Sunday photo

One of three kings

Caleb Roblin of Denham Springs earned King Fisherman honors in the 11-14 age group Thursday night during the Junior Southwest Bassmasters-Denham Springs' end-of-the-year dinner. The 5.4-pound bass in his right hand not only helped him earn the age-group award, but also stood as the club's heaviest largemouth caught this year. Connor Rushing of Pride and Noah Roblin of Denham Springs were respective King Fisherman award winners in the 15-18 and 7-10 age groups. This Junior Bassmasters group plans to hold 11 youth bass events during 2019.

It’s that most wonderful time of the year — again — and lots of loving family members and friends are just as stumped about what to get their favorite outdoorsman as they were in past years.

Why don’t we think local this time around: lots of smaller outdoors shops can use your business. Most carry the same lines of hunting and fishing gear as the outdoor megastores, have competitive prices, give you more personalized attention, and you don’t have to fight the big crowds to get that just-right present.

Yes, there are the usual necessities, things like flashlights, socks, shirts, outerwear — a quality rainsuit is a good idea — and there’s always something a fisherman needs for the boat.

No, don’t go for ammo, knives, rods and reels, rifles, shotguns, bows, arrows and rifle scopes unless you know exactly what your outdoorsman has clearly identified as the “right” gift. The local stores can handle your needs there, and if you’re not sure, then get a gift certificate.

Going big time

Staying local can extend beyond your locale. There are several nationally known Louisiana outdoors business that have stood the test of time and their products will be a welcomed present.

Glenn Schurr, the guru at Standard Mapping headquartered on the North Shore, has been putting out quality fishing maps for decades, and in the past month announced a hand-in-hand deal with Garmin International (the folks who make those high-quality GPS units) to use Schurr’s digital aerial mapping E-Cards.

So, here’s a local guy teaming up with a major manufacturer to use Standard Mapping’s Landmark E-Card to put up-to-date, high-resolution, high-contrast aerial mapping to Garmin users.

Schurr knows his cards work and said the new cards are, “something our customers and retailers have been asking for. This new E-Card format will make reading the digital maps on the Garmin Marine GPS Units much easier, especially during inclement weather or challenging navigational situations.”

Schurr is producing cards for Louisiana along with Mississippi, Texas, Alabama and Florida waters along with several freshwater areas including the Atchafalaya Basin and Toledo Bend. The cards are developed from high-resolution, high-altitude aerial imagery and includes zoom-in features to give the user a more detailed look at specific spots — places like reefs — shoals and ponds.

Schurr said Standard’s Garmin version can be found online, at Garmin dealers and some marinas and tackle shops in the five Gulf States. Standard’s website: standardmap.com.

There’s more

We all know Louisiana has lots of folks making saltwater and freshwater lures, but there are four that have been around for years and can help stock any tackle box.

  • H&H Lures, for near six decades based in Baton Rouge, has a massive product line including those fish-catching Cocahoe Minnows. Website: hhlure.com.
  • Egret Lures in Lake Charles came on strong with its Vudu Shrimp and added Vudu Mullet and Zombie (hard-plastic) Baits. Website: egretbaits.com.
  • Bill Lewis Outdoors in Alexandria has been around for what seems like forever, and if you don’t know that name, then most all fishermen know Rat-L-Trap, the lipless crankbait that continues to catch freshwater and saltwater fish. Website: rat-l-trap.com.
  • So you have a die-hard fisherman on your hands. Maybe many more than one, and this can fit the bill. How about a chartered fishing trip. Inshore or offshore? The Louisiana Charter Boat Association can help you find a guide. Website: lasaltwater.com.

Or ask a friend for a recommendation of a charter skipper.

  • And for the hunter, old friend Dave Moreland put his more than 30 years of studying and hunting deer in our state to our benefit when he authored “Louisiana Whitetails” several years ago.

Moreland, a wildlife biologist, was more than qualified to help hunters know more about deer. Get it for a hunter. It’s a must-read, and is available on Amazon.