Leave ties at store – get Dad flies instead

Father’s Day is 12 days away, and it’s safe to say most department stores are hoping for a run on ties, dress shirts and even socks.

Try to avoid these lame gifts – especially if the dad in your life is an angler.

Truth is, most angling-addicted dads would enjoy a few hours on the water more than almost any present. Giving your dad a morning or evening of fishing – dads never get enough fishing time – is perfect. Adding on a new lure or bit of needed tackle makes it all the better.

We’re all struggling through hard times, and a great fishing gift doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Here are a few ideas that cost less than $8.

Roostertail spinner

One of the most effective lures ever made is a white or black Roostertail spinner. A 1/16 ounce Roostertail with a single hook will catch just about every fish that swims in western Washington.

Bass – largemouth and smallmouth – trout, crappie, bluegill, rock bass, yellow perch and even resident coho in Puget Sound will whack a Roostertail. The single hook snares fish just as well as a treble hook, but it makes it easier to release wild trout and smaller fish.

Pinching down the barb on the single hook makes this $2.99 lure legal on just about all artificial-lure-only waters in Washington.

My first Roostertail – it was my first lure – was a present from my father.

A high-tech bobber

Fly anglers use bobbers – we call them strike indicators, but they’re bobbers – to detect when a trout takes a nymph or other sinking fly that is drifting in the river’s current.

Strike indicators – bobbers – show delicate bites that anglers wouldn’t notice otherwise. The best fly fishing bobber – we call them strike indicators – is the wonderful Thingamabobber, which looks like a tiny party balloon.

Actually, that is exactly what a Thingamabobber is – a tiny, air-filled plastic balloon. These bobbers – call them strike indicators if you must – suspend flies at accurate depths and are very easy to cast and move up and down on the leader.

They’re also easy to spot on the water – after all, they look like tiny party balloons. I would not fish a trout stream without a few Thingamabobbers in my vest. A package costs $5.49.

Terminal tackle

An epic run of pink salmon – millions of salmon – is expected to rampage into Puget Sound and western Washington rivers in late July through August. Check out these predicted runs:

Puyallup River: 688,000 pinks.

Green River: 894,000 pinks.

Skagit River: 1.2 million pinks.

Snohomish River: 1.8 million pinks.

This is a lot of pink. Many anglers use light drift tackle to bounce pink or orange Corkies through the waves of snappy pink salmon.

Using a three-way swivel with a snap connector on this rig allows anglers to quickly change weights. It’s important to adjust the weight in areas where the current is faster or the water is deeper.

Olympia’s own Vision Hooks & Tackle makes a top-quality three-way swivel with a snap connector, and you can buy a package of 25 for $6.99. If your dad fishes for pinks, coho salmon or steelhead in local rivers, he will like this gift.

A space alien

Father’s Day happens at the same time largemouth bass gather in the shallows of local lakes to spawn and eat anything that moves.

So, a Tequila Popping Bug from Cabela’s is a perfect gift for the dad who casts a fly line for bass. The popper, which costs $3.75, looks like a tiny “Star Trek” monster that rolled in a batch of “Mike and Ike” candies.

It’s a gaudy mess, and that means bass will wallop the weird lure.

Fishing a popper is easy. All your dad has to do is rig up his floating line, tie the popper onto a stout leader and arrive at the lake early or late in the day.

Good casts will put the popper close to shoreline lily pads, weedbeds, sunken trees or even boat docks. Dad should let the bug sit for a few seconds, then give the fly line a little tug. The popper will gurgle and burble a little.

That’s when the bass suck it down in a swirling, boiling rise.

Every angling dad needs a cheap thrill every now and then, and a bass popper is a sure-fire way to make that happen.

If you don’t have any cash at all – it’s hard to come up with five bucks when you’re in third grade – don’t worry.

Draw a picture of your dad fishing. You can even put yourself in the picture, but make sure dad is holding the bigger fish.

We dads are easy to please on Father’s Day – if you just steer clear of the ties.

Chester Allen: 360-754-4226