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 Throughout the year, we were fortunate to enjoy and test some really cool products and meet many local businesses who fuel our outdoor passions. We want to share them with you, just in time for the holidays, with our 2021 Fish Wrap Writer Holiday Gift Guide for anglers, hunters, hikers and beach walkers. Send us an email if you need more information, or just to tell us about your outdoor product or story.

BackCountry Meat Sticks

Back Country Meat Sticks

Back Country Meat Sticks, Original Flavor

“Originated in the backcountry of the North Brooks Range, Alaska…” Now that’s the way to start a conversation. Apex Protein Snacks are created with high quality beef and also wild game like venison, elk and boar. What’s not to love? We tried the Kansas City Barbecue Flavor and they were killer. The 90 calories provides energy to you keep fishing or hiking until dinner, a few grams of sugar adds flavor and nine grams of protein keep the muscles working on the trail. The whole deal was excellent with flavors left rolling around the gums; not overpowering, just a reminder of how good the smoky flavor was. RISAA Ex. Director Greg Vespe said, “Definitely has a lot of good flavor and some heat that stays with you.” Master Maine Guide Justin Morse said, “I really like some beef jerky and that was close to a 10! Sweet with just enough spice.” Pack a few of the 1.5 oz. sticks in your pack and know that you have a natural energy boost ready when you need it most. www.apexproteinsnacks.com 12 piece box, $24.99

Al’s Lil’ 49er Ice Jig

Al’s Goldfish Lure Company’s classic ice fishing lure

Al’s Goldfish Lure Company makes a long list of American made fresh and saltwater lures and a line of a unique ice jigs, including the Lil’ 49er. Al’s Lil’ 49er is a 1/4 oz. brass spoon with a distinct shape and action that zig zags erratically when the lure is pulled up, and flutters on the drop when vertically jigged through ice. That’s the action that draws fish in for a look and a strike. The Lil’ 49er comes in a variety of attention-getting shiny finishes and colors, including glow in the dark options.  Configured for jigging with a treble hook off the nose, this lure is set to catch freshwater species such as panfish, trout, crappies and largemouth bass. The 49er is proudly made in the USA, is available at select retailers across the country and online.  www.alsgoldfish.com. $4.99

Grundens  Deck-Boss 15-inch Boot

Grunden’s New Deck Boss Boots

Innovative No-Slip Bottoms

When some of us were younger and worked on fishing boats, Grundens oilers were what you wore over dirty sweatshirts and threadbare sweatpants. They were, and really still are, the unofficial uniform of fishermen all around the world.

Grunden’s keeping me dry landing a nice swordfish, back in the day

Now, they’ve added a serious pair of boots for commercial and recreational fishermen and women. Deck-Boss Boot are built with a flexible and protective toe cap and an injection molded upper that eliminates delamination and cracking. The Patented “Herkules Grip™” compression molded rubber outsole is certified with SRC Slip Resistance, the most stringent level of slip resistance certification. The flexible upper folds down and a one inch groove holds a durable silicone band to keep pants out of the muck and your legs dry. $139.99 all over New England and at www.grundens.com.

2021 Fish Wrap Writer Holiday Gift Guide

Shimano Current Sniper SplashWalk

Shimano’s Current Sniper SplashWalk

Captain Jack Sprengel shows how Shimano SplashWalk lures call in big fish

Bingo! photo by Stack 9 Photography

Captain Jack Sprengel with a Rhode Island striped bass caught on a Shimano SplashWalk


The video doesn’t do justice to its amazing surface action but no one wants to hold a camera instead of a rod with a Current Sniper Splashwalk on the line. If you gift one saltwater lure this year, it needs to be the SplashWalk. It’s a dynamic new surface plug unlike anything, ever. It takes some practice to fish properly, it will teach you how stripers hunt, it needs you to maintain a bit of line slack to give it life as you retrieve and fishes better with a pause now and then. Think “Right, left, right, left…” When you get the Shimano Current Sniper SplashWalk to dance across the surface, you’ll understand why stripers absolutely attack it. It’s crazy good, like a deadly sirens call. And bass just don’t strike it, they fire up to destroy it, often whacking it with their tales first then turning around to crush it. I’ve never seen any fish react to a lure like this. There are no guarantees in fishing but if you’re a striper fisherman or woman, this is as close as you will ever come. Period. Ralph Craft and Peter Jenkins carry them. $18.99

G Loomis GCX casting rod

The GCX 845C CBR 7’ Moderate to Fast Action casting rod is simply phenomenal. We took it for a tough test, to northern Maine for October largemouth, when fishing can be very fickle to say the least.

The G Loomis GCX rod easily landed tough October bass in way northern Maine

It was adaptable to a variety of lure presentations and weights, which was precisely what we needed for late season fishing. The balance is perfect, the tip responsive without giving up any strength. And it was comfortable to use all through the day. We asked one of Rhode Island’s most famous largemouth fisherman, Bob Buscher, to test drive it as well. If you don’t know Bob, click here and you’ll understand why his thoughts on the GCX are so important. Bob was impressed for several reasons. “First I would say it is a great all around rod. I used it for a variety of applications including jerk baiting, topwater, buzz baits and spinnerbaits. It worked well for me. For cranking, I like a slightly softer tip especially for square bills around timber. It works for lipless very well, great for ripping it out of the weeds. The rod length works for me. As the grass dies up here in New England I would use this rod more and more for a great all around weapon in anyone’s quiver.” Enough said. www.gloomis.com/products/gcx-bass-cbr-casting. $249.99

2021 Fish Wrap Writer Holiday Gift Guide

Rising X BHA Brookie Net

The Back Country Hunters and Anglers offer a new net for safely retrieving, photographing if necessary and releasing trout. This is a collaboration where proceeds go right to BHA. And, it has a built in flask. Of course, we would never recommend mixing some aged brown liquid with a few hours catching and releasing gorgeous brookies on a sweet afternoon, but if you must, the Brookie net is perfect for that special someone who might possibly enjoy both. It handles trout in small streams or crappies in back road ponds, is smaller than other nets they offer with the same strong frame and, check this out, is available in different colors on anodized aluminum, including wasabi, whatever that is, red, orange, blue, purple, black, pink or gun metal. You can mix and match for a cool two tone look on this net proudly made in Francis, Utah with American made aluminum and supplies. Mike Woods, RI BHA Pres. said the nets, “Support our work to protect and enhance access to public waters. There’s plenty floating around about the work our western chapters do to defend stream access and obviously we’re doing work here in RI related to protecting constitutional shoreline access.” $139.99 That’s a perfect reason to buy two and share the power of conservation.  https://www.backcountryhunters.org/  $139.99

Secret hidden flask

Crafty One Customs Veteran T-Shirts

Ralph Craft, owner of Crafty One Customs, has built a strong, family based business building custom fishing rods and tackle. Ralph has a new t-shirt to benefit veterans, which would be a thoughtful gift with a real charitable benefit. Ralph is proud, talented, generous and someone who will tell you how he feels about something, which is so refreshing in this new PC world. He’s supporting our country’s veterans with 100% American made t-shirts because Crafty One Customs is proudly veteran owned and operated. Ralph devotes a portion of each sale to help take and support veterans in fishing. His charitable works reach far deeper than t-shirts, but he won’t ever brag about that. Support veterans, Ralph and his team of craftsman by gifting a shirt from Crafty One Customs, 1980 East Maine Road, #3 in Portsmouth, RI or call 401-293-0477 to talk shipping. www.craftyonecustoms.com $30.00

Bench Buddys Flat Caddy 1-17

After a long forestry career in Alaska, where he fly fished in many of the places we dream of, Gerry Engel began creating gorgeous wood fly tying accessories, small garden fences and garden hods from repurposed Pacific Northwest woods like red and yellow cedar and black walnut.  He crafts helpful and essential tools because he’s been fishing and tying flies for decades. We interviewed Gerry a few months ago for his sage counsel about fly fishing, paddling canoes, tying flies and creating custom items to make fishermen and women’s lives easier but we’re holding onto that for next January when we’re longing to be on a stream with a four weight.

Gerry Engel of Bench Buddys fame

Gerry’s Black Walnut Flat Caddy is a must-have. His COVID-inspired bobbin holder is practical and helps us see a flicker of humor in this age of pandemic overload. Like Ralph Craft, Gerry Engel believes in supporting veterans like his wife Carolyn, who passed in September. Let Gerry know you served and he’ll take off 15%. www.benchbuddys.com. $24.00.

DrySee Liquid Indicating Bandages

DrySee means you are protected at home and in the woods

Considering how much time we spend in the elements, accidents are almost inevitable. Some will require some patching up so we thought this new technology was an important and practical gift. Basically, DrySee bandages take the guessing out of knowing when to change a dressing since they show if the wound has become wet, which means quicker healing with less trips back to the doctor. The perimeter of the dressing turns blue when water has enters the bandage as does the middle so you know it’s time for a change. Developed and produced in the USA, this ingenious invention needs to be part of your outdoors first aid kit. www.Drysee.com.$19.95 for a box of four, 4”x4” bandages.

DrySee bandage shows when wounds get wet

Lucas Oil Slick Mist Ceramic Speed Wax

This was one of favorite tests this year. Sea salt, road salt, leaf tannins, even basic street dirt between rain digs into our vehicles for the next few months and winter weather isn’t kind to anything. Applying a coat of protective wax before winter is key to saving paint jobs and this wax can be applied on those rare, warm-ish days in just minutes. Slick Mist Ceramic Speed Wax is part of a family of auto and marine care products that save time with excellent protection. They could not be easier to apply: just spray, wipe off with a clean cloth and watch the magic to happen. Slick Mist Ceramic Speed Wax stood up to a Fish Wrap test on a 41° day with excellent shine right away, even as soapy water glazed over into thin ice on the hood. That’s a true New England test. More than a week later, the shine was excellent. The days of paste waxes abusing our rotator cuffs are over! One 24 ounce jar is enough to handle a pickup twice or an average sized center console. Lucas Oil also has a Marine Speed Wax which can be applied before your shrink wrap to keep gel coats protected on fresh or saltwater hulls. Speed Wax will be a greatly appreciated holiday gift. Lucas Oil products are widely available and at www. lucasoil.com. $7.47

2021 Fish Wrap Writer Holiday Gift Guide

Klondike Custom Creations White Lightning Double Willow Spinnerbait

The Classic Double Willow

Matt Thayer is a home-grown artisan who just might be a hundred years older than is really is. He has that classic, old world work ethic with an artisan’s eye with a youthful attitude and love for fishing. Matt also has some serious vision when it comes to working with wood and building fishing lures. For the freshwater fisherman or woman who needs just that most perfect lure, he has created a true classic for largemouth bass, Northern pike and Chain pickerel. This one is white with a touch of green in the skirt and a bit of purple on the lead blade to mimic a wide range of New England baitfish. Matt creates a wide variety of lures for many types of fisheries, from every day, go-to spinners to beautiful wood topwater plugs you just might decide to hang on the wall.

Matt Thayer’s beautiful poppers

Supporting Matt will help support a very necessary next generation of young anglers who love to be outdoors and respect our environment. You can reach Matt on his personal Facebook page or on Instagram, KlondikeCustomCreations, or go all old school and email Matt at mt.thayer1223@gmail.com. $9.00

Artist and angler, Matt Thayer

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About The Author

Todd Corayer is a lifelong fisherman and occasional hunter whose writing relies on poor penmanship, sarcasm and other people’s honest fish stories while seeing words as puzzle pieces that occasionally all fit together perfectly.

His work has appeared in The Double Gun Journal, On The Water MagazineThe Fisherman, The Bay Magazine,  So Rhode IslandSporting ClassicsCoastal AnglerNY Lifestyles, The Island Crier, and very often in the wonderful RISAA Newsletter.

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