Christmas. Birthdays. Anniversaries. Gift giving is big business, but more importantly it is serious business. Like, certain relationships put a make-it-or-break-it proviso status on gifts. Who am I to say if that is wrong or right? What I do think is wrong is giving gifts with the laconic sentimentality of clicking a “buy now” button off a list.
We can do better. Fly fishers are a sentimental lot. Standing in a wild place chasing wild creatures allows for all sorts of introspection and whatnot. Add to that the whimsy associated with bamboo, Norman McLean, and early mornings? You’ve got a recipe for some grade-A thoughtfulness. That experience on its own, with all the accoutrements that make it special, is worth giving.
But what else can you do to really take fly fishing gift giving to the next level? If you already plan on going fishing with people on your list, how can you go the extra mile? What will push your gift over and above a new pair of wading socks or a Costco bag of beef jerky?
Here are a few ideas that could really be fun. Fun to give and fun to receive. And they can definitely be given in tandem with that fishing trip, so you can still buy the five pounds of jerky and share it on the river.
The Fly Fishing Show
Perhaps taking someone fishing as a gift in January or February would be more cruel than anything. Don’t despair. Head to the closest stop on The Fly Fishing Show tour this winter and springtime. Give a ticket, promise some lunch, and then have a great day walking around. Play with gear, buy some things that you really, really need, and maybe even set up a guided trip that you can take together.
If you enjoy talking fishing with your friend or family member, you’ll also enjoy talking fishing with them alongside hundreds of other people that are talking fishing. These shows really do get you longing to be out on the water. You’ll create excitement for that first trip, and probably come home with some memories and mementos to see you through the wait.
One way to really distinguish your gift from all others is to actually make it completely unique. Design a Vedavoo pack in the colors and with the accessories that you know they will appreciate. Work alongside a custom rod builder like Wayward Angler to create a totally personalized fly rod that will be used and treasured. Find or commission a one-of-a-kind piece of art from one of the many talented fly fishing artists out there, such as Andrea Larko.
A quick jaunt through Etsy will reveal that there are limitless artisans out there willing to work in an infinite amount of directions to make you what you – or whoever you are giving a gift to – will want. It always takes a little more forethought, but something made just for someone is a caliber of gift that cannot be found on a shelf.
All in all, when it comes to meaningful gifts, I still think the fishing trip is the way to go. But extraneous circumstances can and will happen. Hopefully your creative juices can get flowing, and you can make gift giving more than a glorified currency exchange.
After all, you are a fly fisher. With all those solo trips you’ve been taking out to the river, you’ve led them to believe that you have had opportunities to do some real thinking.