Larry Ellis, fishing columnist

With Christmas only three days away, a lot of folks are scratching their heads trying to come up with that special gift. If the recipient just happens to be a steelheader, look no further than your local sporting goods store.

With all the rain that this section of the coast has been experiencing this season, it's pretty much a no-brainer that the majority of anglers will be plunking Spin-N-Glos on the Rogue, Chetco and Smith Rivers.

Now, Yakima Bait Company, the business that makes these dynamic fish catching machines, manufactures them in 10 different sizes and over 140 colors. Obviously a person could go broke just buying one of each size in all 147 colors. But just for fun, let's do the math.

At about $2 a pop, 10 sizes in only one color would cost $20. Multiply that figure by 147 and a person would have to spend $2,940 just to have one of each color and size.

Fret not.

Over the years, I've whittled down the most popular sizes and colors that the fully-equipped plunker needs to carry. It's what I call The Plunker's Six-Pack Bonanza.

For most plunking situations, an angler only needs to carry three sizes in six colors to get the job done. In this case buying one of each color and size would only cost around $54.

So for those wanting to give the gift that keeps on giving, here are the six hottest-color Spin-N-Glos. You only need to carry them in size 2, 4 and 6 for practically every plunking situation.

Spin-N-Glos come with three wing types andndash; Mylar, white and black andndash; but either white or Mylar will do the trick.

I'll first give you the name that is listed in the Yakima Bait catalogue, the exact color you will want to specify to the retailers. I'll then give their most popular common names.

In today's photo, starting from left to right, we begin with the ever-popular Flame Chartreuse, also known as the barber pole, stop-and-go, and half-and-half. It's also known as the Umpqua Special and the Chetco Special andndash; you get the picture.

Almost all Chetco River steelhead are caught on this color, so if you wanted to give somebody only one color, buy 3 of each size and score some radical brownie points. Total cost andndash; $18.

The next color is called Sherbet by the manufacturer, but everyone knows this one as Tequila Sunrise. This is a great first-season steelhead color. Black wings really shine with this winged bobber.

Last week, while I was visiting the local plunking holes on the Chetco, one of the anglers turned toward me and started up a conversation. His rod was in full view and in my direct line of sight. My next sentence was "You're bit, you're bit, you're bit!"Sherbet with black wings andndash; hot, hot, hot!

The next color shown on the Spin-N-Glo tote is called Rocket Red Tiger Stripe, also known by the masses as, well, rocket red tiger stripe. That one's really great in super-colored water with 3-inch visibility.

These first three colors are the Chetco's best-plunking patterns, so if you wanted to give a distinctive Chetco River gift, get two of each size and color. The price - $36. This gift will get some really big smiles.

The next color down the line is the Gray Ghost, a famous early-morning color on the Rogue.

Fifth in the lineup is a color simply called Clown. It works on the Rogue, Chetco and Smith Rivers in water that has 10- to 14-inch visibility.

Last but not least is the color that Yakima Bait calls Pearl Red, but the locals call this one pearl pink, a super-great color in clear-water conditions.

Overall, the fishing has been very good for this early in the season. With January being peak season, it should just keep getting better.

Tight lines!