Experiences are worth more than things
Christmas is approaching rapidly. So what are you putting under the tree for the saltwater angler on your list?
It can be a daunting task, trying to find the perfect present. If you’re buying for a casual angler, it’s tough to go wrong. But if you’re trying to buy something truly unique and meaningful for a die-hard angler, the process can get a little stressful.
Let’s face it, as anglers, it can be tough to buy gifts for us. We have our own favorite brands, or at least our favorite types of gear. So when thinking of what you should give that angler on your list, think about what you would like to receive if someone were to give you a fishing gift.
At some point, most serious anglers would say we would rather purchase our own fishing gear. That’s simply because we know what we like. If you’re an offshore bottom-fishing specialist, your cousin who has never fished and has no interest in it probably has no clue what you would even use, much less actually like.
It’s kind of like that Christmas when you pulled your distant niece’s name as her Secret Santa. You stalked her social media pages to see that her passion in life was, defining the correlation between the compounds in desert sand and the emerging life forms found in a municipal trash dump. Her last post stated all she wants for Christmas is whatever it takes to complete that connection. Good luck buying her gift!
It can be just as difficult for one die-hard angler to buy for another. Even if you know their favorite species and method of catching them, you don’t know what they’re lacking in their arsenal that would be meaningful to them. Chances are, just like you, they’ve got all they need. If they do need anything, they’ve more-than-likely got their mind made up about what it is, and when they’re going to purchase it themselves.
You could always stick a bow on some fishing line. Chances are good they’ll use it at some point. But what makes a Christmas gift special is the thought and meaning behind it. We all need fishing line and would appreciate such a gift. But the true meaning of it stuffed in a gift sack is, “I had no clue what to get you, so here’s some fishing line.”
The best Christmas gift you can give to someone may be a day on the water. You can provide that on a budget, or you can go all out. Whether that means walking a nearby creek, cranking the boat after Christmas dinner and putting your gift recipient on some speckled trout, marking your calendar with a mutually agreed upon date to go after sheepshead, or a gift certificate for a trip with a fishing guide, any angler will appreciate that experience more than a bag of fishing lures or a new fishing hat.
And you know that feeling of “It’s over” that you often got when you were a kid and you’d finished opening all your presents? They won’t get that feeling with a fishing trip as a gift. If it’s for a future date, they’ll look forward to it with all the anticipation of waiting on Christmas. If you take them on Christmas Day, it will likely be one of the more unique Christmases they’ve ever had.
Give ‘em a guide
If you’re giving them a gift certificate for a guided fishing trip, consider giving them one for a guide who fishes outside of their normal fishing haunts. This will open up another world of fishing for them. And it’s the best way to give them something that they wouldn’t buy for themselves. You can even gift them a guided trip for a species they’ve never caught, with a guide that specializes in putting clients on that fish.
And if you’ll be serving as their guide, think about your favorite fishing location, and consider taking them there. Or ask them what they’ve always wanted to fish for, but have never done so.
Getting back to that fishing line in a gift bag — it’s not a bad idea to put that in with their fishing gift certificate and/or a few fishing lures. That will give them a little something tangible to keep them from feeling empty-handed like gift certificates sometimes can. They’ll forget about the fishing line one day, but they’ll never forget about the fishing trip. Chances are, it will rank quite high throughout their lifetime of Christmas gifts.
This story first appeared on CarolinaSportsman.com.