There’s a popular commercial set in medieval times where guests present a particular brand of beer to the king. Appreciative, the king responds, “You are a true friend of the crown. Dilly, dilly!”
This Christmas, you can be a true friend to your loved ones who enjoy flycasting by giving them one of thousands of gifts inspired by our sport.
Rather than list them all — which would take a few hundred pages — I’ll cherry-pick a few.
• Books – A great choice, especially if the recipient is a newbie. The 2017 revised edition of “Orvis Fly Fishing Guide” by Tom Rosenbauer is a great general book. A good starter fly tying book is Skip Morris’ “Fly Tying Made Clear and Simple.” For someone who has never fished saltwater, Nick Curcione’s new book “The Saltwater Edge” covers the gamut. Then there’s Pete Cooper’s “Fly Fishing the Louisiana Coast” which is a must-have for every Louisiana fly angler.
• Artwork – Loads of options here. But two of my favorite artists are Tim Borski and Duane Hada. Tim does mostly saltwater imagery, while Duane focuses on streams.
Fred Hannie of Lake Charles, one of the top realistic tiers in the country, does a shadowbox that features one of his flies and a sketch of the real insect. Check it out at www.realisticflytying.net.
• Tableware – Dinner plates with trimming of painted flies is a hot item. You can even get a complete set, including salad plates and soup bowls.
Every conceivable beverage container can be bought with images of flies and/or fish. My favorites are the coffee mugs featuring artwork of Derek DeYoung or Dave Whitlock. In our house, we use them to decorate bookshelves. “Too beautiful to drink out of,” my wife says.
• Apparel – There are thousands of T-shirts, performance shirts and technical shirts featuring flies or fish. In addition, there’s embroidered jackets for men, blouses and dresses for women and sweaters for both sexes.
For “on the water” use, there’s the new ultralight wading jackets from Orvis and Simms in both mens’ and womens’ sizes. For sun protection, there’s “wearable art” sun gloves from SunPro, and neck gaitors from Buff, Flying Fisherman and others.
For men, the American-made embroidered leather belts by Zeppro are offered with a wide variety of fly patterns or fish species.
For ladies, one of the hot new items featured at ICAST was “wearable fish art leggings.” These leggings use a spandex material and are printed in brook trout, brown trout or other fish patterns.
Both guys and gals will appreciate “Trout Socks” from Point Six. These wool and nylon blended socks come in patterns like brook trout and other species. A portion of the sales goes to conservation.
• Greeting cards – Again, no shortage here. Just about any fly shop should have sets for sale. They’re a bit more pricey than regular cards, but I use them for special occasions.
• Linens – There’s a wide variety of bed covers and throw pillows that feature flies or fish patterns. Start by looking at the bed covers offered by Orvis, L.L. Bean and Bed Bath & Beyond and expand from there.
On my last trip to West Yellowstone, I noticed several of the local stores had afghans and throws featuring flies and/or fish. Most have online stores so take a look. They make great gifts for that hard-to-shop-for lady angler.
• Miscellaneous – There are fly fishing games, license plate frames, hitch caps, calendars, jigsaw puzzles, playing cards, weather vanes, lamps, mail boxes and much, much more.
One of my favorites are clear Christmas ornaments with flies enclosed. These compliment the standard wooden fish ornaments that hang from my tree.
You can wrap your gift in “fly paper” wrap by artist Derek DeYoung. A variety of fly fishing scenes are available. Save these for that special fly angler in your life as they’re pricey — two 29-inch square sheets run $15.
With so many options, at so many price levels, why not give a fly fishing gift? If you do, dilly, dilly!