Every penny counts when it comes to funding your bass fishing passion. Use these six money saving tips to stretch those hard-earned dollars.
1. Look for red tags
Walk the aisles of your favorite tackle shop and look for the red tags, especially on soft baits and hard baits. They might not have the colors or sizes that you find most desirable, but many can be had for as little as 99 cents. That price makes having the best size or color less of a priority.
2. Comparison shop
There's an old adage that says everything's negotiable. If you see a product you like but at a price you don't, ask the manager if he or she will lower the price. If not, go to another shop, tell them where you just came from and that the other manager wouldn't play ball. Ask him or her if they'd like to play.
Often that's just enough to get the second manager to come down in price 10-15 percent, especially on non-sale items valued at $50 or more.
3. Go online
Some of the best deals to be had are with online retailers, places like www.tacklewarehouse.com or www.landbigfish.com. These are high volume shops which frequently end up with large lots of manufacturers' overruns or other slow moving merchandise. (You can also count on them for great deals on hot new products, as well.)
These online retailers are also great places to check prices in advance of a purchase at a brick and mortar store. Knowing how much a competitor charges for a particular item will help you plan your budget and successfully negotiate.
4. Be patient
If you're looking for a new reel, but it's not something you have to pull the trigger on immediately, don't. Many manufacturers will find themselves with excess inventory, which means even better deals after the first of the year.
5. Wait for spring sales
Most big box retailers — and some smaller independents as well — have huge spring sales where they offer discounts on just about everything in the store, even popular, new products. This is the time to stock up on lures, rods, reels, line and apparel. In many cases, the prices offered at spring sales are some of the best you'll see all year. Many anglers purchase the majority of what they'll need for the whole year during this period.
Every year after ICAST (the largest fishing tackle show in the nation), thousands of anglers go out and buy the best-looking new products. And well before these products ever get to the water, many of these same anglers decide they don't need or want them. Frequent visits to one or more of the message boards, such as www.bassfishinghomepage.com, can result in awesome bargains.
For example, it's not uncommon to see new-in-the-plastic $300 rods offered for $225 plus free shipping. Or, in some cases, large lots of lures offered for a fraction of what you'd buy them for individually.
Trades — maybe a reel for several swimbaits — are common on these sites. That's a great way to dispose of something you don't need and get something you do. And it doesn't cost you anything other than shipping.
Basically, looking for the best deals comes down to two simple steps: Look for deals in as many places as possible and don't be afraid to haggle.
Originally published December 2008