Before qualifying for the Bassmaster Elite Series, I worked and fished local and regional tournaments. During those years I learned how to save money and still spend time on the water. Here are four money saving ideas I would like to share with you:
1. Fish trolling motor only lakes.
If you want to spend time on the water and catch lots of bass without breaking the family budget, give your local trolling-motor-only lake a shot. Most of them are near metropolitan areas and, with only a few exceptions, suffer less pressure than larger, better-known venues.
Look at it this way; you can fish all day on one of these lakes for the cost of driving to the lake and recharging your batteries. That's not bad when you consider that you get a full day of fishing out of the deal.
It's likely to be a good day of fishing, too. Most trolling-motor-only lakes are full of bass. They have little pressure and what they do have isn't likely to be high quality. I don't mean that in a negative way. It's just that many of the anglers who fish these smaller lakes aren't very good. That means they're wide open for you.
Catching fish has another advantage. It's a wonderful learning opportunity. You can't learn a new technique or improve your proficiency with an old one unless you're catching bass. That's the reality of our sport. You can catch bass in most of these lakes.
2. Don't buy dozens of hard baits in different colors.
Buying several dozen crankbaits so you have two or three in every color scheme is a waste of money. You don't need all those colors to catch bass. Frankly, most colors catch more anglers than bass.
The better approach — when and if you need a particular color — is to repaint your lures by hand. It's easy to do. Some guys use fingernail polish. It's cheap and comes in every color you can imagine and some you can't. I prefer to use permanent markers. Again, they're cheap and come in a wide range of colors. Either method is easy to apply and works well under most circumstances.
3. Don't buy dozens of colors of soft plastic baits.
Again, most of the hot colors you hear about are unnecessary. Like their hard bait cousins, they catch more anglers than bass.
But if you think you need scores of colors, make them when you need them with any of the commercial dyes that are available. Some of them are a bit pricy, but they're still much less expensive than buying 20 bags of worms, the majority of which you'll never open.
If you're really serious about color, Spike-it has a collection of great painting and color changing products. They offer nearly every hue imaginable and make products that are suitable for every type of bait — metal, wood or plastic. Give them a close look if you want to go first class and still save money.
4. Use backing on your reel.
I know ... you've heard this a dozen times before. Well, that's because it works. It lets you fish with the best lines at minimum expense. And don't add more than 50 yards of new line to your backing. That's plenty. If you're catching bass that pull more than that off your reel please give me a call. We need to talk.