Thanksgiving Day, the fourth Thursday of November, is a national holiday celebrated in the United States as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. It is a commemoration of the feast held at Plymouth in 1621 by the Pilgrim colonists and members of the Wampanoag people.
It is also the 28th day before Christmas, a fact not unnoticed by the retail industry that promotes shopping events like “Black Friday” on the day after Thanksgiving. Some Black Friday shoppers camp in front of stores days in advance to participate in special discounts.
Outdoor enthusiasts are not immune to the spirit of the season; fortunately, catalog or internet shopping can fill some of their wishes. We took the liberty of offering a few gift ideas for your special angler. Some are inexpensive items that could fit a youth’s budget; others will need financial backing that is more substantial.
For starters, youngsters on a tight budget might give a “gift certificate” offering to clean and wax the family fishing boat. A warm weekend in the spring, some wax, rags, and elbow grease are all that is needed. After the exterior is clean, apply a cleaner wax like Starbrite or Mothers and wipe it off. If the carpet needs spot touch up, try Mothers Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner. Chain department stores usually stock these products.
Lures make great stocking stuffers and there is a plethora of hard baits and soft plastics, here are a few.
Crankbaits are always good choices. Check out the Bass Pro Shops catalog for their XPS 5-Piece Crankbait Kit, which includes shallow, medium, deep, super deep running, and waker models. The kit sells for $15.99.
New this year is Rapala’s Scatter Rap Series. Designed with classic balsa body shapes, the Scatter Rap is equipped with a Scatter Lip said to create an action that mimics a spooked baitfish. Four silhouettes are available, the Scatter Rap Crank, Scatter Rap Shad, Scatter Rap Minnow and Scatter Rap Countdown. Suggested retail price is $8.99 each.
Two other popular lure manufacturers are Norman and Smithwick. Norman’s DD series is popular in the Ozarks, especially their Deep Little N and DD22. MSRP for each is $4.50. Smithwick’s 4 1/2 inch-long Suspending Limited Rogue is popular during the late winter and early spring. MSRP is $5.99.
Most area bass anglers have a few jigs in their repertoire of baits. Check out the Crock-O-Gator Foot Ball ($6.25 for two) and Zapper Jigs ($5.00 for two). They are made in the U.S.A. and owned by area resident, Jim Dill. See them at www.crockogatorbaitcompany.com/ or area bait and tackle shops.
Some popular soft plastic lures include Berkley’s 10-inch Power Worm in Red Shad color, Zoom’s 8-inch Lizard in watermelon red flake color, and Yum’s Craw Pappi in green pumpkin color. Choose sizes and quantities that fit your budget.
We cannot forget the crappie angler. Two local lads are producing and excellent crappie jig under the brand name of Buck Creek Baits, see them at Bryant’s Osage Outdoors in Laurie.
Other excellent, slab producing jigs are the Blakemore’s Crappie Thunder and Curly-Tail Road Runners. Most bait shops around the lake should have a good selection.
If a new jigging rod is on your bass angler’s wish list, consider the CarbonX C2. It is a seven foot long, heavy action rod with a fast tip. It can be used to cast Carolina rigs or larger jigs into heavy cover, and it is reasonably priced at $149.99.
Match it with an Abu Garcia Revo Rocket high-speed reel that retrieves 37 inches of line with one crank of the handle. To control backlash it sports a magnetic and a sealed centrifuge brake system. Expect to pay almost $300 for this reel.
Another choice is the Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris CarbonLite Baitcast Reel that weighs less than six ounces and has the construction needed for battling big bass. MSRP for this reel is $129.99. Both reels are available from Bass Pro Shops at www.basspro.com.
Several anglers in the lake area also enjoy the trout fishery at Bennett Spring near Lebanon. Trout are funny critters though, having nothing to do with the heavy tackle and line bass anglers use, instead preferring very thin diameter line and wispy rods.
A fact not misplaced by the folks at Shakespeare. Their Agility Spinning Combo, Model AG5025CBO, is short, light action, and an excellent entry-level rig for the rainbows of Bennett Spring. MSRP for the combo is $39.95.
Beginning anglers could benefit from Shakespeare’s Synergy Steel Spincast Combo. The SYNST6010CBO model is suitable for crappie and the SYNST566CBO model could be used for trout or bluegill. MSRP for each is $19.99. See them at www.shakespeare-fishing.com/.
Most of the products mentioned are available at local bait shops, Walmart, Bass Pro Shops, or from the manufacturer’s web site. Some have their own version of Black Friday.