By Todd Ceisner
BassFan Editor

I was bitten by the fishing bug a littler later in life than some, well after the days where I’d rush to the living room to see what Santa had left under the tree. I don’t recall ever asking for or receiving anything fishing-related during my childhood, and that’s okay. Legos and G.I. Joes and baseball cards kept me plenty busy.

If I had my druthers now, though, my wish list would be chock-full of tackle, gadgets, lures, hooks, bobbers even. I’ve reached junkie status when it comes to fishing gear. I just can’t seem to get enough.

If you have a fisherman on your shopping list and they’re passionate about being on the water or even if they’re into trying something new, the BassFan staff has put together a list of some must-haves that’ll make your shopping easier. Following is part 1 of a 3-part series:

Owner JigRig

Want to help make sure your soft plastics get to the bottom and stay there, even in the hardest-to-fish areas? The Owner JigRig will turn your soft baits into depth charges and improve your chances of connecting with fish you otherwise wouldn’t be able to access.

It employs a slim-profile weight, which freely moves on a split ring that’s attached to another split ring that connects to the hook eye. Sound complicated? It’s really not. Allowing the hook to move independently of the weight allows the baits more freedom to dance around.

Photo: BassFan

The Rod Jacket will not only protect your rods from damage and tangling, it doubles as a reel cover as well.

Owner has released two versions of the JigRig: with and without its patented TwistLOCK baitholder to give anglers more options without compromising the features of the JigRig.

> Price: $6.50 to $14 per pack (hook sizes range from 1 to 5/0 and weights range from 1/8-ounce to 3/8-ounce.

> To learn more, click here.

Angler Innovations Rod Jacket

Buying a high-quality fishing rod these days can be akin to shifting around 401(k) investments. With so many brands and technique-specific models out there, it can be a daunting process at times. Once the purchase is made, though, the next step should be thinking about protecting that investment to ensure years of use.One product that will more than do the trick is the Rod Jacket from Angler Innovations.

It was introduced at this year’s ICAST show and it’s unlike all other rod protection products on the market. Made from neoprene, it also features nylon binding which gives it the durability and form-fitting look you want. Beneath the rod sleeve portion, a piece of neoprene connects to a reel cover that features a Velcro enclosure that can accommodate low-profile or round baitbasters or spinning reels.

It’s mold- and mildew-resistant and won’t tear, resulting in a sleeve that will not only protect your rods (and reels) from tangling, but make them long-lasting investments. In addition, they’ve developed the Rig Jacket, a neoprene cover that can slide down over the rod tip to cover and protect any umbrella rig. It’s also useful on rigs that aren’t tied on to prevent tangling or excessive bending of the wires.

> Prices: Rod Jacket – $20.99 (casting version: 7’ to 7’6” length), $23.99 (spinning version: 7’ to 7’3” length). Rig Jacket – $9.99.

> To learn more, click here.

Strategic Fishing Systems Contour Elite

Whether you’re heading out to your favorite lake or checking out a new body of water, what’s the one thing you’re going to want to know before you back your boat down the ramp? Duh – where the fish might be on that particular day. You might have waypoints from last week or last year, but what if those have turned up empty?

Strategic Fishing Systems
Photo: Strategic Fishing Systems

Contour Elite helps anglers break down the body of water before even launching a boat. Highlighted in red in this screen shot are areas that are 8 to 12 feet deep within 50 meters of a ledge or drop off.

Sure, the sonar and GPS technology available continues to assist anglers in locating fish, but Strategic Fishing Systems' Contour Elite takes it to another level. The software works in conjunction with LakeMaster maps to give anglers the tools to narrow down areas that are likely to hold fish based on current conditions or specific types of structure you want to fish.

Want to fish drop-offs with nearby vegetation in 10 to 18 feet of water? Contour Elite will highlight precise locations around the lake or river that meet those criteria, virtually eliminating the need to idle around and helping maximize fishing time. It also factors in seasonal patterns for multiple species, so if you're chasing walleye on spring mornings or muskies at night, Contour Elite can be a valuable tool.

The software is usable on a laptop so anglers are able to pinpoint certain spots and download them to a LakeMaster chip for use on the water later.

> Price: $149.99 (available for 9 regions: Florida/Georgia/Alabama, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Texas/Oklahoma, Great Plains, Lake of the Woods/Rainy Lake, Dakotas/Nebraska)

> To learn more, click here.

Boomerang Tool Co. The Snip

Gather up all of the scissors, fingernail clippers, wire cutters and all of the other do-dads you use to cut fishing line, whether it’s on the boat or on shore. Put them in a box and stow them in your garage. They won’t be needed anymore.

Photo: BassFan

The Boomerang Snip is the handiest line-cutting tool to come along in years.

All you’re going to need is the Boomerang Tool Co.'s The Snip, a compact, convenient and indispensable line-cutting tool that slices through mono, fluorocarbon and superline with ease and can easily handle cutting through 50-pound braided line as well.

The coolest feature of the Snip is its squeeze-and-lock blade. To engage the cutting action, just apply a little pressure to the handles and it’s ready to go. Closing the blade is easy – just squeeze the handles and pull back.

A 3-foot retractable lanyard attached to an O-ring makes sure The Snip is always at the ready without getting in your way. It also features an LED light for easy use during night-time or low-light conditions.

> Price: $14.95 (with LED light). Multi-packs also available.

> To learn more, click here.

> To check out part 2 of the BassFan Holiday Gift Guide, click here.