Over the years, I've discovered a number of things we can all do to save money and still chase bass. Some of my tips require you to spend a little more money upfront, but they'll save you money in the long-run.
1. Take care of your tow vehicle.
I installed Flowmaster mufflers, a cold air intake and a Hypertech chip on my Chevrolet truck. Those modifications improved my gas mileage by 2 miles per gallon. Given the number of miles I drive, that's a huge savings.
Now that might sound like a lot of money and effort to you if you only drive a few miles to the local ramp. Still, you probably use your tow vehicle for other things. Figure your total miles driven and then tell me it doesn't matter. And don't kid yourself — gas isn't going to stay cheap forever.
If you can't do those things at least tune your motor and properly inflate your tires. That stuff matters. And drive properly and sensibly. Basically that translates into driving smooth and slowing down.
2. Clean and lubricate your reels.
I can't tell you how many non-boaters have a problem with this. Their reels screech, clang and bang. That not only makes fishing difficult but it also destroys their reels.
A quality reel, if properly maintained, will last most recreational anglers many years. Why destroy it in only a couple of years because you didn't bother to clean and grease it? That money — several hundred dollars in some cases — can be put to good use somewhere else, on or off the water.
3. Clean your spinnerbait blades.
In most cases it isn't necessary to replace your spinnerbait blades or buy a new lure just because the blades are tarnished, stained or dull. Scrub them with rubbing alcohol and they'll be good as new. For particularly stubborn areas try silver polish.
4. Buy high-quality lures and terminal tackle.
Oftentimes purchasing off-brand or second-class lures is a poor financial decision. It's true that you may not need the best of everything, but in the case of fishing lures you mostly get what you pay for.
Quality lures and terminal tackle — the kind of stuff that doesn't fly apart when you slam it into a concrete bridge piling — are cost effective. So are good hooks and tough finishes. Every lure you buy twice is a waste of money. All you're doing is replacing something you already own with new money ... money that could be used for other things.
Products from companies like Tru-Tungsten and Lucky Craft may be more expensive when you first purchase them, but they're less expensive over the long haul.