We are officially two weeks away from Christmas. Wait, what? Yep, TWO weeks away. If you are anything like I am, you've probably procrastinated on either making your Christmas list or shopping for others. In my case, it's actually been both, but that's beside the point here. This is the first list of my short gift guide series. Here are some gift ideas for those who love the hard water season.
ICE FISHING GIFT IDEAS
It's definitely that time of year here in the Midwest. Ice fishing season is coming in hot, so here are some great options for any fisherman or fisher-woman.
I mean, who wouldn't love a new pair of bibs or a warm ice-worthy jacket?
This is a great brand when it comes to gear. The Eskimo Keeper bibs and jacket are a great option for gear. Featuring a flotation assist system, 80 gram Thinsulate, fully taped seams, all while being windproof and waterproof, this suit has it all. You can find these on Amazon for $199.99 per piece. Another option that may be more affordable is the Eskimo Lockout series. They might not have as many features as the Keeper suit, but my husband has the Lockout bibs and swears by them. We are personally big fans of the Eskimo brand, be sure to check them out!
Women now have an option all to themselves when it comes to ice fishing gear now. With float technology, drop-seat option, and removable knee pads, this bib and jacket combo is one of my personal favorites. Plus, this line is made specifically for women. It is nice to have an option solely for the ladies who love the ice just as much as the men. The jacket has two color/design options as well. I have heard nothing but good things about this gear and hope to add them to my personal inventory soon. On Amazon, each piece can be purchased for $199.99, just like the Eskimo Keeper set. This line can also be found at FleetFarm and on the DSG website.
If you don't want to commit to purchasing a set of gear for ice fishing only, I can't recommend these lined Carhartt bibs enough. While these aren't waterproof, they are very effective at keeping out the wind. Plus, they can be used for many other activities other than ice fishing. They also feature a double-front knee with an opening for knee pads. The hammer loop on the side is especially helpful when carrying an ice pick with you when on the ice. These bibs are great for mild weather ice fishing, workwear, or simply playing hard. They run for $99.99 on Amazon. Carhartt is a great brand, I've owned several pieces of their apparel and one thing I know for sure is that they last for a long time before showing wear and tear. If you are looking for a reliable pair of multi-use bibs, go with Carhartt.
ROD/REEL COMBOS & TIP UPS
Maybe it's time for an update, or maybe it's just time to add to the collection.
This rod and reel combo is incredible. The Radioactive Pickle is a great inline combo option for those anglers who love tight-lining and jigging. It comes in both a light and ultra-light option as well as a 25" and 27" option. The flexibility and reaction of this combo are outstanding. While this combo runs for $120 on Amazon, this brand has many more options in various price ranges. This brand is a personal favorite of my husband. Some other combos from 13 Fishing that are worth looking into are the Snitch/Descent, the Whiteout, and the Wicked. Additionally, if you're not looking for a rod/reel combo, they do also sell the rods and reels individually with left and right-hand options.
BEAVER DAM TIP-UPS
Tip-Up fishing is definitely a favorite activity of many anglers. The one brand I have always heard the best feedback for is Beaver Dam. With options for both the classic style and round style tip-ups, it's hard to go wrong with this brand. One feature Beaver Dam is known for is its freezeproof and windproof properties. Two very important things to consider when tip-up fishing. The quality of these tip-ups will not disappoint. These tip-ups range from $30-50 on Amazon.
Now, this is an item I am really excited about. I haven't used one personally, but I've seen it in action on many ice-fishing shows. It combines the excitement of tip-up fishing with the effort of reeling in with a rod. It is truly the best of both worlds when it comes to hard water angling. Any ice rod/reel combo can be used with this setup and can still be jigged without moving the tip-up. Featuring light, medium, and heavy settings, this rig is perfect for targeting many species. Instead of having to deal with a mess of line, or worrying about it slipping through your fingers as you try to pull in your fish, the iFish Pro offers a new convenience to the art of tp-up fishing. It also features a wind deflector to avoid false flag sets. This setup can be found at Cabela's/Bass Pro Shop for $44.99. There are other rigs similar to this but I've seen the best reviews on the iFish Pro due to durability and design.
Make ice fishing that much more convenient and efficient.
FRABILL AERATED BAIT BOX
One thing that happens all too often, for us anyway, if buying live bait for a day on the lake and having it die within a couple of hours. For some reason, live bait just doesn't stay alive the way it used to. There's a remedy for that though. Frabill makes self-aerated bait wells! There are many size options for these containers from 13 quarts, 19 quarts, and 30 quarts, these baitwells will help keep that bait alive. It can be powered by two D batteries, but also comes with a 12V power adapter. While this baitwell is very convenient and functional, it is also rugged and durable. The 13-quart version sells for $89.99 on Amazon, the 19-quart for $99.99, and the 30-quart for $291.99. Right now though there are some great deals going on, so be sure to check them out!
This is an item I just learned about at the St. Paul Ice Fishing Show. Instead of having to either throw the fish on the ice to freeze or hauling an extra bucket out on the ice, this live well fits right in an 8-10 inch auger hole. It can fit in any 5, 6, or 7-gallon bucket. To have the option to keep your catch alive and fresh instead of letting it freeze on the ice is something I really appreciate as an angler. Another great thing about the Ice Well is that it is made by a Minnesota company. On Amazon, you can find this item for $24.99.
SHAPPELL ICE FISHING SLED
How else is an angler supposed to haul his or her gear on the ice? Instead of making multiple trips to the shore, it's easier to just pull it all in one trip. This is a must-have for any angler, it makes ice fishing an absolute breeze. Plus, it can also double as a snow sled for those with kiddos. The Shappell brand has proven to be very durable and slides easily. There are different sizes available, but the standard size can be found for $47.99 on Amazon. There are also two other color options, camo and snow camo.
WATERPROOF INSULATED BOOTS
This one is a no brainer. Wet feet and ice fishing are a bad combo.
You can't go wrong with a classic. The Muck Boot has always been a favorite of outdoorsmen and women. With a variety of color options and styles for both men and women. These boots have a comfort range of -60 to 30 degrees F. The original Muck boot promises comfort, durability, and completely waterproof quality. There are also steel-toe options for a multipurpose boot. Whether it be the woods, the lake, or on the farm, the original Muck boot has proven itself time and time again. Many reviews say that these boots ALWAYS outlast their competitors. On Amazon, the price ranges from $121.14 to $251.15, but with the various options of size, color, and style it should be easy to find the perfect pair for anyone on your Christmas list, or even for yourself.
Just like with the bibs and jackets on this list, I could not leave out a women's brand in the boot department. When it comes to shoes and boots, men's sizes just don't cut it for women. SHE offers a comfortable and functional option for waterproof insulated boots that are perfect for ice fishing season. With zoned insulation at up to 1200 grams, these boots are made to keep toes warm and dry in freezing weather. These also include wool-felt frost plugs to add warm by forming a barrier between the foot and the ground. While these can be used on the ice, they can also be used for any outdoor activity in cold weather. Hunting, working, fishing, you name it and these boots can do it. At a 16.5 inch height, these boots will keep you dry and warm, even if there is standing water... Or if you accidentally step in an ice-hole. At Cabela's, you can find these boots for $119.99.
The best gifts come in small packages, right?
LURES & TACKLE
This is a stocking stuffer I use almost every year. The beauty of it is that no one can ever have too much tackle or too many lures. While there are so many types it can be hard to really pin-down what kind of lures or tackle to get for the angler in your life. It comes down to species and a lot of personal preference. It's nice to stick to the basics, the tried and true, and the classics. Rattle spoons, jigs, snap raps, all have their place in the ice fishing world. So what are some of the best brands? Rapala, Swedish Pimple, Lindy, Northland, CLAM, and so many other big brand names dominate the industry. What it really comes down to is color and shine. Every angler wants something that is going to draw in the fish and their eye. Prices on lures range from $2 to $10+ with several options for color, style, and design. No matter what you go with, it's always fun to try out new setups and see what attracts the fish.
RECHARGEABLE HAND WARMERS
Say goodbye to hoarding those packets of single-use hand warmers. Just pop one of these in your pocket and you'll be set. There are 3 power options, 3-hour, 6-hour, and 9-hour, as well as a few color options as well. The 9-our (which I recommend) comes in black, silver, and champagne/rose gold. There are also multiple settings on this device. You can opt for one or two sides heat plus 6 heat settings. The real game-changer here is that the hand warmer doubles as a charging bank for your other devices. If your phone is running low on battery while you are out on the ice, just plug it in and you'll be charged in no time. So, not only can you keep your hands warm, you can keep your phone charged at the same time. That seems like a win-win to me. The shape of this Zippo rechargeable hand warmer makes it easy to hold, just be careful not to drop it down the ice-hole! This model costs $34.16 on Amazon.
"You and me go fishing in the dark"... Oh wait, where's the lantern? I can't tell you how many times the bite turns on but I've failed to bring a light for when the sun goes down. Headlamps come in very handy when that happens. Foxhelli brand is made to cater to those who love the outdoors. When out on the ice, it's always nice to have waterproof accessories and this headlamp fits the bill there. It is sold for $12.97 on Amazon, or you can spend $16.97 for the rechargeable version.
Don't think those ideas will cut it? Rod storage might fit the bill.
EAGLE CLAW HARD CASE
This is an item my husband has been drooling over. A hard case rod storage system. While there are many options for these, I've heard nothing but good things from the people who own the Eagle Claw brand. This one, in particular, holds up to 6 rods and has 4 locking points. What a lot of people like about the hard cases are the adjustable foam inserts. The adjustable foam inserts make it possible to pack some tackle (or anything else you want to bring along on the ice) in with your rods in a nicely organized fashion as well. The Eagle Claw hard case is also relatively lightweight at only 8.2 lbs. While this case is so popular, it can also be hard to find in stock. On Amazon, it can be found for $84.22 plus free shipping.
CABELA'S SOFT CASE
If a hard case isn't what you had in mind, there are also soft cases that work great when on the go. I love Cabela's brand storage cases. They sell multiple options for sizes, so whether you need storage for 6 rods, 8 rods, or rods. These cases won't let you down. The side pockets also make it easy to pack any tackle or other accessories you might often forget to bring with (like a headlamp, or hand warmers) on the ice. Yes, ladies, it also comes in pink if you want to add a little flair to your ice collection. The 6-rod case goes for $29.99 on Cabela's, and the 12-rod case goes for $59.99.
I hope this guide brought you some ideas. It's crunch time.
Good luck with your holiday shopping!