2023 Holiday Gear and Gift Guide

by | Dec 13, 2023 | Gear & Gift Guides

2023 Holiday Gear and Gift Guide

Written By: Todd Corayer, The Fish Wrap Writer
Winter Gear Guide Products:

ORU 12’ Beach LT Sport Folding Kayak
The Meditative Fisherman
Northland Fishing Tackle Kit
Boomin Belts
Daiwa REVROS LT 2500 Reel

XTRATUF Women’s Ankle Deck Boot
The Power of Positive Fishing
Red Wing Irish Setter 6” Crosby boots
Brite-Strike Tactical Blue-Dot® Flashlight

ORU 12’ Beach LT Sport Folding Kayak

Lightweight and fits in any cars truck, foldable kayak
Starting at $1,169 (Save $80!)
My Pick: Black Edition
What I Love: 28lbs, comfortable seat, one-hand carry

The specs are impressive. Built from a 5mm skin of two layers of custom-extruded polypropylene with a 10-year ultraviolet preventative treatment, LT Sports weighs just 28 pounds and is 12’1” long and 29” wide. That’s light and trim, designed well for inshore waters. This is a devilishly clever packable, manageable, enjoyable kayak keenly designed for lakes, ponds, streams, and rivers. It’s not meant for open ocean journeys or Class III rapids but it’s rugged and ready to be packed, hauled, scraped, loved, and reopened for years.

Walking to water, you will appreciate carrying a 12’ kayak with one hand, leaving an extra hand for a paddle, PFD, or dry bag. You might just get to the water in one trip. Once adjusted, I was surprised at how comfortable the seat was. The gunwales have a rail system to handle a Scotty Plastics or similar-style accessories. I used an ORU paddle and a NRS PFD designed for ORU to complete the package. All three, vest, paddle, and boat are easily customized for paddler height, balance, and comfort. This is an amazingly well-designed kayak just begging to go on an adventure.  ORUs are feng shui, wind and water, an arrangement of pieces that bring balance to our world. We could all benefit from more of that, especially when it fits on your back.  $1249.00 with sale pricing through the holidays.

Click to watch my full video review of this kayak.

The Meditative Fisherman, by Bryan Archer

A love letter to the rivers he has fished and the people he has fished them with.
Starting at $13.95
What I Love: Solid writing, lots of travel and real-life contemplations.

Bryan Archer has assembled a wonderful collection of adventures and considerations with journeys through waters waded and understandings questioned.  His words are steady with significance while flowing with spirits rising over moving waters and always respectful of influential anglers, writers, and thinkers. This is a welcomed treatise on time, flies, friends, values, and how our perspective shapes our understanding and the waters we fish.

“The Meditative Fisherman” floats readers through Mr. Archer’s angling travels but in the mist of drift boats, from which he introduces guides and flies, emerges significant historical anecdotes and brief but heartfelt observations on Eastern religions, personal sacrifice, and meditation. They blend to create not quite a biography, but a series of slow, careful, ruminative messages on life and trout. It reminds us there is more to fishing and life than just casting and keeping.

Chapters often begin with talk of flies, rods and guide instructions then smoothly transition to high-level thoughts of how we all accumulate stuff, in tackle boxes or heads, and can improve organization for both for lives reduced, reclaimed, and appreciated. This was not the book I expected because I had foolishly created expectations with no basis and as I loved the book, that may be the best recommendation. “I wish I was able to come to terms with what fishing is all about and understand the many contradictions that continue after all these years to puzzle me.” Amen.

The meditative Fishermen book recommendation

Northland Fishing Tackle Panfish Lure Cabin Kit

Starting at $49.99
My Pick: Balsa Crankbaits
What I Love: Variety of lures for the value

For many years, I have had great success fishing Northland lures. From surface to deep diving, they have helped me catch large and smallmouth bass, pickerel, and pike. They have also reversed my fortunes when bites were tough. Now you can enjoy a variety of their panfish lures with a Northland Cabin Kit. The Panfish collection has 10 targeted lures, like dressed and round-headed jigs, balsa crankbaits, bobbers, and plastics.

The bite changes with conditions so this variety will help keep you on the sunnies and bluegills. If you’re on the hook for just the right angler gift, Northland Tackle might just save your holiday while ensuring a new season of great fishing.

Boomin Belts


Starting at $109
What I Love: Music from your belt? What’s not to love.

Billed as “The World’s First and Only Bluetooth Belt Buckle Speaker,” this clever belt and buckle has a built-in Bluetooth speaker that connects to your smartphone. The belt itself is a rugged nylon web that should be cut back to fit you just right.  In less than two minutes, the water-resistant speaker paired with my smartphone, announced its presence (something to remember if you bring it into a tree stand) and was ready to play. Coincidently, I had some ’72 Grateful Dead cued up and it sounded great.

Boomin Belts aren’t designed to light up a house party or fill a whole Vanagon with jams, but for personal use, it’s a perfect gift for people who enjoy music everywhere. The buckle attaches magnetically and comes with a backup magnet and charger. They say, “Where style and music meet,” and I agree, especially since they provide interchangeable buckle faceplates, so you can easily transition from splitting firewood, to walking, to laying by the fire, to rocking out or chatting on the phone.

Daiwa REVROS LT 2500 Reel

A lightweight reel that can hold 200 yards of 8lb braid.
Starting at $49.99
What I Love: Affordable, lightweight, tough

If I’ve learned one thing from using Daiwa reels, If I’ve learned one thing from using Daiwa reels, it’s that they are worth every penny. They hold up to years of use and occasional abuse, and at the end of a trip, I never regret using them in fresh or saltwater. The new REVROS LT (Light but Tough) is all that. Its baptism with me was jigging for late November squid with a double setup and a one-ounce weight on a modified 5’ trout rod. The REVROS LT 2500 was so smooth, retrieved easily, and with that perfectly sized handle, I barely missed a tug all night. A few weeks later I landed three holdover striped bass up to 27″ and the REVROS never struggled to land them all, even in 43° water. The Air Rotor System ensures steady balance, a larger DigiGear supports four ball bearings and one roller bearing with a 5.3:1 retrieve while the reel holds 200 yards of 8lb J-Braid. The price point is more than fair, the reel is handsome and based on my history with Daiwa, will be with me for trout fishing in Maine and squeteague fishing in Warwick. Worth every penny.

XTRATUF Women’s Salmon Sisters 6” Ankle Deck Boot

Durable waterproof deck boot in a variety of colors and patterns.
Starting at $105
My Pick: Tails & Scales
What I Love: Lightweight, supportive, fun colors

My wife Alison took the testing lead on these waterproof deck boots and loved them. She said, “At one pound each, they’re light but still supportive.” The practical-with-a-twist design means they’re all business up front with a pop of color (party!) on the back, with two useful pull-on tabs. I like how they kept my feet dry, love that Scales and Tales print, and appreciate the collaboration that supports a woman-owned company and their family business.”

The Ankle Deck Boot’s real beauty is in their versatility: Wear them from your boat for daily errands, walk a bulldog in the rain or sit on a deck with no work in sight. They ran a little large so keep that in mind.

The Power of Positive Fishing

By authors Michael Tougias & Adam Gamble
Starting at $29.95
What I Love: Relateable fishing stories by great storytellers.

New York Times best-selling author Michael Tougias and author/publisher Adam Gamble have enjoyed a 25-year business and personal relationship and much of that was on the water. This shared collection of thoroughly relatable stories reflects the commonality of their and our lives as we meet, fish, talk, share, and pass some years, through marriages and children, challenges, successes, and failures.

Because Mr. Tougias is a proven storyteller, writer, and researcher, I take his resume as a reason to read each new book, knowing I will love his cadence and descriptions. With Mr. Gamble, he draws not on one historical event but two woven lifetimes, threading hopes and emotions about futures and fish as we travel through time, over water, through possessions and passions, losing and gaining all the way.

I encourage everyone to read this because for all of us, anglers or not, it’s life and life only, as Bob Dylan wrote, but it’s true and inside The Power of Positive Fishing.

 

Fish Wrap Gift Guide, The Power of Positive Fishing Book

Red Wing Irish Setter 6” Crosby boots

Ultra-dry membrane with Memory Foam Insole
Starting at $219.00
What I Love: The combination of comfort and protection.

It’s hard to beat 100-plus years of experience crafting rugged and reliable boots. This year, I tested the Crosby because it has the history of a hiking boot redesigned for people who have to go to work to support all the fun stuff they do in the woods. An Ultra-dry membrane and Memory Foam insole (which is amazing) work together to keep you dry and comfortable while the leather upper is soft enough to help with work-related twisting and turning.

Soles, which I loved for their secure, slip-resistant diamond pattern, are rated to resist heat up to 475°, the tongue is cushioned to ease strain which makes a difference on a long workday, and at just 3lbs 8oz, I can see these being a favorite, well-worn pair, whether I’m headed to work or hunting pheasant. Even the laces feel rugged. A lot of history has really paid off in the Crosby boots. 

 

Brite-Strike 410 Lumen Tactical Blue-Dot® Flashlight

Ultra-dry membrane with Memory Foam Insole
Starting at $159.00 Save $100 with a holiday sale! $59.99
What I Love: Supporting a New England company.

I’ve been a big fan of Brite-Strike APALS lights for many years and would not consider going on the water without them. I’ve long been impressed by the many small details Brite-Strike engineers build into their tactical products, and that focus is clear with the CNC machined aluminum body, reversed clip, crenelated strike crown, proprietary black anodized finish that exceeds military specifications, and a wide beam to keep officers or anyone in the dark, safe.

Even the patented Hi/Lo/Strobe button has been constructed to work faster and easier than conventional lights. There is no need to turn or twist to adjust or change lights, the designers use six chips to make everything happen with a full click.

All this leads to a superior light that’s easily operated in woods or high-stress situations. Brite-Strike understands the meaning and importance of tactical.

 

Want to view other gear guides I have written recently? Click here.

Some product photos above were retrieved from Amazon product listings or vendor websites with the intent of highlighting said products. Amazon affiliate links used.

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