Capt. Dickie Colburn – For The Record

Okay, Mom……how many times since throwing away the last of the Thanksgiving turkey, have you asked Santa’s number one helper what he wanted for Christmas? The answer is always that same less than helpful, “I don’t need anything.”

While that answer is not altogether truthful, more especially if you have a pot of money remaining after taking care of everyone from the kids to second cousins, it is at least honest and doesn’t necessitate any further conversation.Honest or not, no Mom will ever entertain the thought of everyone but Dad opening a gift on Christmas morning!

Thus the reason I receive so many phone calls the first two weeks of December from so many lady type people. A few of them simply buy a guided trip and declare their shopping a done deal, but a larger percentage of them are looking for a single item to buy their fisherman that he might not buy himself.

For years I wondered why they didn’t seek advice via the email route, but I was recently informed that an email did not guarantee the surprise factor. Because they shared their home computer with Santa’s helper, they were afraid that he might just open any suspicious emails. Is that not the same thing as the kids shaking the presents under the tree when Mom and Dad aren’t there?

Regardless of whether or not you finished the rest of your shopping with a pot of money left over, the following gifts are affordable “Can’t Miss” items for your favorite fisherman. You don’t have to concern yourself with size or color and if he already has one of them he will be more than pleased to get another.

If he is a saltwater fisherman, the first thing I would do is fill his stocking with several packages of three and four inch H&H Usual Suspect swim baits. They don’t make any bad colors, but silver shiner and morning glory or two of the best. They catch trout, redfish and flounder year round. If he is a bass fisherman, however, you might want to pass on the stocking stuffing as their lure needs are much more diversified!

My first choice of gifts is a Frogg Togg rain suit. While their top of the line Pilot suit is incredibly dry and warm, it is designed to meet the needs of the angler that shouldn’t even be on the water in that kind of weather.I love mine, but in this part of the country, regardless of whether I am on the water or watching high school football in the rain, I usually wear one of the lighter Toad Skinz suits.The fabric is dry enough to repel a stiff rain, eliminates wind chill and doesn’t restrict range of motion. Regardless of your choice of suits, buy your fisherman the bibs rather than the pants.

The lighter classic and pro-lite suits made Frogg Togg a household name for outdoorsmen years ago and while they are less durable, they are reasonably dry and as welcomed in a golf bag as they are in the boat. Regardless of the time of the season, they eliminate the chill of that first boat ride of the day and take up less room than a sandwich bag when you are finished with them.

A pair of Salt Life sunglasses could well be the most important gift you ever put under the tree. They not only look good, but will protect his eyes from the long term damage caused by UV rays.The lenses in these glasses are made by Zeiss and not only are they unbelievably clear, but water repellent as well.

There is no substitute for not having to remove your sunglasses in order to see when running a boat in the rain. The frames come in a variety of styles, but the lenses that I most prefer are copper or copper-green. Yet another gift that he does not have to fish to enjoy.

If your favorite fisherman even occasionally catches enough fish to clean, buy him a Bubba Blade. Fortunately, at least from a business perspective, I fillet more fish in a single year than the average weekend fisherman will clean in a life time and this knife has made my life much easier!

No more burned up electric knives. No need for an electrical outlet at the cleaning table. In the past two years, not counting the Bubba Blades that we were able to find in area sporting goods stores, clients and fishing friends have ordered over 200 knives and most of them bought two or more.

I personally find the most versatile knife in their expanding line-up to be the 9-inch tapered flex blade fillet knife, but I use the 7-inch a great deal as well. The blades hold a razor sharp edge seemingly forever, but when they need sharpening, I rely on number four in my list of “can’t miss” gifts.

There is no knife sharpening device easier to use than a Work Sharp knife sharpener. It will not only sharpen his Bubba blade, but everything in your kitchen drawer from steak knives to scissors. Obtaining a razor sharp edge requires nothing more than plugging it in and drawing the edge of the blade across a belt at the angle pre-determined by the guide.Four or five strokes on either side of the blade and it is as sharp as it can possibly get.

The best news for you Moms prospecting for a “can’t miss” gift is that I already own at least one of every item listed and I won’t be disappointed if any of them show up in a package with my name on it. Maybe this will even save you a last minute call as you sure don’t want to risk an email!