With the ever-present fear of supply chain shortages and rising inflation, all types of fishing have taken on a whole new life since the start of the pandemic. Because fish is a reliable source of food and has been since the dawn of mankind, it’s no surprise that even the savvy-shoppers want in on the action. Even if it’s not for food, the people who tell you that you need thousands of dollars worth of fishing gear to catch bass are lying to you. Bass fishing on a budget is something that can be done easily if you know what to look for.
While it is cool to have all of the latest and greatest equipment from ICAST or the latest fishing show salesman, you honestly can do just fine without it. I never had all of the expensive bass setups that many of the pros use and this was simply because I couldn’t afford it. That however doesn’t mean that I missed any fish. I have caught so many largemouths with inexpensive bass gear that I started taking a liking to it. With that, there are quite a few different strategies you can implement to save money and possibly, even make money.
The Basics Of Affordable Bass Fishing – The Rod And Reel
It should come as no surprise that the rod and reel you need to select are of paramount importance. Rods and reels are sold separately but to save money on buying both, you want to opt for a combo instead. When you start getting into budget-friendly combos for bass and other fish, you do have to be careful about what you pick because the manufacturers may have to cut corners to produce them. Affordability sometimes means cheaply made and fragile. To save the most money, you should get a single combo that does everything.
You want a spinning rod because spinning rods are easier to use and they can cast light lures very easily. In addition, they can also throw most lures as long as they are not absurdly heavy. Pick a rod and reel combination. That means you will be able to target panfish, bass, catfish, and almost anything else. Don’t get a bargain bin combo that is barely any money unless you know they are quality pieces. Opt for choosing a spinning rod that is made by a reputable brand that also produces much more expensive fishing tackle.
This will give you the highest chance that you are picking up some quality gear. As for the specs on the rod, go for a six or seven-foot medium or medium-light rod with fast action. Try making it pure fiberglass if you can. Fiberglass is the most sensitive rod out there which will allow you to detect those tiny bites but also provide enough backbone to reel in bigger fish. Most of the time, you can find more affordable combos will fishing line already on it and this is more than fine to use. If not, get the cheapest mono line at the store and spool up.
I don’t believe in what constitutes a better fishing line. I always use the cheap stuff because it will all work the same as long as you have your drag set correctly. To save money, purchase a cheap fishing line. If you break off, it’s not because the fishing line wasn’t strong enough.
It will be because your drag wasn’t set properly. Anything that could break your line if its cheap would also break a more expensive fishing line in the same pound test. Mono will provide you with that extra stretch and save you money by being cheaper and easier to use. If you need an affordable fishing rod for a beginner, click the post below.
Good Fishing Lures
Bass are opportunistic and will bite dang near anything. It is for this reason that you can save money by opting out of purchasing the more expensive name-brand equipment. At roughly seven to ten dollars a fishing lure, baits are not getting any cheaper. If you are really in a crunch for finances, avoid the name-brand baits at all costs. Over 90% of the time, generic or store brands of these lures work just as well.
Oftentimes, you can get them at a discount depending on what retailer you’re at. There are a few staples that you need in your box regardless of your budget. The first is a good crankbait. Crankbaits are reaction lures that irritate fishing to striking. Having one or a few on hand in different paint patterns can be the difference between success and failure. Most of the time, you have to do to fish them right is reel them in.
Next, you should have at least a couple of packs of soft plastic worms. They can be finesse worms or stick worms. Stick worms are great for when nothing else works and finesse worms are awesome when bass are aggressive. Next, always have a couple of spinnerbaits on hand. The rotating blade provides flash in the water that is productive almost anywhere you throw them.
Last, always have soft plastic minnow imitators and I say that loosely. You can use soft plastic swimbaits, drop shots, crappie jigs, or other baits that look like fish. The main thing to remember is that baitfish is a primary source of all species of black bass and not having any on hand would be a detriment to you as an angler. To save money, get what’s on sale.
Next, you should have some terminal tackle with you. While fishing can be as simple as tying on a plastic plug, casting, and reeling in a fish, this doesn’t always work. It is imperative that you have a decent selection of hooks, sinkers, and swivels. You need a selection of hooks to properly rig your soft plastic worms. If you break a hook too, having Replacements is essential to getting back on the water. Sinkers will get your bait down to the bottom faster and also allows you to fish rigs like the drop shot and Shaky Head. To save the most money, it’s generally best to get a box that is loaded with bass hooks already and just buy one of them to have it on you for later.
Again, you shouldn’t worry about the brand too much because it’s required by law that all modern fish hooks be sharp enough to penetrate a fish’s mouth when you set the hook. If they were not able to do that well, they would be defective and it would be illegal to produce them for sale. Every angler has their own preferences and opinions about why they prefer certain hooks over others but my experience has been that every single one I have ever used has remained sharp and stuck the fish I needed it to stick.
Tournament Fishing With Budget Fishing Gear
Since this post is about saving money, it’s also helpful to describe how low-budget fishing gear can make you money. Every extra dollar you make in addition to your regular income is money saved, money earned. You can also use these affordable options for tournament fishing. While you may not be the next Ish Monroe, it is not uncommon for people to win big bass tournaments using Zebco 33s and generic spinnerbaits.
While this does not apply if the tournament takes a fee to get in, you have nothing to lose by entering the local tournaments that do not require an entry fee. In addition, if you do win, you can use the money that you won from the tournament to upgrade your equipment to more expensive options. Much the same way that catfishermen catch huge flathead off of budget gear, absolutely nothing has changed in the bass fishing industry. The same rules apply. The only difference is that you’re using lures instead of live bait.
Conclusion – Your Gear Isn’t What Catches Bass
To sum it all up, how effective and versatile you are with your gear depends on you. Pretty much everybody can be as successful as they want using any gear that they want. It’s just about how much time you’re willing to put in. Not about how much money. If you could put a Zebco 33 in Kevin VanDam’s hand today, guaranteed he will still outfish you even if he lets you use his best rod and rig. All in all, gear is just one tool that a fisherman can utilize to catch fish and it’s no different to your success than predicting weather patterns or other things. try these money-saving tips out and please let me know how they work for you!
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