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TackleTour Holiday Gift Guide 2006 (continued)

Freshwater Rod: Daiwa Steez STZ631MHFBA Rod ($349.00) The perfect rod gift for the bass angler that already has complete arsenal of rods…why? Simply because the Steez is sure to be quite unlike any other stick they already own, both from a style and performance standpoint. The Steez rods truly are beautiful functional works of art.



The Daiwa Steez STZ631 oozes style, but has the performance to back it all up, making it the first domestic rod to ever win our “Ultimate Enthusiast Award.” It’s no surprise that since we first reviewed this rod that Cal has already ordered every single Steez rod for his own personal collection.


Saltwater Rod: G.Loomis Pro-Blue ($240.00) Though best known for bass, fly, and salmon rods G.Loomis proved they had what it takes to make a serious saltwater stand up rod when they introduced the bold Pro-Blue rods this season. The new Pro-Blue rods are designed with one purpose…to “make your day on the water a lot more enjoyable,” and they do exactly that. These rods make saltwater fishing even more entertaining, and allow anglers to get creative with the way they fish artificial baits. The series offers more accuracy, sensitivity, and lighter weight than fiberglass and hybrid rods, but most impressive of all, they do not ask you to make all the sacrifices when it comes to concerns about lack of power and durability. The bottom line…when everyone else is either simply winching up fish on a dead feeling glass rod, or find themselves pinned to the rail with an outclassed inshore stick, the Pro-Blue rods will have you savoring the fight as you reel in the biggest of fish without even breaking a sweat.

Enthusiast Rod: Daiko BRSC68M (~$290.00) Many of you might have expected to see a Megabass rod here, but there was another rod that really won our hearts in the enthusiast category this year. In terms of a proper gift this rod is definitely something “unique.” Daiko may have fallen out of favor in Japan recently, but if the BRSC68M is any indication, this manufacturer is far from history. Combining handsome detailing with extraordinary sensitivity, Daiko proves you don't need an exposed blank reel seat if you're working with a good blank design.

Lures: Daiwa TD Mouthwasher ($16.95) With all the qualities of a premium lure the mouthwasher won our hearts with the hybrid popper/propbait design. Offering the best of both world’s this lure puts plenty of commotion in the water enticing fish of all sizes to investigate and commit. The versatility of the TDM is something definitely worth mentioning again: use it like a popper, sweep it like a rip bait, or quickly crank it through the water. The versatility of this lure is the foremost reason why the TD Mouthwasher definitely makes it on JIP’s short list of go-to surface baits. A great gift for anyone that you are trying to “infect” with a desire for premium Japanese lures.

Enthusiast Lures: Jerry Rago's Baby Tool ($100) Why do we classify the Rago as an enthusiast class lure? For starters the 100 dollar price tag, but really because the handmade lure has all the qualities (and than some) of a true enthusiast lure offering. Definitely for those seeking quality over quantity, this hand made and hand painted bait is as fun to throw as it is to admire. But with a three figure price tag, it takes a strong heart to tie it to the end of your line. Risk it and you could very well hook the fish of a lifetime.

Storage: Plano FlipSider ($65.99) Plano upped the style factor of their boxes double time when they introduced the bright orange FlipSider last season. This hybrid storage solution is just as much a bag as it is a box, and offers plenty of flexibility when it comes to customizing your portable tackle arsenal. The FlipSider features many clever storage compartments all surrounding the latching “FlipSider” compartment on the front of the box. Three 3700 prolatch boxes allow anglers to carry everything from plastics to swimbaits, and pockets surrounding every corner of the box help anglers stow tools quickly. Perhaps best of all is the box’s overall rugged construction, ensuring that this is one gift that will last a long time.

Apparel: The North Face Apex Bionic Jacket ($129.00). Over a million times better than giving an angler a knitted sweater or designer tie, the North Face Apex Bionic Jacket is an extremely versatile piece of apparel that is well suited for anglers on the go. The Apex Bionic rests right in the middle of jackets, not too light, and certainly not too heavy, offering a nice blend of wind and water protection without sacrificing an ounce of mobility. Constructed out of “Apex Weatherblock” fabric the Bionic jacket is great for aerobic activities in cool and damp conditions. The outer shell is stretchable four ways and the jacket exhibits outstanding breathability. I love this jacket for bass fishing because it effectively blocks out the wind when running the boat hard, and offers good thermal capacity for those early mornings. Yet it never seems to get in the way when casting. The Bionic is available in seven colors, sizes from small to XXL, and weighs 1lb 9oz.

Conclusion: Whatever your budget may be there is sure to be something for every angler this year. 2006 proved to be a golden year for reels with so many offerings becoming available for both freshwater and saltwater anglers, and narrowing that list down to just a few was a tough task. Luckily for us reels are just one part of the tackle puzzle, and there are so many unique and gift-worthy products this year that are sure to spread that “itch to fish” to those most deserving on your list.

Happy Holidays from the TackleTour staff











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