please without you having to tip off your surprise before Santa arrives.

The first and easily the most used gift in this part of the country is a Frogg Togg rain jacket and bibs.While many golf bags and sporting event grips now include the thinner, but handy All Sports suit, we are talking about the more durable and drier Toad Skinz suit for Christmas.

The material in this suit is still light enough to be comfortable on those in-between days, but thick enough to better ward off the wind and repel a pretty stiff rain event as well.Both the jacket and the bibs sport deep waterproof pockets.The jacket that I wear is from the Firebelly series and comes in three colors that match the solid black bibs.

While I am yet to find any suit that will keep me 100 percent bone dry in a driving rain, it was recently pointed out by another individual wearing the same suit that I may be asking a little too much of my Toad Skinz.I met him at a football playoff game and he said that he wore his to everything from football games in the winter to early spring baseball games simply because they were light yet still warm even when wearing short pants and a T-shirt underneath.

As far as the waterproof factor was concerned, I mentioned that mine held up exceptionally well until the ninth or tenth trip through the washing machine at which point they were no longer as dry as they were when brand new.He then remarked that his were two years old and they had never leaked in the rain, but that he had never had any reason to wash them.

We parted ways without my mentioning the fact that aside from also wearing mine to sporting events I also wear them when guiding an additional hundred plus days each year.That would probably equate to ten years of use for him and I can assure you that fish slime and scales don’t wear well for a single day. They are well worth the money, look good and will be appreciated for years to come.

The second choice was first on my gift last year and I now own several as do most of my clients and anyone that has watched us clean fish.I have never owned another filet knife that matches the Bubba Blade for weight, grip safety and cutting edge durability.They continue to expand their line-up each year, but my first choice for most of my needs is the seven or nine inch Tapered Flex blade.

The material used to make the non-slip grip is both safer and comfortable and the blade sharpness right out of the package is unmatched.One of my knives mysteriously made its way into the house last week and I may not get it back after my wife saw how effortlessly it reduced a smoked turkey to bones and skin!

While maintaining the edge requires very little sharpening, Gene Locke ordered the first electric Work Sharp blade sharpener I had ever seen earlier this year and after getting one of my own I have since ordered thirteen more for clients and friends that saw how well it worked.It takes all of the guess work out of sharpening everything from knives to axes.It’s a great gift even if you pass on the Bubba Blade.

My third choice is the new Yeti Hopper which is a soft sided cooler like no other.This is the one gift that you may well wind up hijacking as it is the perfect cooler for picnics, weekend baseball tournaments and leaving frozen foods in when you swing by the mall after buying groceries!

I gave mine the ultimate test when I recently put a pack of fillets, two six packs of diet cokes and just enough ice inside before zipping it up and forgetting about it until the next afternoon.I never even thought about it until I stopped the truck and heard it turn over zipper side down in the floor board.

Much to my surprise, not one drop of water had leaked out and upon opening it I discovered that very little of the ice, if any, had even started to melt.I haven’t tested the Hopper’s max capacity, but it easily holds up to 18 canned drinks and enough ice to keep them cold for several days.The best part of all is that they take up less room than the conventional cooler and you can even store them on their side when things get crowded!

Thus far I have had to order my Work Sharp sharpeners online, but between Simon Outfitters here in Orange and Daleys Hunt N Fish in Nederland you can still find the Frogg Toggs, Bubba Blades and Yeti Hoppers.


Photo – Toad Skinz are an angler’s best friend this time of the year!