If that special person on your Christmas list is a fishing enthusiast or boater, finding a great gift is as easy as stopping in at one ofthe county's tackle shops or marine dealers.
The folks behind thecounter are usually active sports participants with plenty of ideas.
And many local tackle and marine supply shops are trimming pricesto attract women shoppers for the Christmas season. "They walk into the store, know exactly what they want, and they're much easier to deal with than some of the men," says Ed Hunton at Rugged Outdoor Co. in Bel Air, which has discounted nearly all its items 10 to 25 percentfor the Christmas season.
Norman Bayer, owner of Just Bass, a small tackle shop in Benson, says he's also hoping to attract women shoppers with sales. He recently held a special sale day for women only and offered free refreshments and discounts on everything.
If you are shopping for a boater or fishing enthusiast but aren't sure what to get, Hayward Putnam at Stonewall Sports in Joppa advises a fishing or boating license, needed every year.
Fishing licenses are available at most county tackle shops or the Department of Natural Resources Regional Office, in the District Court Building in Bel Air. To buy a license for someone, you'll need his name, address and Social Security number.
All recreational boats longer than 16 feet operating in most U.S. navigable waters must display a U.S. Recreational Vessel decal. The mandatory sticker costs $25 to $100, depending on the boat's length, and is available only from the U.S. Coast Guard. You can have the purchase billed to your Master Card or VISA by calling 800-848-2100. You'll need the boat's length and name and address of its owner.
Another good bet for holiday shopping is, of course, clothes. Most local tackle shops carry a large line of designer clothing for fishermen. Tarpon pants, a relatively new item costing $35 to $49, feature lots of deep utility pockets with Velcro fasteners, extra-wide belt loops and zip-off legs, which convert the trousers to comfortableshorts. The legs can be folded and stored in one of the pockets.
All fishermen and boaters wear some sort of hat while enjoying their favorite pastime. Although the baseball-style caps are still popular,hats designed specifically for boating and fishing are in high demand.
The "up-downer," designed for maximum protection from the sun, features a long front bill and a short, roll-up rear flap. It's designed to prevent it from blowing off on windy days. In addition, the underside of the bill is dark green to absorb reflective glare of the water. The hats cost $5 to $20.
More-expensive gifts could include new life jackets, anchor, anchor rope, boat hook, mooring lines, boatcover and possibly a marine stereo for those days when the fish don't cooperate. You can fill a fisherman's stocking with assorted hooks,sinkers, floats, bulk spools of fishing line, reel lube, an electricfillet knife, line trimmer and various fishing lures. Fishing enthusiasts and boaters are always hunting for gizmos and gadgets to improve their skills, and you can help out with a gift this holiday season.
Gary Diamond's column will appear the second Sunday of each month, beginning in January.