Updated on August 16, 2022, at 12:59 p.m
Finding the best fishing gifts for anglers can be like catching the fish of a lifetime – nearly impossible. Anglers are very particular about their gear and very often buy what they want as soon as they can. But the benefit of shopping for an intrepid angler is that we always have something new to look at. If it helps us catch more fish, we love it.
With that in mind, I reached into my arsenal and pulled out some gear that I know anglers will love to open on Christmas morning. I even had the opportunity to test some new and innovative products. The key to a great fishing gift is to make sure it’s useful. Ask any serious angler and they can tell you about the endless amount of gifts we often receive that end up in the corner of the garage. Do not add to that collection.
Here are my favorite field-tested fishing gifts.
Best Boat Accessory: Tipless Can Cooler
A fun accessory that prevents unwanted spills on and off the water.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve knocked over my morning coffee on the boat ride to my fishing spot. Not a fun way to start the morning. I started using the Toadfish no-bake can cooler and there are a lot less coffee stains on the boat. This box holder can handle five-foot swells on the open ocean or an off-road ATV ride, definitely one of the best fishing gifts out there. It’s designed with a suction cup-style base that sticks to almost any surface and refuses to budge, unless of course, you want to drink from it. It can also double as an insulated cup with the included spill-proof lid. Plus, every purchase helps fund seabed restoration to improve water quality and keep estuaries alive and healthy. Now that’s something we can all raise a glass to!
This jacket keeps you warm and dry, in and out of the water.
Grundéns has been known for outerwear tough enough to withstand the rigors of commercial fishing since it was founded in 1911. The Windward Gore-Tex Infinium Insulated Jacket traces its origins back to 21str century, adding the highest technology to that line. Windward trades PVC liners for breathable Gore-Tex, so you’ll stay dry from the inside out even when you’re giving it your all for a good fish. Body mapping puts insulation where you need it, but keeps bulk to a minimum. Primaloft traps air down, but won’t compress if it gets wet. So even if you end up drinking, Windward will still insulate. On the boat, in the mountains or around town, Grundéns offers you the best fishing gifts.
Best Fishing Pliers: Bubba Stainless Steel Pliers
A set of pliers that is finally built to last whether it’s miles offshore or your local lake.
When you spend a lot of time on the water, it seems like you have two options, either spend hundreds on a nice set of flippers that will last, or keep buying a cheap new pair. The Bubba Stainless Steel Pliers give you that quality construction at an affordable price. They are constructed entirely of stainless steel and have a titanium nitride coating. They have built carbide cutters that will cut through just about anything, along with tight cuts for those heavy duty saltwater rigs. These are my go-to pliers for rigging, removing fish, and anything else you can throw at them. After a long day of fishing, just rinse them off, and they’re as good as new and ready for your next adventure.
Best Baitcasting Reel: Shimano SLX DC
An incredible combination of Shimano engineering and DC chip technology to get the best possible performance.
With all the new hype surrounding DC reels, Shimano offered an entry-level DC reel that’s way out of its league. Whether your angler is new to baitcasters or a seasoned veteran, the Shimano SLX DC is worthy of any rod you pair with it. The DC part of the name stands for digital control and works by using a microchip that detects and prevents backlash before it happens. With four settings, you can determine how much work the chip does and how far you can transmit. Taking the guesswork out of anglers allows anglers of all skill levels to enjoy the benefits that come from their fishing. It’s available in several gear ratios including 6.3:1, 7.2:1 and 8.2:1, all featuring a smooth yet powerful traction system.
Best Fishing Sunglasses: Smith Guide’s Pick
An adaptable pair of sunglasses built for long days on the water and in all conditions.
One of the most important pieces of fishing gear is polarized sunglasses. Finding the right pair for an angler can be tricky depending on how and where they fish. The Guide’s Choice glasses solve this problem. These sunglasses offer great coverage with a wraparound frame design to minimize the amount of sunlight that can sneak in from the edges. There is something for every angler with 6 different frame colors and 18 lens options. The Guide selection is built to last for years to come and with Smith’s excellent customer service they will always be there to help you with any issues you may have.
Best Outdoor Speaker: The Turtlebox Speaker
Combining amazing sound quality with a fully waterproof housing for an amazing experience on the water.
Music can be a great way to fill the time between fish. Turtlebox speakers help you do that with a fully waterproof housing and amazing sound quality. These speakers are a great size to easily bring anywhere and output distortion-free music up to 120dB. The battery life of these speakers is exceptional, lasting 20 hours for regular listening and 6+ hours at maximum volume. The speaker has a built-in USB charger and tethers to make sure it doesn’t go anywhere. Perhaps the best feature of this speaker is the fact that it is completely waterproof, be it salty or sweet. It excels as a boat speaker for long runs or a day at the sandbar.
Best Fishing Backpack: YETI Panga 28L Backpack
A waterproof backpack that keeps your gear dry for a day of fishing.
When push comes to shove, I’m a fly fisherman. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy taking turtles and casting frogs for giant bass, but most of my time is spent with a fly rod in hand. What this means is that I often find myself wading deep rivers, clambering over snowy banks, and zipping around in a broken boat. The one common theme in these pursuits is that I tend to wet myself and all my gear. The Panga Backpack is a fully waterproof bag that can be submerged in water and keep everything dry. I keep my camera, lenses, phone, wallet, lunch and any other valuables I have stored here when I’m on the water. This bag gets wet, abused and tortured when I’m fishing. It has never failed me and I absolutely love it.
Best rain gear for fishing: Simms Challenger Bib and Challenger Jacket
The Simms Challenger Collection is guaranteed to keep you dry and comfortable in the heaviest of downpours.
In my experience, there are two things that will ruin a day of fishing: getting wet and no fish. The latter is often uncontrollable, but the former is an easy fix. The Simms Challenger bib and jacket are made from durable DWR water-resistant fabric. Rain and rain starts right away to keep you comfortable and dry. The boots come with low zippered feet to allow them to slide easily over boots and save you the embarrassment of struggling in the parking lot. The Challenger jacket also offers some impressive features such as a three-point adjustable hood to minimize the amount of water that can reach you. I am more than impressed by how inspiring this combination is even during the hottest summer days. You can’t control the fish, but you can control staying dry. This is a fishing gift your angler will recommend to all their fishing friends.
Best Fishing Boots: Xtratuff 6 on Deck Boots
A perfect set of fishing boots that keeps you from sliding around.
If you’ve been on a boat before, you know that some people can be leery of scratching their beautiful white deck. So instead of going barefoot, grab a pair of Xtratuff deck boots and stay comfortable. All their boots have a non-marking sole to keep you from slipping even in slippery conditions. They keep your feet dry and are super comfortable for a long day of fishing. You’ll be dry, safe and comfortable all day long.
Best Outdoor Terrain: YETI Camino 35 Carryall
The perfect bag to keep all your gear organized.
I’ll be the first to admit that the inside of my truck looks like a bomb went off. The floor is buried under a mountain of fishing gear. Tackle boxes, waders, boots and bags all combine for a great mosh pit. I started using the YETI Camino 35 this fall and it helped me in particular with one area of my fishing stocking problem – boots and bales. The durable and waterproof material of the Camino allows me to put on my wet and muddy boots without having to worry. Don’t ask me how I know, but having your waders and boots in one place saves you the frustration and embarrassment of showing up to the river with just one boot. Even when you’re not fishing, the Camino services a great beach bag, boat bag, and camping bag. It has removable dividers and has come in handy on many of my adventures.
Best socks: Megabass Vision ONETEN FX
An incredibly realistic fishing machine.
Ask any angler what the best jerkbait is and chances are they’ll say the Megabass, and rightly so. They have built a reputation for making the best jerkbaits available and the Vision ONETEN FX is at the top of the lineup. Some of the features are really impressive including a folding lip to improve casting distance and barbed hooks on the outside of the bend for better connections. These baits fish as good as they look and can be an amazing lure for spring bass or fishing tailwater rivers for trophy trout. When it comes to the best fishing gifts, it’s hard to beat a great jerkbait. Available in thirteen colors you can match any fish you need.
Field and Stream is here to help you find the most helpful and expert shopping recommendations for the best gift ideas. Looking for more unique gifts? Check out more gift guides here: Fly Fishermen Gift Guide, Fishing Gear Gift Ideas, Best Gifts for Him.