Insider gift ideas from local toy peddlers
By Paul Bruun, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
Date: December 12, 2012
A prehistoric Yellow Pages slogan,”Let your fingers do the walking,” was popular before the Internet/smartphone era arrived. Thus my Christmas 2012 decision is to have experts (local toy peddlers) select gifts they would delight in receiving. So follow along as local retailers do some wishing.
For years. Scott Sanchez, now Jack Dennis Outdoors’ fishing-zone boss, has delighted friends and customers by creating elaborate Christmas fly decorations (Santa, reindeer, Christmas trees, etc.). Scotty thought a while before replying that his ultimate list begins with a few cases of .17HMR ammo, a Rossi Circuit Judge (a .45 Colt/410 revolver carbine) and some classy new race skis. Sanchez said he could put a Nautilus FWX 7/8 fly reel with three extra spools to excellent use for his collection of 7-weight fly lines. Closing out his gear list is a streamlined Fishpond Marabou fly-fishing vest. And having September off for favorite outdoor activities would be the ultimate gift, he said.
Maggie Jordan’s Auburn University degree in aquatic entomology gives her a quantum leap beyond other valley trouties. As the new Jack Dennis clothing buyer, she’s busy studying wool, synthetics and fleeces of all kinds. Without hesitation, Maggie announced her personal gift picks include a Patagonia Puffball Vest and a women’s Patagonia Better Sweater (polyester fleece with a heathered sweater-knit face). We were standing amid a recently arrived wool-based Filson collection that included not only colorful men’s vests, coats and shirts but some well-tailored women’s pieces and Pea Jackets as well. Newly designed women’s Canyon Cord Pants from locally based Mountain Khakis finalized Maggie’s selections.
Must-haves for sportsmen
Bob Canella, always helpful and encyclopedic about the latest gear, prices and sizing, stopped rushing long enough to consider the question of what he’d enjoy for Christmas. His response, which came in several days later, was honest and thoughtful.
“In recent years I’ve tied many fly orders, mainly saltwater, for customers going to Christmas Island, British Columbia, Cuba and the Bahamas,” he said. “I’d love to be invited along on a destination saltwater trip. So I guess for Christmas, my wish is ‘I’ll tie to fly!’”
Jim Vail, from the JD camping/knife/firearms department (undergoing major gallery/second floor remodel), arrived downstairs wearing a grin and lugging a sizable white box with Sturm Ruger logos. An equally happy customer trailed Jim, awaiting the final sale to be entered in the register.
“So what’s in that big box?” I asked.
“This is Ruger’s newest creation — the SR 556,” Jim said.
For the uninitiated, that’s a $1,540 .223 Remington caliber AR platform from one of this country’s most respected firearms makers. Seeing this generous enthusiasm from a firearms junkie such as J. Vail answered my gift question for him even before it was asked.
Howard Cole was the first person I asked to select gifts he would enjoy receiving. And like Maggie, his initial suggestion was a Puffball outerwear piece.
“You simply can’t beat that garment for versatility,” he said.
It wasn’t a surprise that Howard — being a Spey fishing addict —picked a 13-foot, 3-inch Winston BX-II 7-8 weight Spey rod ($880). For local waters, he is fond of the Beulah Platinum Rod series. Beulah’s 9 1/2-foot., 6-weight. four-piece with extra tip costs $395. This skilled fly tier would also welcome a pair of Dr. Slick 4-inch Razor Adjustable Tension Scissors ($28.00).
Anthony, an enthusiastic Jersey-style holiday elf, is manning Corey Milligan’s New West Knife Works world headquarters on Town Square at 98 Center St., Unit C. Fusionwood 2.0 chef knives are exceptional sellers during the holidays. New West is just the spot for kitchenophiles on your list. We treasure the steak knife set we received as a wedding gift.
John Bailey of Dan Bailey’s Fly Shop in Livingston, Mont., travels the world seeking leader, fly, wader and rod innovations. During an October visit, John emphatically endorsed the diminutive Nikon Coolpix AW100 as the best point-and-shoot waterproof camera he’s ever used.
Alex, at DD Camera Corral, echoes John, noting this waterproof-to-33 feet, 16 megapixel camera is easy to use and reliable. DD is offering a special $249 price through Dec.15.
When I asked fly-tackle magnate Will Dornan, proprietor of two Snake River Anglers shops, his Christmas gift wish, he mumbled something about having a youngster who could row him while he fished. Since Will’s youngsters are mostly in “the under- 4-foot tall crowd,” that wish is going to be a while.
Andy Asadorian, SRA’s loyal manager, quickly reported that he’d be delighted with a pair of black Abel No. 4 Pliers ($190). Additionally, Abel Nippers ($50 solid; $120 fish graphic) are superbly machined and precise, Andy said. He also eyed the extra-sturdy and fine-fitting Redington Sonic Pro Waders with waterproof zipper ($379). Steve Shibuya’s locally produced S2 Products (wooden and aluminum nets and custom wooden fly boxes) are more of his favorite gift choices.
A few more suggestions
All year I try to discover gear that merits gift mention in this column. Clomping across slimy winter river bottoms became much steadier in size 12 Patagonia Aluminum Bar Wading Boots ($239). Bar boots are available in sizes 5-14, and I began using them this summer. When October cooled off, they accommodated a wicking liner sock with an over-sock topped by a thick insulation sock. Bar boots don’t bother fiberglass boat interiors, either.
After fly-fishing legend Joan Wulff joined several Florida guide friends for assaults on permit and snook, her poling hosts came away impressed with a fly line Joan was using.
The Royal Wulff Triangle Taper Bermuda Shorts ($79) is designed with a shortened but overweight front taper. Make one backcast and this thing goes on its way. The tropical finish stands up to blazing heat and is perfect for snappy casts under mangroves and brushy shorelines and for motivating wind-catching bass bugs and gurglers. Available in floating line weights from 7 to 15, consider 7, 8 and 9’s for speedy shots at bonefish, snook, bass and redfish.
Diners at a neighboring breakfast table in Nora’s puzzled over the device on my cap bill. The tiny Cyclops Micro Mini LED Hat Clip Light is powered by a pair of CR-2016 Lithium batteries. Princeton Tec and Petzl headlamps are my standards when outdoors late. But the micro mini is always there when darkness pours in fast. But store it when rain pours,
Some disagreement still clouds the benefit of fluorocarbon line and leader. Better face it: In clear water, quality fluoro sinks quicker and is harder for fish to see than mono. Drawbacks: It doesn’t break down in the environment, and it’s expensive. A gift of some fluoro leader spools may help pals improve their game. Mirage by Orvis, Rio Fluoroflex and Trout Hunter Fluorocarbon all have allowed me to pull really hard on river and lake fish. Study which one joins well with your current leader system and give fluoro a try. Heavier weights work in saltwater.
Mike Carey is an NFL referee who is also a snow sports gear inventor. Carey is partners in a tech gear company called Seirus that specializes in gloves, face masks, hoods and protective gear. Hoback Sports, as well as Teton Village Sports, carries Seirus gear in Jackson. Duude! The latest innovation is a 100 percent waterproof touchscreen glove called Sound Touch. Can you magine being able to text, phone and work your iPhone or other devices without taking a glove off because the finger and thumb activate screens?
Have fun shopping.
Paul Bruun writes weekly on his adventures and misadventures in the great outdoors.