The Wild South

Sporting Gifts to Give and Covet

Classics, upgrades, and some new winners for the outdoors-lovers in your life


It’s not too late to score a holiday present so perfect it will seem like you and Santa’s elves have been in cahoots for months. Just move fast and scoop up one of these sleek sporting gifts for those who enjoy spending time in a duck blind, boat, or camp kitchen. Some are classics, some are upgrades to long-loved designs, and others are new kids on the block that will set your favorite hunter or angler apart from the crowd.

Fly Fishing Classic

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One of the most iconic trout reels ever made, the C.F.O. III from Orvis is a click-and-pawl beauty. It was first patented by Charles Frederick Orvis in 1874, and then revived in 1971. The company launched the most current iteration last year for a fiftieth-anniversary offering, clad in anodizing that should last another fifty, easy. If you’ve never fished with a click-and-pawl reel, with their light drags, you’re in for a treat. There’s nothing more fun than palming a spool when a strong trout is on the line. orvis.com; $329


Hip Hugger

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The venerable three-pouch game bag has been around half of forever, but the Alabama-based Tom Beckbe takes it up a notch or three. The side pouches on this quail belt can be adjusted to ride conveniently at your side, and the rear game pouch has a zippered bottom for easy cleaning (or detach it completely to use the belt as a shell bag for clays shooting). Made of winsome and tough vegetable-tanned leather and heavy waxed cloth oilskin, it’s not a bad toolbelt, either. tombeckbe.com; $199


Stay Sharp

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Wild game cooks tend to put knives through their paces, so having a handy hone is essential. This new ceramic crock stick from Work Sharp sets itself apart with nifty guides that take the guesswork out of setting the angle for a correct edge. The guides are pre-set for a 20-degree hone, which is perfect for kitchen tasks. To tidy up the edge on a hunting or general-use blade, tip the blade slightly for a 22- to 25-degree angle. Your stocking-stuffer quandary is now solved. worksharptools.com; $30


Thigh High

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These Five Star Froglegs from Dan’s Hunting Gear are the toughest, most comfortable hip boots I’ve ever worn, with a cult following among waterfowlers and anglers in the know. My Froglegs are at least five years old, and they’re my go-to for duck scouting, shallow-impoundment hunting, and cool-weather fishing and marsh mucking. Unlike traditional clunky hippers, they’re made of tough briar-proof nylon treated to be waterproof, and they’re welded to a variety of boot choices, in insulated and non-insulated versions, from makers such as Muck, Quatro, LaCrosse, and Dan’s own models. danshuntinggear.com; $155-$230, depending on boot


Tailored Fit

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Simms has been a leader in offering high-tech apparel made especially for women on the water, and it just launched this female-specific ExStream Pull-Over Insulated Hoody. Made with stretch fabrics for full mobility and stitchless PrimaLoft baffles for low-bulk warmth, the hoody has a shaped waist and long drop-down hem for a stylish look that also fits easily under waders. It’s a sharp piece that does double-duty as a slick shell for cool days on a boat and as a cold-weather walking jacket. simmsfishing.com; $220


No-Sink Shades

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This new entry into the fishing eyewear category comes from Dragon, a well-known maker of snowsports visors and goggles, and they’ve earned a place as my hybrid everyday/nearshore fishing shades. I’ve worn the Flare LL H20 sunglasses in the Everglades to chase snook and along the North Carolina coast dogging migrating false albacore. They’re lightweight, full coverage without looking like they belong on an android, and they float. That’s worth serious bonus points. dragonalliance.com; $209


Camp Kitchen Star

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The James Brand, a Portland, Oregon, cutlery design house, is known for its fresh takes, like the sexy Hells Canyon outdoor chef’s knife. The idea: Downsize a traditional chef’s knife ever so slightly, with a similarly sleek and durable G10 handle. Pair it with a sheath for safe, easy carry in a pack or around camp. Build it with premium S35VN stainless steel, which is tough but still able to be resharpened by someone without an advanced physics degree. It’s a beauty for camp or cabin. thejamesbrand.com; $295


The Mini Minibar

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I’m not knocking the venerable flask, but this cocktail travel case from theBAR2GO has moved into my starting lineup. The case comes with five small bottles and a stainless-steel funnel, all nestled into a leather tote that isn’t much larger than a medium-size fly box. The cases are made in a variety of leathers, including hair-on hides, and fashioned with closing devices ranging from leather wraps to conchos. thebar2go.com; $95-$130

Follow T. Edward Nickens on Instagram @enickens.


Holiday gift guides from G&G:

>> Gifts Under $50

>> Splurges for Someone Special

>> Gifts for Everyone on Your Nice List

Also see:
>> The Winter Catalogue from Fieldshop by Garden & Gun


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