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Ronell Smith’s 2012 Fishing Wishlist

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“Dad, what’s something you really want for Christmas?” asked my oldest daughter. “It needs to be something we can get for you.”

My answer—protein powder, training shoes and a book—wasn’t what she expected apparently.

“Dad,” she exasperatedly said, “It’s a Christmas present. You know, it’s supposed to be something you really want.”

My first thought was, “Don’t my girls know how weird I am?” But what I eventually said to her was “What I want as gifts for the holidays are things (a) I already enjoy but would like more of (thus protein powder) and (b) things I’ve wanted for a while but never got around to buying.

Like everyone reading this, fishing is a huge part of my life. Whether on a boat or walking the bank of a local farm pond, fishing is my addiction. It’s in my blood. So even when I’m not fishing, I’m thinking about, which usually leads me to get in my man cave and excitedly fiddle around for hours.

A few weeks back, while outside tinkering with rods, reels, lures and such, I started thinking about items I’d love to have as gifts. Then something hit: We, as anglers, tend to think too narrowly when it comes to thinking of items that improve our ability to enjoy the sport we love so much. When it comes down to it, fishing is about more than a day on the water. It’s just as much about travel, time away from home and the actual fishing.

With that thought in mind, I made my holiday list based on the things I’d love to have that will make the entire fishing experience better.

1. The Pumpkin Plan. Though many of you might be surprised to see a book make the list, this         is not just any book. Written by one of the foremost small business consultants in the country, Michael Michalowicz, The Pumpkin Plan is the best business book I’ve encountered in 2012. It breaks down in laymen’s terms what it takes to create a successful business, and does so in a unique way: by highlighting the similarities between small business owners and pumpkin farmers. The best element of the book is how it breaks down how and why companies should focus on being different, not necessarily better. Why do you need this book? We are all businesses of one, and let’s face it, most of us would do well to be more business-minded.

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2. Otter Box Anthem and Otterbox Realtree Smartphone Cases. I’m continually amazed at how many folks still do not have adequate protective coverings for their smartphones, especially given how fragile and how expensive they are. Heck, even a cracked screen costs in the neighborhood of $100 to repair. OtterBox makes some of the most popular and best protective cases for smartphones, and the company’s new Anthem Collection and Realtree Camo cases will keep your smartphone safe from drops, dusts and the constant jostling on the boat, while also being stylish. The new Anthem Series, created for the iPhone 4/4s, contains several patriotic styles, including Born Free, Rustic Flag and USA. The Realtree cases are available for the iPhone 4/4s and 5, in addition to some Motorola and Samsung phones. The cases are not proof, but neither are they as bulky as many waterpoof cases.

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3. New Balance Minimus 80. Unless you’ve been under a rock for the last few years, you know that barefoot-style shoes have become all the rage. You see them in the gym, on the hiking trail and on the street. There are numerous benefits to the “minimalist” style of footwear but chief among them is the design allows your feet to receive the appropriate feedback from the ground, which in turn allows your feet, ankles and such to respond most appropriatly, aiding   injury prevention and promoting better overall health. To my mind, the company that has done the best job with this style is New Balance. Their Minimus collection is popular for being well-designed, comfortable, natural-feeling and suitable for a wide variety of conditions. The company’s new Minimus 80 is a multisport shoe that is at home on the boat or the bank. Do yourself a favor and get a pair of Minimus and junk the elevated-heel tennis shoes, which are robbing you of ankle mobility and likely putting you at risk for ankle, knee, hip and lowback problems down the road (the Minimus 80 is not available until spring, but there are numerous other styles ideally suited for boat or bank).

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4. Prosource NytroWhey. A few years back, I made the decision to lose weight, exercise and start taking better care of myself. The biggest change was diet, and I realized that my fishing wasn’t helping. Each time I took out my boat, I’d stop and buy three Snickers candy bars, potato chips, sodas, cookies and snack cakes. Once I made the change to eat better and exercise, I replaced the sodas with water and the junk food with pre-packaged, protein-filled meals. I know many anglers aren’t into eating heavy meals while on the water, so protein powder is a great way to get around this and get in some much-needed calories. You can keep a tub in your truck or boat, then simply add water and shake vigorusly when the urge arises. It dulls your appetite, helps keep you full and works to protect muscle loss, which can be an issue when you spend numerous days on the road with little exercise and few healthy meals. I love ProSource NytroWhey because it’s not loaded with useless junk, tastes great, comes in several popular flavors and is not calorie-laden like many brands.

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5. Columbia Gale Warning Bib, Parka and Fleece. The only thing I hate worse than winter wear is winter wear that doesn’t perform the way it’s said to. The one brand of apparel that I have always been pleased with is Columbia Sportswear. Their stuff just plain works…very effectively. The Gale Warning winter gear is as good as it gets. Each of the items features the company’s Omni-Heat technology, which traps and recirculates body heat for added warmth.   The Omni-Heat Gale Warning Bib and the Gale Warning Parka, however, also feature Omni-Tech, providing a waterproof-breathable exterior that results in one of the warmest, dryest winter suits found anywhere. For this former Florida native, I’m thinking warm and dry will be a priority ths winter, and this Columbia winter wear is what I hope to find under the tree.

As you can see, I am thinking fairly broad when it comes to my angler-friendly holiday list. But   the items that an avid angler needs extends well beyond hoks, line and sinkers.

Are you listening, Santa?

 

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