Share this article

print logo

Will Elliott’s Outdoors: Gift-giving possibilities abound

Playing Santa and choosing the right gifts for outdoors folk can be challenging when the recipients have everything that needs something else.

The “easy” way out would be to purchase a gift card from any big-box store that sells items for everything from angling to zip-lining.

As nice as theses gift cards may be, purchases are rarely remembered as a valued holiday gift. Hardware is hard, software is selective, but a nice in-between option might be a good book selection.

Bob Rich’s newly released novel “Looking Through Water” would be an ideal gift to both the recipient and to needy veterans. This engrossing story will please a reader, and Rich has designated proceeds from sales to Project Healing Waters for veterans. For details, visit and click on “Charity”.

The name Vin Sparano may not be as familiar as Hemingway in outdoor writing circles, but as an outdoors editor for decades Sparano has been a discerning eye for selecting timeless tales of the woods and waters.

Skyhorse Publishing this year has released three collections of Sparano’s compilations of the best hunting and fishing classics readers will enjoy. From the comic capers of a Pat McManus tale to the insightful summations of Saxon Pope, Jack O’Connor or Robert Ruark, all three books are worthy of a reading and many re-readings.

Two text key on hunting – “The Greatest Hunting Stories ever Told” and “Classic Hunting Tales.” “Tales of Woods and Waters” brings together anglers and hunters in situations many of which occurred decades ago and can be enjoyed and replicated afield today. For details on all Sparano-edited editions, visit

Fishing tackle items are everywhere. From cork bobbers to the latest smart phone app, lures and angling accessories abound. Dozens of well-known companies make and market fine items that catch fish but two provide a variety of options fisher folk can use on freshwater and saltwater outings.

For ice anglers, Northland Fishing Tackle offers the widest variety of hardwater hardware. Northland also has a good line of year-round gear, but the ice items are nice. To locate the nearest dealer, call (800) SUN-FISH (786-3474).

Yellow Bird Products provides the most diversity – and history – when it comes to luring fish. From side planers to spinners, spoons and hard baits, the Yellow Bird name is on currently popular items and on lures that first hit the water in 1893. Many a lack of pike strikes have been cured with a Doctor Spoon. Lake Erie walleye anglers who once called them “yellow pike” took yellows with a Yellow Sally spinner. To check out this variety of lures, visit

Aqua-Vu has cornered the market for underwater camera items. To view the many options, visit

To share a gift of learning, a reservation for the Walleye Fishing University at the Erie County Fairgrounds on Jan. 9 could be the ideal gift for an ‘eye catcher. For reservation details, visit

The National Rifle Association has a membership discount deal at many levels of entry. To view the options, go to

Several fish and wildlife groups seek funds to protect habitat for fauna afield. The most notable fundraising effort for wildlife at this end of the state is the Seneca White Deer Inc. attempt to protect the 7.000 acres on which a herd of white deer thrive along the eastern shore of Seneca Lake.

Detailed in a column Dec. 6, the SWI effort is approaching $1 million in donations and needs at least $2 million to present a viable bid on the U.S. Army Depot property up for auction. A holiday gift to this effort would be helpful in protecting these deer and the environs that contain history sites. Mail gifts to: SWD, 4780 Deuel Road, Canandaigua, NY 14424. For more details, call (585) 944-3015 or (585) 394-1287; or visit

No two anglers fillet fish the same way and no two filleting knives have the same cutting features. Many companies have produced sharp, durable blades for anglers, hunters, and outdoors cooks. Names such as Rapala, Buck, American, Bubba and others all do a superb job of separating fish meat and bone, but a side trip during a Yankees game in Cleveland a couple years ago put us onto a knife blade that works wonders along a fishes rib cage, around cuts of game meat and all around the kitchen.

Warther Cutlery in Dover, Ohio, has produced a line of fine cutlery since 1902, including fillet knives that not only look exceptional but hold up well during long filleting sessions. Since purchasing that first kitchen/filleting knife we have gone with a block of tableware and are looking at counter block sets.

On many an outing, we have cleaned dozens of panfish and game fish with the same results: all knives fare well, but the Warther blade holds an edge longer and slices just a bit more smoothly than other knives.

Any Kitchen or filleting table would go well and better with a Warther. For details on all cutlery products, call (330) 343-7513 or visit

Good luck playing the outdoors Santa this holiday season.