From the December 2012 issue

Christmas Wish List

By Jack Payne

The following gift list is items that I would enjoy, or are gifts that I might be purchasing for someone this season. A few are items from holidays in the past that have proven very useful to me and they should for you as well.

    Northland Tackle new Slick Stick Bottom Bouncer is a bouncer that I can’t wait to fish on Bay de Noc and the sharp breaklines. This new design corrects some of the flaws of the old system and becomes a fine tool much like a scalpel to a surgeon.
    This is a super-sensitive, tangle-free sinker system that’s part bottom bouncer, part slip sinker, and deadly for walleye. “Unlike other bouncers, the slick stick has a sleek stick-shape, designed to bounce bottom and glide over jagged rocks, logs, stumps moss and weed cover without snagging,” says Team Northland Pro-Staffer Dave Bennett.
    The snap-on, snap-off design allows you to change weight sizes in a snap to adjust for changing conditions, and to quickly take your bouncer off your line for convenient storage in your tackle box.
    The essential Quick-Change Weight Snap slides on your line, turning your bouncer into a slip sinker when you want to give fussy fish a chance to run with the bait and eat it, without detecting the weight of the sinker and spitting the hook. And it provides minimum resistance with maximum sensitivity when dragged or trolled along the bottom. You’ll feel every tick of the bottom. If a fish barely breathes on your bait, you’ll know it, taking bottom bouncer fishing to a whole new level.
    Slick stick bottom bouncers come in six popular sizes ranging from 3/4 to four ounces in 12-inch lengths that automatically position spinners, live baits, even floating minnow baits slightly off bottom, where fish like walleye can readily see them. And the top of every slick stick is coated with Fluorescent Sunrise Attractor Paint to attract and lure fish in from a wide radius. So fish can’t help but see them coming.
    The Zip-Vac reusable and airtight bags are perfect for your freezer needs. Fresh fruits, meat or fish, when stored in an airtight bag, the freshness will last for a long time. The beauty of this handheld unit is that it packs nicely for those trips and is perfect around the home or garden. The bags are totally reusable and protect delicate items like your cell phone, GPS, matches or a sweater from the elements or when floating a river.
    Last year I asked the readers about an outdoors devotional site and a reader suggested www.sportsmen’ This free site is really cool.
    Hunting socks from Smartwool are designed for the various levels of activity. From the work boot sock, to an extremely warm ice-fishing model and a pair for the avid hiker, Smartwool has a pair to fit. Each whisks away body perspiration and keeps the feet dry. It worked the daylights out of my medium weight and you could use a heavy weight pair for ice fishing.
    The new Plano tackle boxes are really nice. Totally waterproof, so rusty hooks are a thing of the past. They come in various sizes and can be bought with the new waterproof tackle box.

    ‘Crawlers and leeches are a staple of my walleye fishing. The issue is keeping the bait lively and hopefully not making a mess. We keep our ‘crawlers healthy and lively using the Rippin Lips box. It’s the best crawler box that I ever used. ‘Crawlers stay cold and are easy to keep.
    The bait goes into the center portion of the box. The outer rim of the box is filled with ice. This keeps the bait super cold. The entire top can open or just the center portion. Draining water is simple and quick. We have some of the fattest and juiciest ‘crawlers going and our leeches squirm and dance like a dancer dodging hot coals.
    A drift sock is used on virtually any type of fishing that we do. We like the Lindy drift sock because it is lightweight, folds up nice and there are no parts to put together. Throw her out, tie it off and start fishing.
    We use a lot of marker buoys when we fish. Catch a fish—throw out a marker. Whenever fishing an area where the fish are tight to structure or in a tight school, the marker buoy is the way to go. Lindy has a three-buoy kit that works great. We took one marker and added a longer piece of line so when we are fishing on the big lake for perch we can mark the school.
    Insulated long johns have come a long way. Carol Davis Sport Wear carries a product that whisks away body perspiration and has a soft-to-the-skin feel. They have various weight styles to match your outdoor adventure and there’s none of the scratchy feeling of wool like in the past.
    Wrangler introduced their Rugged Wear line a few years ago. They have jeans and shorts designed for the angler/hiker with multiply pockets for tools and such. Their hunting pants are designed for the hunter/hiker with cargo pockets and insulated models. Shirts and jackets are also an option.
    One overlooked item is an electric roaster. They usually come in three sizes and are the perfect tool for cooking the wild turkey, a batch of chili, or barbecue. Once mastered it becomes a real challenge to destroy a meal.
    The past season I used the MX-3 broadhead from Muzzy with excellent results. When I did my part correctly the broadhead was outstanding. And when I didn’t… well that is why I need another set of heads.
    Wrangler introduced their Rip Stop line recently. They have jeans and shorts designed for the angler/hiker with multiply pockets for tools and such. Their hunting pants are designed for the hunter/hiker with cargo pockets and insulated models. Shirts and jackets are also an option. I always pack a set for fishing, one set for camping/hiking and another when hitting the town.

UNDER $100
    I finally broke down and bought a bow hunter vest from Cabalas. I waited two years too long. This vest is really great. It has plenty of pockets for the bow hunter, but not so many that you get lost trying to find something. It has a built in hand-warmer that is very comfortable, a couple of handy pockets for your deer calls, a chest pocket for your range finder or compact binoculars, and a spot for a water bottle.
    Everything is within easy reach, the vest is lightweight and, to my surprise, very comfortable while sitting in the stand. It also has a slot for your safety strap and the material used is as quiet as a Q-tip.
    A Leatherman tool is an item that I want. All I really want is the plain jane tool. Give me a Phillips screwdriver, a knife blade, a file—just the basics—and I will be very happy. I do not need all of the bells and whistles.
    Rain gear is an item often forgotten until soaked you’re to the bone. Most old suits are heavy and make you sweat like a pig. The new suits from Game Hide are lightweight and the two-piece suit folds up into half the size of a football. It’s easy to carry and also light on the wallet.
    The older that I get, the more I appreciate a comfortable chair. When turkey or deer hunting from a blind using archery or a gun from a makeshift blind or, as often the case, in the center of some cattails, I need a chair.
    The HuntMore chair from is a dandy chair. It has three adjustable legs that are perfect for uneven ground, which is so typical. It swivels 360 degrees and, best yet, it comes with a backrest. The big feet are wonderful on soft ground and it is a very comfortable chair that you will quickly be carrying with you on many adventures. My chair will be in the storage box for our Canadian trip next June. It’s a perfect companion on any outing. It comes in either a 16-inch or a 19-inch model. has an entire map collection that can be customized to fit your hunting or hiking needs. You can customize your map, mark GPS locations and print out or have it laminated and sent to you. You pick the size and the scale with about any type of features that you can imagine. It’s excellent for those camping trips off of the beaten path. It is a great tool in scouting wildlife from home. Bottlenecks, saddles, swamps, and old logging roads are all easily pinpointed from the seat of your pants.
    The holidays are a reminder that the great outdoors is best shared with friends and family. Excess game or fish shared with someone that can’t enjoy our activities is a gift in itself.


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