By Sam Larson
‘Tis the season for everyone to start dreaming big about what might lie beneath the Christmas tree. Thus, welcome to the first ever Blue Lines Ten for Christmas list, containing all the best and coolest fly fishing things that I can think of arranged in no particular order. Is this list heavily skewed towards what I would want for Christmas? Heck, yes. I make no apologies for that. Thankfully, I happen to have great taste so I think the list remains valid, personal bias not withstanding. So get to hinting and maybe something from this list will end up in your hands this holiday season.
This is, just like their ads say, the best fly fishing deal on the internet. Seriously. A reel, two extra spools, and a carrying case? Come on. All that and the reels look nice, too. Reels are one of the things that, unless you’ve already spent the cash, you kind of always want to upgrade. I have some nice reels, and I have some cheap reels, but I always want to try new reels. This is an easy way to upgrade your gear, and let’s you spool up a floating and sinking line side-by-side. Plus, it’s available in a few different reel styles and line weights so you can get the gear that suits your fishing.
Photo from cheekyfishing.com
I only recently learned about CE Tech. They make one of the coolest aftermarket vise additions I’ve yet seen. I looked around for a tool caddy add-on for a while and finally went with the Peak version. It worked with my Peak Vise, it was cheap, and it holds the tools. But had I seen this thing during my search it would have gotten some serious thought. It looks great. Whether you’re checking out the Scout base or the Explorer tool caddy it all looks thoughtful and well-designed. I’m a huge fan of the hook and bead wells, the magnetized tool holders on the Explorer, and the general finish of the parts. Don’t believe me? Watch Sven Diesel unbox the base and see for yourself.
Image from cetechinnovations.com
A lot of my gift ideas skew heavily towards fly tying because, well, I’m me and that’s the kind of thing that gets me going. If the person on your list is just starting to tie flies, and maybe bought themselves one of those all-in-one starter kits, the Loon Fly Tying Tool Kit will help them level up because the stuff that comes in those beginner’s kits is absolute garbage. They’ll appreciate the higher quality and they’ll enjoy tying flies more. If they already tie flies then this is just a nice addition to the pile of tools they already have. How many bobbins and scissors does a person need? There’s no upper limit and even if they’re fully stocked they’ll find a home for this kit.
Image from loonoutdoors.com
Does the person on your list have a growing pile of half-open Ziploc bags spilling feathers and debris all over your house? Do you lack a room where you could sequester them and their fly tying equipment? The Tomahawk Fly Tying Kit from Fishpond might help you out. I think of this gift as a hint, like getting a pile of Metro shelving for the garage or a new closet organizer. I recently saw the TOmahawk in action and it looks great. Clean, easy to use, with spots for materials, tools, and a vise. If the fly tying gear needs to get brought out and then put away, and you can’t give up the kitchen table from now until forever, this kit is a solid start to making setup and teardown less painful.
Image from fishpondusa.com
This net is just sexy. Nets are one of the things that everyone needs, everyone uses literally all the time, but no one thinks to really spruce up. Your gift giving target could use a spruced up net. I have a pair of Rising scissors and some nippers and I’m likely to spend some of my own cash to a net from them as well. There are several reasons for this. First, I run through wooden nets. Granted, I buy cheap ones but the laminate splits and then I need a new net. Second, I have it on good authority from an acquaintance that he ran his Rising net over with his pickup and it’s still fine. Third, they’re made in the US by good people. Fourth, the handle is a flask, if you’re into that kind of thing. Fun colors, super tough constructions, and supporting good people means the Rising net is a winner.
Image from risingfish.net
Umpqua Mini LT Fly boxes
Best stocking stuffer option.
Everybody, and I mean everybody, needs at least one more fly box. I accumulate fly boxes more quickly than I thought I ever would and yet I always seem to need one more. These new Mini LT boxes from Umpqua are doing it for me at the moment. All the functionality and general radness of the LT flyboxes, in a convenient shit pocket size. I like to have a couple basic creek boxes when I want to fish without a pack and these would scratch that itch. I’ve handled the normal LT boxes in real life and the quality is sky high. I can only imagine that these are the same. These get my nod for “Best Stocking Stuffer”. If they fit in a shirt pocket they can easily fit into a stocking.
There are no images for this item yet, and they may not actually exist at the moment, but they are all over the Umpqua Instagram feed. Check ‘em out!
If the person on your list ties flies then they need thread. They always, always need thread. I would recommend a double fistful of UNI thread. It’s the best. They likely need both 6/0 and 8/0 and a few each of black, gray, brown, and tan. Don’t want to go that deep? Just get black. At less than $2 per spool you can get as many or as few as you need.
Image from uniproducts.com
Got some room for that extra special gift in your Christmas budget? Or are you Santa in your household and looking for a way to treat yourself? The TRV vise from HMH might be the thing. This vise is gorgeous. Everything HMH makes looks great but the TRV takes it to another level. I really appreciate the way in which HMH got almost all of the adjustability of a much more complicated-looking vise into a package that has a simple to use jaw and a single arm angle adjustment bolt. And that big brass wheel to rotate the arm? That’s sexy. If someone out there had the cash to throw at a truly big gift for me this vise would be at or near the top of the list.
Image from hmhvises.com
No one likes stuffing wet waders and boots into the back of their car. If you’re like me you’ve gotten by with a Rubbermaid tub or tubs and that’s fine, but somewhat inelegant. The Yakoda Supply Drifter bag gets your gear from the house to the car, and the car, back into your house with minimal fuss. It’s big enough to hold everything you need for a day, if it’s not totally full you can make it more compact (try doing that with a Rubbermaid tub), and it has a fold out standing pad for when you’re skinning out of your waders on the side of the road. No more standing in the dirt for you! You could stand on a waterproof mat like a boss and keep your socks from getting all dirty. We call that a solid win in the Blue Lines world.
Image from yakodasupply.com
If you’ve read Blue Lines at all you know I love a book about fly fishing or trout. Robert Behnke is one of the foremost experts on salmonidae in North America. Pair his expertise with beautiful illustrations and an introduction by fly fishing author extraordinaire and you’ve got a title that’s worth flipping through.
I have had this book on my list for a number of reasons. It’s pretty, it’s got both informational and aesthetic value, and I can’t resist the allure of new books. I believe this book would be a grea addition to any fly fishing book shelf. Does the angler in your life have everything? They can’t possibly own all the fly fishing books out there. I know because I have tried/am trying to get them all and there’s a lot.