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Captain’s Log: Shop Local for Last-Minute Gifts for Outdoor Enthusiasts

Holiday shopping for outdoor enthusiasts, especially people who fish, shoot and hunt, can be a challenge. Other sports are nearly as challenging. And you are running out of time.

The best advice I can give is to go to a local mom-and-pop shop where you can find sales people who are actually knowledgeable, helpful and interested in your business.

I give the lowest scores to online shopping for two reasons. One, you are pretty much just looking at a catalog. Second, all your money leaves your community.

When you shop locally at a mom-and-pop shop, your money stays in your community. That distinction is vitally important for our economy. When you shop at big chain stores at the mall, a little of your money stays in the community because they employ (and generally under pay) locals. Most of your money, however, goes to headquarters elsewhere.

Local shops are the lifeblood of our community economy. Spread your holiday shopping cheer in your own community.

Examples of shopping for outdoor folks are entertaining and heartwarming. At my shop, Hook, Line & Sinker fishing center at 4010 Calle Real in Santa Barbara, this happens regularly in December and we are able to give loads of help by asking simple questions.

Even if the shopper is only able to provide a little bit of information, we use our own knowledge to fit together the puzzle and come up with just the right gift item.

stocking
Stocking stuffers for fisherfolk are on display on the front counter at Hook, Line & Sinker in Santa Barbara. (Capt. David Bacon / Noozhawk photo)

Sometimes the question can be as simple as, “When he (or she) brings fish home or gives it away, have you heard the name of the fish, like red snapper, or tuna, or trout?” Any shred of information might give us all of what we need to know to make a solid suggestion.

A fishing rod and reel make a deeply-appreciated gift. Or maybe some tackle items. On the front counter is a display with perfect stocking stuffers for fisherfolk. Gift certificates are much appreciated because the recipient can pick out his or her own stuff and have a blast doing it!

Next door to the bait & tackle shop is Guns of Santa Barbara and Dodge City. You can buy shooting supplies and ammo at Dodge City. These are always welcomed gifts. If you don’t know what caliber the person you are shopping for needs, buy a gift card and let them have the fun of going into a shop and picking out what they need. At Guns of Santa Barbara, you can’t buy a gun and give it as a gift, but you can buy a gift certificate and, again, allow your gift recipient to have a blast shopping right after the holidays.

Nothing would make a sporting shooter or a hunter happier than getting a gift certificate they can buy a gun with. Safety rules apply here, so make sure your gun shop gift recipient has no history of felonies, violence, abuse or mental illness.

Whether the people you buy for ski, backpack, kayak, boat, play tennis, run, shoot, hunt or fish, you can find the best gift at a local shop where you can get great help.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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