Friday, March 23, 2007

Catch. Release. Repeat.

"A trout is too valuable to be caught only once" Lee Wulff.

Def: Catch and release is a practice within recreational fishing intended as a technique of conservation. After capture, the fish are unhooked and returned to the water before they are totally exhausted or further injured. Using barbless hooks, it is often possible to release the fish without removing it from the water (a slack line is frequently sufficient).


In the old days if you caught a fish it was yours God Dam It! Whether you ate fish or not that fish wasn't going back into the water. You either chopped it up for chum, gave it to the cat or buried it in your garden. You caught it, you kept it.

But times have changed. People today have a greater respect for the natural world and the dwindling natural resources of water access and healthy fish stocks. Overfishing creates terrible fishing conditions for all fishermen. Its simple, if there are less fish in the water everyone is going to catch less. And isn't the surprise of catching fish where the fun is in fishing?

Of course not everyone has been enlightened to the concept of catch and release. But its gaining converts. The first official use of catch and release in the U.S. occured in Michigan in the early 1950s as a way to reduce the cost of restocking hatchery-raised trout. Typically what happens in non-catch and released managed waters is the states take your fishing license fees and pay to restock fisheries with little fish. These fish are then typically wiped out in a single fishing season and then the state has to restock.

Fishermen acustom to fishing in catch and release waters are usually catching much older and larger fish. Which certainly increases the pleasure value.

Try catch and release and you will be rewarded in better fishing waters and you will be protecting fish populations for your grandkids.

Effective catch and release fishing techniques avoid excessive fish fighting and handling times, avoid damage to fish skin, scale and slime layers (that leave fish vulnerable to fungal skin infections) by nets, dry hands and dry surfaces, and avoid damage to throat ligaments and gills by poor handling techniques.

Some tips: Use barbless hooks to reduce injury and handling time. Using strong tackle, to minimise fighting times, use needle-nosed pliers to aid unhooking, leaving fish in the water during the unhooking and release process, to avoid any handling, use specially designed catch and release landing nets, avoid touching fish with dry hands and don't have the fish out of water for more than 30 seconds.

The next best thing to practicing catch and release yourself is to promote catch and release to other fishermen. One way to do this is by wearing "Catch. Release. Repeat." t-shirts and hats. sells a nice selection of short and long sleeve "Catch. Release. Repeat" shirts as well as hats.

Spring Leads to New Fly Fishing Gift Ideas

Spring is finally here! It is time to gather up your fishing rod, tackle box, and other fishing gear and wade on into the waters. And if the waters are still a little too chilly for wading, it is perfectly fine with us if you decide to float on into them atop a pontoon boat, instead!

Know that even as warm weather approaches, the waters are staying chilly. And if you plan on treading out into it, you are going to need a good pair of fly fishing waders. We have a variety of fly fishing waders that will help you stay warm and dry while out in the waters. Whether you plan on going only ankle deep or chest deep, we have the write fly fishing waders and boots to suit your needs.

Many more people are starting to understand the fun and therapeutic process of casting into a river or other body of water (and many people are seeing how much more fun it can be when they are comfortable and have the right gear, like fly fishing waders, a good rod, etc).

As with most things, along with the growing popularity, there has also been a growing improvement of equipment. It is possible to find some very fancy reels, rods, and other accessories these days.

And it is not just the fishing equipment that has improved, but the fly fishing apparel, as well. Fly fishing apparel for all the seasons, whether it is warm or cold, wet or dry, has improved. Now you can find fly fishing apparel that will keep you feel comfortable no matter what the weather is. It is important to stay comfortable so that you can better concentrate on the "cast" at hand.

Of course, the same basic supplies and fly fishing apparel that worked years and years ago will still work today. After all, the fish have not changed that much, right? Perhaps the number of fish has decreased, rather unfortunately, but at least our understanding of fish has improved.

We now have a great deal of flies and fishing lures that attract fish better than ever before, when paired with a good fisherman. Everyone knows that it is not the equipment that catches the fish, but the fisherman!

Perfect Gifts For The Fly Fishing Enthusiast

There is a fly fishing gift out there perfect for your budget and perfect for your loved one, too! The greatest news is that you can purchase a fly fishing gift for anyone at great prices just by browsing around online.

When you know someone closely and you happen to know that this person has everything he or she needs for fly fishing, there is a wonderful selection of fly fishing accessories available. Or perhaps he or she has everything they need—but they really want a new fly fishing vest. A fly fishing vest is a great fly fishing gift. Especially for the fly fishing enthusiast, and those who are just starting our and beginning to collect fly fishing gear.

There are virtually hundreds of different kinds of flyfishing gifts—so how do you know which fly fishing gift to purchase? Especially if you do not go fly fishing yourself, it can be a confusing choice to make.

Basic lures are always a great idea, as well as fly fishing knots, fly fishing flies, reels, rods and even those super classy flyfishing gifts like new rod cases. The good news is that there are so many flyfishing accessories available that we know you will find something.

If you really cannot think of anything else, no other fly fishing gift, that your loved one will like, you can always purchase things like key chains, t-shirts, hats, bumper stickers and such.

Lastly, if you know exactly what you want but it seems to elude you at every turn—browse around online, there are so many in stock items perfect for a fly fishing gift. And your ideal fly fishing gift will absolutely be among the wide selection of fly fishing merchandise.

You will be able to find a fly fishing gift for anyone at all when you search online. No matter what skill level and no matter how often or how little he or she goes out fly fishing. You will certainly find a fly fishing gift your loved one will be pleased with when you look in the right places.

Buying Kids Fishing Equipment


KETCHUM, OK -- Young people often ask Santa to bring them fishing tackle -- rods, reels, bobbers, line, hooks and lures. Parents, particularly those who are not anglers themselves, might wonder. Is their child old enough to fish? Is the fishing tackle safe, or age-appropriate?

Hooked on Fishing International (HOFI), which annually sanctions more than 700 Kids All-American Fishing Derbies across the U.S., has prepared a few tips for parents and Santa.

* The ideal starter fishing set for kids is a "combo" package with a matching rod and spin-cast reel. The youngest little anglers love to learn on rod and reel sets endorsed by their favorite cartoon character.

* Will your child be able to cast the rod and reel? This depends on the child, of course, but HOFI recommends that you go ahead and authorize Santa to put it under the tree. Like a child grows into a pair of jeans, yours will learn to use the rod and reel and eventually cast like a pro. A shorter rod is easier to handle than a long rod and a good rule of thumb is that the rod should be no taller than the child.

* Another great gift idea is a personal tackle box for your young angler, especially one that's pre-loaded with sinkers, bobbers, plastic minnows, a stringer and such.

* And, for the older child with more advanced skills, a new lure can make great a stocking stuffer.

* To make sure Santa brings the exact item or items on your child's list, take the child to a well-stocked fishing department, like Wal-Mart's, so the young person in your family can point out the items he or she wants Santa to bring.

Gordon Holland, HOFI executive director, cited a recently released study from the Sporting Goods Manufacturing Association. Between 1990 and 2000, according to "Teens & Sports in America", an average of 6.5 million children from 12 to 17 participated annually in freshwater fishing, making fishing the most popular outdoor activity with teens. "We still have a lot of work to do," said Holland. "The SGMA report notes that the next big bulge of consumers -- more than 70 million -- are under the age of 18, which means we will need to introduce the fishing experience to lots of new kids in the years to come."

Gift Idea For Hunters

Having trouble finding a great gift for your hunting fanatic brother-in-law? How about one of these cool SHOTGUN SHELL BIRD HOUSES?

These are not only decorative - with a hand-painted resin construction but fully functional with back doors for easy cleaning, side ventilation and bottom drainage holes.

The photos don't do this item justice, they really are breathtakingly beautiful. Who ever does the painting on these items is amazing.

More info and selection - click here

My Favorite Fly Fishing Gifts

I've been fly fishing for about 20 years now, which means I've received about twenty years worth of fly fishing birthday and Christmas gifts. Some of these fly fishing gifts have been great, others have been ho hum. My all time favorite fly fishing gifts of course have been the big tickets items - a great new rod or plane tickets to some great fishing spots. But those are easy. Who could argue with a new rod or more time on the water? The following are some of my fly fishing favorite gifts in the typical gift price range.

1. One gift I really treasure is my Silver Angler watch. I where it on the days I can't fish. It reminds me of fishing and helps me make it through the 9 to 5. The Silver Angler is a classy good looking watch with a Its costs around $75 for the Silver Angler or you can get the less expensive Regular Angler with rubber strap for around $60.

2. Speaking of watches, I receive another great watch the Angler II Watch - This was an amazing gift! Imagine a watch designed with anglers in mind! This watch has it all - made of SOLID aluminum, the Angler II can withstand even the most extreme adventurer. The handy moonglow electroluminescent dial light lets you see the time, in all conditions. Water? Tsunami? They're no problem at all with 3 ATM (100 feet) water resistance. Gettin' cold? Gettin' hot? Check the temperature with the thermometer on the back (F and C). With the integrated hook sharpener, there will never be a dull moment (or hook). Need a snip? Attached nippers will take care of that. And with the additional LED Flashlight and compass you'll be able to find your way back to the tent - in the dark! All of these features in one tool/watch that can clip on to your fishing vest. Now that is one cool gift. Expect to pay $80 but for that special fly fisher, it's worth it. The Angler III is also available - it has a few less features and is priced under $65.

3. Fifty Places to Fly Fish Before You Die - This is a great book for day dreaming about my next fly fishing adventure. offers 50 short takes on the ultimate fly-fishing destinations in this beautifully photographed and nicely packaged volume. Each locale comes recommended by an avid fisher; for example, the founder of Frontiers Travel, Mike Fitzgerald, and his son, also named Mike Fitzgerald, suggest fishing for Atlantic salmon at Laxa I Adaldal in Iceland. Fly-fishing instructor Cathy Beck leads Santella to the thrill of catching snook off Boca Paila in the Yucatan. And Sweetwater Travel founder Jeff Vermillion describes the excitement of fishing on the Ponoi River in Mongolia for taimen ("the world’s largest almonid, capable of reaching 70-plus inches in length and more than 100 pounds"). In Europe, Simon Gawesworth tells Santella about the trick to fishing brown trout on the River Test in Stockbridge, England, where wading is forbidden. The book also highlights more traditional (though no less exciting) trout fishing destinations, such as the Bighorn River in Montana and the Green River in Utah. With its elegant descriptions, gorgeous photos and practical information on accommodations and equipment, this book is a dream travel guide for avid fly-fishers. Available at online book sellers.

4. My Nomad Fly Fishing Journal - This little journal is great for keeping track of all my fishing trips. And the pages are waterproof. I got this a few years back and have since purchased a refill. My old journal is in the library for reference. Nomad Fly Fishing Journals are compact writing journals that let anglers keep notes on their efforts. They can note the fishing conditions, which flies worked the best, who the fished with and notes on what they should do differently next time. Expect to pay $25 for the journal and waterproof case. Refills run about $10.

5. My Frequent Flyer T-shirt from Fishboy - I love this shirt. I got it a few years ago and it still looks good. Whenever I wear it I get compliements and its a good way to find fellow fly fishermen.

So there you have it. My top five favorite fly fishing gifts. Now if someone wants to buy me a vintage bamboo fly rod I wouldn't turn it down!

- Rod Bender

Gifts for the Outdoors Girlfriend

Whether you’re buying for the holidays, birthdays or special occasions, girlfriend gift ideas can be hard to come buy. Here’s a list of top gift ideas.

Girlfriend Gift Ideas

Unless this is your first girlfriend, I’ll assume you know jewelry tops the list of best girlfriend gift ideas. That being the case, we’ll skip to non-jewelry ideas you can afford. You can find all of these gift ideas online by just searching for them on your search engine of choice.

1. FishGirl shirts - These fun shirts are design with the outdoor women in mind.

2. Down Memory Foam Slippers – Slippers? Yes, but not just any slippers. It is winter and she needs something comfortable and warm. The slippers conform to her feet and are made with duck down. They are super warm and, unlike other slippers, can be worn both indoors and outdoors. Expect to pay $45 or so with online retailers.

3. Eyesseuse – The grind of daily life can get her in a bad mood by the time she comes home. This, of course, is bad news for you what with the headaches and all. The Eyesseuse comes to the rescue. The device is worn over the eyes like ski goggles. The device then applies heat, pulses and air pressure to the area around her eyes. This promotes blood circulation and relieves stress around the eye area. Essentially, it is a massage for her eyes and she’ll be feeling chipper in no time. Expect to pay in the range of $50 for this gift.

4. Nomad Writing Journals – If she loves the outdoors or traveling, Nomad Writing Journals make great gifts. These journals are tailored to activities such as travel, fly fishing, bird watching, backpacking, camping, rock climbing and so on. They come with or without a case and provide writing space as well as cues for writing down important information. A great keepsake for her to preserve travel and outdoor experiences. The journals cost as low as $9.95 without waterproof case and $25 with case.

These girlfriend gift ideas should give a good starting place for buying your girlfriend gifts. Just don’t forget the jewelry!

Fly Fishing Christmas Presents

Coming up with fly fishing gift ideas is a surprisingly simple task. Here are a few fly fishing gift ideas that will make great Christmas presents.

Fly Fishing Gift Ideas

Fly fishing is much more than just a rod, fly, water and fish. Don’t scoff. This is true and gives you plenty of fly fishing gift ideas for Christmas presents.

1. Wading Staff – Picture it in your mind. A clear, green river flowing through majestic trees. The sun filtering through the leaves of the shadowy banks. A fly fisherman wading out into the stream…slipping and falling on his butt in the water. Ahhh, it was going so well! A Fly Fishing Wading Staff can keep derrieres dry by giving you something to support yourself while walking across wet rocks and slimy things in the deep. Typical staffs retract into a shorter stub for easy packing. Expect to pay between $40 and $60 for something of solid construction. A great fly fishing gift.

2. Quick Seine Nets – Ask a fly fisher about how to pick the best fly for a location and you’ll get a lecture on nymphs. By nymphs, I mean the insects, not the randy historical figures. With fly fishing, insects tell the story on rivers. The Quick Seine Nets are tailored to help fisherman quickly and easily analyze the insect population at a fishing spot. The nets act like a sieve in the water and let you scoop up the local insect population. The size of a racquetball racket, you can free hand them or attach them to your fish nets. Quick Seine Nets come in a few sizes, but cost no more than $25. Just plug the name into a search engine to see the selection.

3. The Trout King – This book is the equivalent of the Shootout at the O.K. Corral for fly fishing enthusiasts. The story revolves around a fly fishing tournament in an out of the way location. The undefeated local angler goes against an out of town visitor. Both hate to lose. The friendly competition turns serious and the pages just start flipping buy. You can buy it online at any bookstore for $15 or so.

4. Nomad Fly Fishing Journals – Nomad Fly Fishing Journals are compact writing journals that let anglers keep notes on their efforts. They can note the fishing conditions, which flies worked the best, who the fished with and notes on what they should do differently next time. You can click the link at the bottom of this article to see the journals and expect to pay $25 for the journal and waterproof case.

Frankly, it is pretty hard to go wrong when buying fly fishing gifts. Any of the above fly fishing gift ideas will make great Christmas presents.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Hunting Gift Idea - Stag Salt & Pepper Shakers

Gives a whole new meaning to the term "Hunting Season". Season your venison with these great stag deer head salt and pepper shakers. These stags will add a touch of luxe-lodge to any dining experience.

Spice up the venison burgers in style!

Get Them A Fly Fishing Journal

Great gift idea - a fly fishing journal so they can keep track of their trips. Let's face it fly fishing is addictive. Once you start, you'll never stop. Whether you are going to the local water hole or to Alaska, you should use a fly fishing journal to keep track of your sessions.

Fly Fishing Journals

Fly fishing is more than just fishing, it’s a peaceful, surreal activity. For many, there is almost a meditative quality to casting. For avid fly fisherman, fly fishing trips to locations such as the Battenkill River in Vermont, Green River in Utah and Letort in Pennsylvania are a must. Of course, the possibility of trips to Argentina, Alaska and other exotic locations can make ones eyes glassy. For many, however, past fly fishing experiences fade from the memory with time. If you had keep a fly fishing journal, this doesn’t have to be the case.

There are famous instances of people keeping journals throughout time. Of course, Anne Frank’s Diary is the best example. In her diary, Anne kept a running commentary of the two years her family spent hiding from the Nazis. While your fly fishing sessions will hopefully be more lighthearted, keeping a journal will let you remember them as the years pass.

A good fly fishing journal combines a number of characteristics. First, it should be compact. Second, it should have a water-resistant pages and a case to protect it from the elements. Third, the journal should contain blank areas to write your notes. Fourth, the journal should contain cue spaces to remind you to keep notes on specific things. Cues should include:

* Who you went fishing with,
* The weather conditions,
* The fishing conditions,
* The flies you used, what worked and what didn’t,
* What you caught, and
* Lodging and places to eat,

As time passes, your fly fishing journal can be used as:

* A guide for you or friends that return the same location,
* Information on gear and flies to take,
* Memories to reflect upon years later, and
* Something to pass on to your children and grandchildren.

Keeping a fly fishing journal only requires a few minutes of writing. You can fill it out on the ride home or during a break. As time passes, your journal will become a collection of incredibly valuable fly fishing information. Imagine the look on a friend’s face after they mention going on a trip and you whip out your journal for the spot!

Making Gift Baskets for Outdoormen

Making Gift Baskets - Fun, Unique and Easier On the Budget!

Christmas, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, baby showers, going away to college ... the list goes on. Some people even buy a gift for each of their children’s teachers for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and at the end of the school year. Can you imagine how much that costs?

There is no doubt that gift-buying can wreak havoc on your wallet. Making gift baskets can ease the burden and be fun at the same time.

The Simpler The Better

Gift baskets do not need to be intricate, expensive or time-consuming. In fact, the simpler they are the more appreciated they usually are. Making gift baskets is a simple way of becoming a thoughtful and unique gift giver. All you really need are a basket, some attractive wrapping paper and liner for the basket, a little ribbon, and a few other miscellaneous items.

When you are making gift baskets, you’ll want to consider who the basket is for and what the occasion is. You'll also need to think about what type of basket would be most appreciated by them.

For instance, if a friend is a fisherman, hunter, camper, hiker, climber, paddler or into any other type of outdoor activity you'll want to include some little tools and accessories that pertain to their activity. Maybe some playing cards with sports fish on them. Maybe some little items for their car Or a small pocket knife or survival tool. The focus of the basket could be a funny t-shirt or hat. Of course you'll want to have it all contained in a unique and useful container like a small tin tackle box.

Not only have you given a gift that he’ll appreciate, but it will also be one she can make use of immediately.

A Win-Win-Win Gift

The cost was minimal, he’ll know you put some thought into it, and your creativity will be admired by all. A win-win-win gift, to be sure. And once you get the hang of it, making gift baskets will seem more natural than going out and buying one big expensive item as a gift.

For example, notebooks are something that people of all ages use. Kids use them for drawing and doodling in while adults use them for making lists and keeping notes. Almost every woman I know carries a small notebook in her purse. For the outdoorman try a journal either fishing, hunting, camping, hiking or whatever outdoor activity there is a journal available.

Camping / Hiking Gift Idea

GSI Outdoors
Micro Table
18.4 oz, 11.25" x 15.5", $22

Made from sturdy aluminum, GSI’s Micro Table is just enough table to keep dinner out of the dirt or sand, and the perfect height for camp-chair cooking. Prep your food, rest your plate and cup, or light your lantern and play a game of cards on the Micro Table. Just unfold the table and insert the included rods, and you instantly have a stable surface. The table folds up and slips into a compact stuff sack for easy transport and storage.

See it here

Special Man Gift Ideas

Do you need a gift idea for the special man in your life? To find the best gifts, think about his interests. Does he love baseball? Bowling? Playing on the computer? Camping? Playing Poker? Think about his interests, and click out our gifts by type section. We've listed dozens of hobbies and interests, and dozens of great gifts.

If we've missed his interests, you'll have to do a little thinking. Does he work too hard? Get him a thoughtful gift for his desk at work or for his car during his commute. Does he work out every day? Gym clothes and workout gear makes a great gift. Even if he "has everything", there are still some great gift ideas out there!

Hiking Gift Ideas

Hiking Gifts

When looking for great hiking gift ideas, it's a good idea to remember keep in mind the area in which the gift recipient will be hiking, if you can. Hiking in the desert Southwest is much different than hiking in Michigan or Maine! There are still some gifts that are great regardless of where the hiking is done, such as trail guides, water purifiers, and general camping gear. We've listed some great gifts below - let us know if we've missed any!

Outdoorsmen Gif

Camping Gift Ideas

A great camping gift for the outdoors lover in your family will make him/her happy, and make you the hit of the party! Camping gift can range from cheap ($3-$10 for camping food and small camp supplies) to the expensive ($500 or more for high quality gear).

If you know the gift recipient loves camping but little else specific information, a safe route to take is by buying gear that everyone uses. Camping food, camp gear such as stoves, lanterns and water purifiers make excellent gifts in these circumstances. Books (and magazine subscriptions) also make great gifts. A trail guide for an area near where the recipient lives is always appreciated.

Check out the gifts we've listed below - if you know of any great gifts we've missed, let us know!