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Christmas Shopping

by: David Coulson , Colorado 12/22/2016

When I had my tackle shop in Grand Junction, Black Friday was one of the loneliest days of the year. My customers were usually at home tending the kids or fishing. The better halves were out shopping for the season. As Christmas approached, thoughts turned to buying something fishing related for the angler in the family.

Most shoppers somehow expected me to remember their angler and know everything they wished for. Unfortunately, in most cases I didn’t, so I suggested gift certificates, which weren’t as popular then as they seem to be today. Or in cases where a physical item was required, I took my best guess and figured I’d be making an exchange at some point.

I recognize this is the season of giving and, consequently, receiving. I also know that many wish to give me something “fishing” related. Unfortunately, I’m at a position in life where I have nearly everything I need or want when it comes to fishing. And what I don’t have, I simply go and purchase regardless of the season. Case in point, I saw a rod on sale that I felt would be great for my granddaughter come spring, so I purchased it. I’m also in the process of reworking/organizing my fly collection and replacing a number of fly boxes. Seeing that the fly boxes I wanted were on sale, I bought four. Hum, I suppose I could have requested them for Christmas. Nah, what’s the fun in making it easy on folks?

The reality is I’m easy to purchase gifts for, and there’s no need to purchase gift certificates or browbeat clerks at the local fly shops and sporting goods stores. And, I rather suspect that anyone who’s a bit over the top like me is also easy to buy for.

Most hobbies are consumptive to some degree. In the case of fishing, rods, reels, waders and other such items typically last several seasons. Unless specifically requested, purchasing such items for gifts isn’t recommended. I’m way too picky. However, over the season I go through copious amounts of leaders, flies, tippet material, and related items. Further, it’s rare that I don’t replace a fly line or two, often more, every season. Plus, quality fly boxes are always in demand. The reason I bought four was I need to replace several that are broken to the point of being non-functional.

Being an avid fly tier also, those buying gifts for me can never go wrong with boxes of hooks or other materials I use a lot of, such as marabou, saddle hackle, hourglass eyes and buck tails. The point is, anglers are always appreciative of receiving items they use a lot rather than a fishing ornament, wall hanging, fish pillow, fish tie or other such items.

Now, if your budget is substantial, it’s easy to please your angling family member, at least it is for me. As much as I enjoy fishing local waters, travel is always a priority. Trust me, I’d be ecstatic to receive plane tickets to some “exotic” fishing destination, such as the beaches from San Diego north to Santa Barbara. Just permission for a desired trip, and an incentive such as motel or guide costs covered, would have me doing a happy dance.

The point is, sometimes I think we try too hard to please those who have a hobby or sport they’re passionate about. They’re not looking for something special, just a recognition of how important fishing is, coupled with more of what they use a lot, or permission along with a bit of “assistance” to take that special trip is all that’s needed. In my mind, purchasing for those that have everything is easy. Give ’em more.

First published in the Fort Collins Coloradoan Sunday Dec 18, 2016

Blog content © David Coulson
Member comments
Lloyd Tackitt, TX   12/22/2016 9:03:54 AM
I'm similar but different. When it comes to fishing gear, I'll buy it when I need/want it. Anyone trying to buy it for me, without me being right there, isn't going to get exactly what I want. Besides, I really do already have it. So what I've been telling my family for many years now is to give me socks. Socks can be in almost any color or configuration and will do me just fine. And I really truly hate shopping for clothing so it's a bonus to me to get those socks. And my family, with a huge sigh of relief, give me socks, which I do truly enjoy. And it is easy for them, inexpensive, and they know they can't go wrong - but you should see them try sometimes...
Fishergal, CO   12/22/2016 9:12:24 AM
Love this blog, you are right sometimes we lose sight of the individual we are shopping for, mindfulness is key. Take a deep breath and picture your fisher soul, how they fish but most importantly why they fish.
David Coulson (Flyrodn), CO   12/22/2016 9:38:20 AM
Interestingly, most my life I've never been able to explain why I love to fish, but I do. As I've made this journey I've come to realize that a large part of it is figuring out the puzzle. Every day it's a bit different, every day it requires a bit of thought, and as much as I love the success, I think I enjoy the days that aren't fully successful, as they leave me with an unsolved puzzle. A challenge, and thus yet another reason to fish, as if I need one.
fishingfreak, CO   12/22/2016 10:31:15 AM
Dave if you ever want some fresh Deer or elk hair Let me know so i can save you it from my hunting trips.
D-Zilla, CO   12/22/2016 2:29:28 PM
I put general things I'd LIKE to have on my list. If I end up with an oddball lure or something, you never know it MIGHT catch fish right? I also always have the "I know you won the lottery yesterday" list that includes things like a new truck, or boat, or other WAY out of line gifts....Just for fun! I LOVE to get fishing gear though, in COPIOUS amounts. Doesn't matter if I already have it because eventually I'll lose it to a snag or a fish. (No, just another snag.) Christmas is FUN for me. It's all about the thought they put into it anyway.
anglerwannabe, CO   12/22/2016 5:35:41 PM
You know Dave, you can tell family members things like that, but for some reason, they don't buy into it. For years I been telling family there are tons of things for under $25 I would love. Any sort of lures, whether I have them or not. a couple packs of Trokar swim bait hooks. Things for reloading. Anyway good blog.. but you probably should have posted it earlier, so folks could show their families. lol
David Coulson
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