Christmas gift suggestions for anglers

With Christmas just around the corner, some of you might be pondering gift ideas for that angler in your life. This sometimes can be a frustrating task because anglers who have been around awhile can be picky about the baits or tackle they use, and those who are new to the sport might not yet have an idea of what they might want. Either way, you can’t go wrong by placing a new fishing rod under the tree.

Serious anglers already will have a collection of fishing rods, but don’t let that stop you. One more rod never will offend them. If the angler in your life fits into this category, you can learn his preference of fishing rods by snooping through his collection. My guess is you will find more of one particular type of rod and reel, or perhaps even a particular make and model, than you will of others. If so, that will be your best gift bet.

The average recreational angler, on the other hand, won’t be as particular about the fishing rod he receives. However, do him a favor by passing up the rods at the bottom of the price list. In most cases, you will be giving just what you paid for. A quality but inexpensive option is the new Ugly Stik GX2 by Shakespeare. Though the Ugly Stik brand has been around since the late 1970s, this one is a marked improvement over previous models. It is infused with graphite to reduce weight, includes stainless steel line guides, is modeled after more expensive rods and sells for $40. A combo that includes an entry-level reel will set you back about $50. You should be able to pick them up at most sporting goods stores and both of the big marts.

If the angler in your life is somewhere between recreational and serious on the fishing spectrum, and he likes to spend the day throwing a variety of baits, you will do him a favor by moving up in price range and down in rod weight.

While on a mid-August trip to Utah’s Sand Hollow Reservoir, my friend Roger talked me into buying a Vendetta spinning rod by Abu Garcia. As you probably can guess, he had to twist my arm during the 30 seconds — or less — that it took me to make up my mind. Though I never had used the Vendetta before, I did recall giving it a once-over when it first was introduced at the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades Show a few years ago. It received high marks then.

I chose to go with the 7-foot, medium-action model of the graphite rod and finished the package with a Pflueger President reel.

Once we were on the water, the first thing I noticed was how light the Vendetta was and how sensitive it seemed as I bounced a jig along the red rock faces at Sand Hollow. As the day went by, I found myself taking the time to tie on new baits rather than using my other rods, which already were rigged and ready to go. I fished with the Vendetta all day and never felt the muscle knot I usually experience just below the shoulder blade on my casting arm side.

The second thing I noticed was the control I seemed to have over my casts, not only when it came to accuracy but also in regard to distance. And the number of bass that took my baits on that trip didn’t go unnoticed.

The Vendetta can be found online or at the valley’s bigger sporting goods outlets at a price of around $80. Though the price might seem high by some standards, it is not bad for a rod of this quality. Your angler will enjoy it. Then again, you might decide to keep it for yourself.

Freelance writer Doug Nielsen is a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. His “In the Outdoors” column, published Thursday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, is not affiliated with or endorsed by the NDOW. Any opinions he states in his column are his own. He can be reached at