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  • Patrick Durkin

Holiday Gifts Can Help Equip, Organize Hunters and Anglers

My wife and I moved from Waupaca to Eau Claire a year ago, which required packing all my hunting and fishing gear into a new home and garage half the size of those we left.


Imagine my surprise and feigned outrage when realizing my fishing rods and reels for everything from chinooks to bluegills had been breeding and reproducing every time Penny looked away from 1992 to 2020. She got the last laugh when I tried storing all those new, old and adopted fishing rods on our garage walls last winter.


I first tried my previous rod-storage method, which meant pounding huge spikes into the 2-by-4 studs, but the rods kept falling and their lines tangling, just as they had in Waupaca. After tolerating those endless tumbles, tangles and broken rod tips for 28 years, I vowed to start over with a better storage system.


I found relief in the KastKing V15 Rod Rack, which is advertised to hold up to 15 rods in its 18-inch length. I bought six of them, just to be safe. These racks mount easily with two screws, and typically hold eight to 10 rods vertically without much technical advice from a spouse or nosy neighbor. KastKing racks keep fishing rods where you put them, and they stop your lines from tangling and your rod eyes from breaking. They don’t cost much, and they make good Christmas gifts. Learn more by visiting https://kastking.com/products/kastking-patented-v15-vertical-fishing-rod-holder.


With that said, here are my other 2021 holiday gift suggestions, a service I’ve provided annually to desperate Christmas shoppers since 1985. These items cost $10 to $200. I hope you find something for your friends or family members.


Lifelong anglers know they’ll like a book whose dedication page reads in part, “Mom and Dad: Thanks for all those trips to the bait store.” That book, “Fishing the Wild Waters” was written by U.S. Coast Guard officer Conor Sullivan, who hails from a USCG family rooted in Wisconsin. His book is an informative, adventurous joyride covering his outings on the big, forbidding waters of Alaska, Hawaii and New England. Sullivan shares practical fishing advice while telling exciting tales that include determined hunts for big fish, and surviving a lacerated hand while landing a tuna alone offshore of Gloucester, Massachusetts.


Do you have an 8- to 11-year-old daughter or granddaughter who likes reading good stories? Get her a copy of the children’s novel “Crossing the Pressure Line” by Wisconsin native Laura Anne Bird. The book’s central character, 12-year-old Clare Burch, heads to Wisconsin’s Northwoods for the summer to honor her late grandfather’s dying wishes. While there, she comes to grips with misplaced guilt; and finds joy, purpose and human connections while learning lessons on life, taxidermy and muskie fishing.


Whether you’re looking for books, binoculars, coasters, rangefinders, hearing protection or a club to whack fish, check out MeatEater’s gift-buying options at https://store.themeateater.com/collections/gifts.


If you’re a fan of Remington Arms and its many products, check out Gamehide’s new line of Remington-brand field wear, hunting clothes and casual wear at gamehide.com. The hunting lineup includes clothing for upland, waterfowl and big-game hunters.


Do you fish often from pontoon boats? If so, you’ve likely noticed they usually lack good rod-holders. Fix that problem with the RodPod (rufflandkennels.com/product/rodpod) a free-standing roto-molded system that holds fishing rods vertically for tangle-free storage. The RodPod also works great on the dock, or in the cabin or garage.


Determinator Targets (determinatortargets.com) help prepare you for long-range shots with short-range practice.Simply shoot five shots at 100 yards, and the Determinator’s special series of rings precisely identify your effective range.


Fish Monkey Ice-Fishing Gloves (fishmonkeygloves.com are custom-designed for ice-fishing. They feature a thermo-conductive fleece lining, nose-wipe material on the thumbs, and a goggle wiper on the index finger.


Grizzly Coolers (grizzlycoolers.com) retain ice and keep contents cold throughout your stay in deer camp or fish camp. They’re also bear-resistant and available in a range of sizes. The compact 20-quart model holds 15 pounds of ice and 24 12-ounce cans.


Irish Setter’s MudTrek rubber waterproof hunting boots (irishsetterboots.com/hunting-boots/shop-by-family/mudtrek) provide 17 inches of protection from the elements. These boots also feature ScentBan odor control, up to 1,200 grams of PrimaLoft insulation, TempSens technology to keep your feet dry/sweat-free, and a heavy self-cleaning tread for traction.


The National Bowhunter Education Foundation (nbef.org) worked with Peter Kummerfeldt, an Air Force veteran with 30 years of survival-instructor training, to produce “Skills of the Survivor.” This video teaches viewers how to survive outdoor emergencies.


Stay safe on the water by wearing a Hobie Inflatable PFD (hobie.com), a low-profile self-inflating personal flotation device. This harness style lifejacket stays comfortable all day while allowing a full range of motion for casting, rowing, paddling or photographing.


Northland’s 15-piece Stocking Stuffer Kit (shop.northlandtackle.com) includes the company’s latest Tungsten jigs, Bro Bug Spoon, Buck-Shot Coffin Spoon, and a tightly knitted stocking cap.


St. Croix Tundra Ice Rods (stcroixrods.com), which carry a five-year warranty, feature a lineup of nine handcrafted ice-fishing rods optimized for comfort and performance during various ice-fishing presentations.


The Bow Spider (bowspider.com) from Recreational Archery Development lets bowhunters quickly attach their bow to their back for easier, more stealthy stalks. Archers can also use the Bow Spider to carry their bow hands-free on the range and at 3D shoots.


Outdoor Edge (outdooredge.com) introduces the Duck Duo, two knives with attractive orange handles resembling duck heads. The set includes a caping knife with a 3.2-inch blade and a gut-hook skinner with a 3.7-inch drop-point blade.


The Hurricane Cat 5 from Hurricane Bag Targets (feradyne.com/Hurricane) handles impacts of up to 650 feet per second from crossbows, while providing longer target life and sure stopping/catching power that eliminates pass-throughs. It measures 25 by 25 inches and stands on its own.


The MP32 trail camera from Covert Scouting Cameras (covertscoutingcameras.com) is a nonwireless system that offers 32-megapixel images, long-range flash, 0.35-second trigger speeds, and an 85-foot detection range. The system uses eight AA batteries that seldom require changing.

KastKing V15 Rod Racks are 18 inches long and easily installed. They securely hold 10 to 15 fishing rods vertically and tangle-free.

— Photos by Patrick Durkin

Readers will appreciate these two books, “Crossing the Pressure Line” by Laura Anne Bird, and “Fishing the Wild Waters” by Conor Sullivan. “Pressure Line” is for girls ages 8 to 11, while “Wild Waters” targets anglers who like big fish and bigger water.

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