It never fails that as we edge closer to Santa’s arrival, I receive more and more e-mails and phone calls regarding a present for the fisherman in the family. Since Moms and Dads allocate most of their money and time to assist Santa in filling the wishes of their kids, that gift for the fisherman is usually a last minute purchase.

Because Christmas will stretch budgets limited this year by everything from hurricane recovery to a recession, a best case scenario would be the purchase of a single gift that is not only an unexpected luxury, but a necessity as well. This year you can fill the bill with just such a gift that will please even the most discerning angler.

Assuming that a new boat and motor or one week Peacock bass fishing trip to South America is not an option, I can readily suggest two presents that will not only be used and appreciated for years, but will render your favorite fisherman a better angler as well. Best of all, either of these gifts can be purchased for a $100 more or less depending on shipping.

The reason I am sharing these suggestions now is that it may take you a week or so to obtain one of the two gifts. The other can be picked up tomorrow!

The value of the first gift is dependent on whether or not there is a fishing boat parked in the yard or garage and whether or not it has a Power Pole mounted on the transom. If your fisherman does not own something ranging from a kayak to a 26-foot Bay boat, skip the next few paragraphs.

The Power Pole is an expensive accessory that enables the angler to anchor the boat by simply pressing a remote control button. The capability of stopping instantly and quietly in shallow water keeps you in casting range without spooking the fish.

The alternative to the Power Pole and one that I use not only because of cost, but because of versatility, is the Stake Out Stick manufactured and sold in Nederland. It is a solid 8-foot fiberglass rod that you can simply pick up, shove in the bottom, and stop immediately. Unlike the Power Pole which is significantly more expensive, you also have the option of anchoring off either end of the boat. It is also light and has a slick finish that is easy to keep clean.

The 2009 version includes a tubular duck foot shaped handle making it even easier to press into the bottom and easier to retrieve as well. The new design works well as an emergency push pole around the shoreline and dock and could be a life saver in the event someone goes overboard.

The fact that a number of local anglers are now carrying a Stakeout Stick in addition to their Power Pole speaks volumes as to the usefulness of this item. You can find out more about this unique anchor at or call Brian Little at 409-718-7694.

The second gift is a spinning reel that will convert even the most devoted casting reel enthusiast. For my money, there is nothing else available that matches the USREEL 230SX!

My first reel was a spinning reel that I earned by selling Christmas cards as a youngster and I have had at least one spinning combination in my boat ever since. I fish both casting and spinning gear depending on the situation, but my casting combos have been spending a lot more time on the bench. This reel casts further with less effort than any reel I have every used and that is a plus when you are on the water 260 to 300 days a year.

Braided line provides an incredible advantage for any fisherman and this reel eliminates the minor problems associated with that line. That advantage could not be ignored nor could a reel that made it easier to fish. Virtually every client that has fished with one of mine has returned with one or two of their own.

Bob Crew, a dyed-in-the-wool level wind user, recently made one cast with the reel and remarked, “I thought the lure had come untied until I looked down at the spool. It just kept going and going.” I know of no one that can chunk a lure with a level wind any farther than Capt. Johnny Cormier, but he was on the internet looking for a 230SX the day after we waded a flat together last week!

One of my 230SX’s has been fished with over 400 days and outside of a rub mark or two, still looks as good as the day I bought it. I have done little more than lightly rinse it after each trip and occasionally remove the spool and oil the cam shaft.

Outside of a new boat, this reel will improve your fisherman’s catching like no other purchase he or she can make. I think you can still find the reel at Tackle Unlimited in Houston, but every reel that my clients or friends bought was purchased off ebay on the internet.
I have two Stakeout Sticks in my boat and they will last forever.

The 230SX may last forever as well, but just in case they do not, I have already ordered myself a new one for Christmas!