Howard Delo

Christmas is only a few days away and, hopefully, you’re about done with your shopping. If not, we’ll talk a bit later about more shopping ideas. However, first, I’d like to wish all of you the very merriest and happy Christmas. While the holiday has been secularized and commercialized over the years, don’t forget that Christmas is one of the two greatest holidays on the Christian calendar. The birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, should be remembered as a celebration-worthy day for all of us.

If you’ve been seeing the various sale flyers from all the different outdoor stores this shopping season, you should have a pretty good idea of what’s available for your person. I’ve previously mentioned some items I’m interested in. I’ve intentionally not named stores or product manufacturers lest somebody follows my lead and gets the wrong item for their nimrod.

So far this year, I’ve presented only a couple of ideas for that angler in your life, and both were regarding icefishing. One thing I want to mention for the open water anglers regards footwear. If you’re considering giving waders, hip boots, or wading shoes as a gift, do not buy the felt-soled version of any of these wading boots. The same applies if the gift is for a hunter or waterfowler. Several years ago, both the Alaska Board of Fish and the Alaska Board of Game passed regulations eliminating the use of felt-soled footgear.

Other states have found that the use of felt-soled footwear transferred detrimental animal and plant species from infected waterways into previously unaffected water bodies. The organisms attach or get into the felt material and can travel to a new home, unintended by the angler or hunter. Since few anglers or hunters disinfect their boots before wading in different rivers, streams, and lakes, the two boards made the felt soles illegal for use.

Most local outdoor stores no longer carry the felt soles, but if you’re ordering online, most of those suppliers do still stock felt-soled waders and shoes. You may have to do a return to avoid giving your person a good chance at a wildlife citation as well as the original gift.

With the generally poor to nonexistent king salmon fishing the Valley has experienced over the past decade, many folks have turned to lake fishing for rainbow trout, stocked landlocked salmon, or northern pike.

I prefer using ultralight rods and reels while lake fishing for trout and salmon.

I like a little stouter rod for pike. Any regular, salmon-sized rod will work fine. Most ultralight rods come in the four to five-and-a-half-foot length range and that is what I’ve always used. A few years ago, I “accidently” stumbled into a seven-foot long ultralight spinning rod.

We happened to be in an RV rental/sales dealership in Anchorage for some work. While waiting, I got in a conversation with a “tourist” who had just dropped off his rental and was waiting for a ride to the airport. As we were leaving, he offered me a “deal” on the two spinning rods, reels, and tackle he had purchased for his trip. He didn’t want to hassle with carrying the gear on the airline. The price was too good to pass. That’s where I learned about long ultralight rods.

The next season, I ordered a seven-foot ultralight baitcasting rod online when my shopping showed nobody locally carried that length rod. I put good quality reels on both rods and have enjoyed using them ever since.

Another item I have discovered for open water fishing is a rubber-mesh landing net. I have a larger one in the boat and a smaller one I use when bank fishing or fishing from a canoe. The sales hype said hooks were not as prone to be caught in the rubberized webbing and the slime layer on the fish was less disturbed. I’ve found both claims to be true.

While it’s too late for this year, offering to pay for your nimrod’s drawing permit hunt application costs would be a gesture most any hunter would appreciate. Just tell them not to go “hog-wild” in the number of hunt applications they want. It’s easy to rack up significant costs if your hunter has a wide range of hunts in mind. If you would like to do this for next year, leave an “I owe you” for the purpose and dollar amount under the tree and mark it redeemable for the 2021-2022 hunting season.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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