Albemarle Angler

It’s that time of year. In fact, it has been for a few weeks, since Black Friday traditionally kicks off the Christmas season. Christmas lists are being made, sent, requested, and checked off—if you’re lucky. Money is flowing and time is scarce—more so than any other time of the year—and as you search for those thoughtful, enjoyable gifts to surprise your sporting loved ones with, this Christmas, it’s tempting to scour Amazon for easy, cheap, one-stop shopping. But this holiday season, why not use the money you were going to spend anyway to support the local, small businesses that support hunters and anglers in Central Virginia throughout the year? Why not vote with your money and forge relationships with those that can help us enjoy the outdoors more effectively and successfully in the coming year?

In the spirit of giving, following are six opportunities to support small, local businesses, while providing that loved with the gift of quality outdoor gear, knowledge, and/or experience.

High Tech Outdoors & Archery

Brecht Sprouse, the owner of High Tech Outdoors & Archery in Keswick, Virginia, opened his doors in 2002 after working in the hunting and shooting industry locally for several years. As a small, locally owned shop, Sprouse deals only top-of-the-line gear that he personally believes in and has a deep knowledge of. He proudly believes in forging close relationships with his customers who have come to rely on him as a master bow smith and a trusted source of knowledge and guidance. .

If you need bowhunting gear or a tune-up, High Tech is a Bowtech and Diamond dealer, and can get you outfitted for peak performance. They also deal locally made fishing lures, quality fishing gear, and guns.

Matt Reilly Fly Fishing and Reilly Rod Crafters

Part of what I love about writing an outdoor column and guiding fishing trips is bringing the circle of local sportsmen and women closer and sharing the experiences I love. Late in 2017, I began guiding smallmouth bass float trips on the New River and wild trout wading trips on the beautiful mountain streams of southwest Virginia. These trips include all gear needed, lunch, and 8-10 hours on the water. For the Christmas season, I will have gift certificates available for those wishing to give the gift of a fishing experience, and all column readers who can reference this article will receive $50 off the float price of $400/day. For more information, contact me via

Reilly Rod Crafters is a fishing rod company based in Fluvanna County, Virginia, selling premium fly rods and spinning rods designed and crafted by the industry’s top professionals, including Chuck Kraft, a nationally renowned fly tyer and guide from Charlottesville, and the namesake of the Chuck Kraft Signature Series Fly Rod. Column readers wishing to earn a 20% off coupon and free shipping through December 24 should contact me via to obtain a coupon. For more information about products available, go to

The Albemarle Angler

For over 15 years, The Albemarle Angler has been a fixture of the Barracks Road shopping center for fly anglers. Carson Oldham has been the owner for 9 years, and under his tenure, the shop has flourished as a hub for anglers looking to get outfitted to fish near and far.

“We specialize in getting people outfitted with gear that’s right for them, and that they can grow into,” said Oldham.

The shop also runs a steady guiding program on area waters, like the Jackson, James, Shenandoah, and Rivanna Rivers; the brook trout streams of the Shenandoah National Park; other area trout streams; and a handful of private trout waters. Whether you want to target trout, smallmouth bass, musky, or gar, The Albemarle Angler can get you outfitted and on the water with a guide. The shop even runs international trips to dreamy saltwater destinations.

Gift cards are always available, and can be put towards anything the shop sells. And, typically, in January and February, customers can look for discounted rates on guide trips and private water fees.

Hatchmatcher Guide Service

L.E. Rhodes of Hatchmatcher Guide Service, based in Scottsville, Va, has been guiding smallmouth bass float trips on the middle James River for almost 20 years. L.E.’s extensive and intimate knowledge of the James River and its fish, along with his easy-going personality are sure to make for a great day on the water making lifelong memories!

Throughout the year, gift certificates good for half- and full-day float trips, custom-tied flies, and instruction from Hatchmatcher. For trip information, and to get in touch with L.E., visit

Consider these small, local business as you check off your Christmas lists this year, and never underestimate the value of an experience!

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