Fishing On A Budget. Hello all fishing lovers, Today’s post is “Fishing On A Budget”. i hope that this informative article is helpful for you, all fishing lovers.
Fishing On A Budget
Those that have read my posts on the Maggotdrowning.com forum will have worked out that I am, let’s say, cautious with my money. I’m not poor, far from it, but I don’t like wasting money. So I do tend to look for bargains. Today we probably have the cheapest tackle available ever. And quality even at the budget end is mainly good.
Fishing does not have to be as expensive as some people make it. You should never be intimidated into parting with cash just for the sake of a brand name, having the latest evolution or to save face amongst your pals. The fish cannot read the name on the rod, they don’t know its age either and if you take coin from your mates they will soon stop laughing.
The way I look at it is that if I win a match using a rod & reel that cost £30 (see later) and pick up £60 then I am £30 ahead already. Had the rod & reel cost £130 I would still be £70 down.
At the moment there are, I believe, some silly prices being asked for certain items of tackle. Poles costing thousands, boxes high hundreds and even thousands. The last box I bought cost £40, the last pole (9.5m margin) £50 with two topkits. In between that and the top end there is something to suit everyone’s budget. And that word budget is important.
You know what you can comfortably afford. If you can get what you want cheaper then great, but never be tempted or talked into spending more than you have allocated. On Maggotdrowners recently someone asked for a reel recommendation in the £60 price range. I advised spending £12 on a budget reel and going down the pub with the other £48. OK tongue in cheek but why spend £60 on a reel when a £12 or £25 one will do the job?
I accept the dearer one may last longer and run smoother. For a few years now I have been using Vigor reels. The first I bought cost £5 and lasted three years. It landed thousands of pounds in that time and paid for itself many times over.
These reels can be bought on Ebay for roughly £12 now including delivery (sadly the price just went up from £10). Let’s say you bought five for a total of £60 and each lasts three years. That’s 15 years fishing. Would the £60 reel still be in use after that long? One thing is certain that after 12 years you would be using a brand new reel while the more expensive one would be 12 years old and possibly showing signs of fatigue and wear. And that timescale assumes you would be fishing as frequently as I do currently. That is 2-3 times a week. Less frequent outings would see the reel last longer.
I fully understand why the top anglers use expensive gear. Forget sponsorship because there are very few who are fully sponsored and have to buy nothing. I’m sure though that those that are sponsored would still buy top quality gear. Reason is two fold. First they are probably fishing 4+ times a week. Thus they need gear that will stand up to that level of use. Second, at the top level there is probably a difference that would put you at a disadvantage were you not to spend the money. Just look at Formula 1 racing and see what a difference the budget makes.
But for the average angler like myself I think there is a lot more to be got right and perfected before the tackle makes a measurable difference. If you get to that level and want to step up into the ranks of the Raisons, Scotthornes and Shipps then you will need the best gear.
Having top quality branded tackle gives some anglers confidence. Great if you can afford it. Personally it doesn’t work for me but its horses for courses. Would a £1000 pole improve my fishing? I suspect not to the extent that would make me want to spend that sort of cash.
Lets look at some specific items where I have made savings and, I believe, not to the detriment to my fishing.
I have already mentioned reels. The Vigor reels I use in both the 40 and 60 sizes cost around £10-12 on Ebay. I admit they are probably not the smoothest but that has not stopped me catching plenty of fish on them. There are plenty of acceptable reels around for under £25.
I can’t claim to have any knowledge of current pole prices and relative quality. I’m still using a MAP M16 that must be around ten years old. I have managed to source a few spares and so shouldn’t need to replace it for a few more years. It does the job so why replace it? But I am willing to bet that even a “cheaper” pole from a noted brand name will be better than those available at higher or similar prices ten to fifteen years ago.
I have recently bought a Maver Abyss X margin pole. Actually I was that impressed that I bought a second so I had it for spares and lending out. The topkits from my old margin pole fit perfectly so that’s a bonus. But I got four new topkits with the two poles. I have just picked up a third for a mate who wants to get some gear together for £47.99 from Dragon Carp Direct (no extra topkit though DCD sell universals for £10). I have to ask the question therefore why, for a margin pole you would want to pay more.
Rollers. A couple of years ago I got a double roller from Dragon Carp Direct. Great piece of kit and cost £20. When you see branded rollers for as much as £100 I have to ask why.
I also got an Avanti bucket set (bucket, lid, bowl, riddle, hoop) for around £20. The set is exactly the same as the Preston one for double the price. Only difference is the brand name on the side.
Keepnets from Keepnets Direct. £40 for two carp nets. Going strong after two years.
Carp feeder rod by Grandeslam, £38 including P&P.
Floats. A few years ago I found an online tackle shop called Buygoodtackle. I fell in love with the price of the floats, mostly under £1 each with minimal or zero postage. The floats turned out to be great value and have caught me loads. Unfortunately Bryan who runs it is retiring so I will have to source a new supplier. I have been looking at Syntra floats. I have found a shop online that sells most of the patterns for 76p. Obviously plus postage. But buy in bulk and you should save money. I haven’t used these floats yet but I have bought some for the mate who wants to get some gear together. I may try them before handing the rigs over. They look OK.
Universal topkits. Again Dragon Carp Direct, £9.99 each (£10 elasticated). I have a few for my margin pole, one used as a cupping kit on my MAP pole. Landed plenty of fish, a bit heavy but on a margin pole not an issue. I suspect the match kits would still cope with heavy elastics and possibly be lighter. They are also a generous 22mm bore at the butt end so would fist most poles.
Tackle shows can be a great place to source new, affordable gear. You may be buying end of lines and old model stock. But if it caught fish last year then it will do so now. Be prepared to haggle. At one show I spotted a Middy carp feeder rod and a Vigor reel on one stand. The two separately would have been £40, I asked if they would take £30 for the two and got a yes. That combination caught me plenty and paid for itself many times over. But don’t do what I read one lad did once and ask a stallholder if he did a deal on spools of line marked £1.50 each. The stallholder said yes – £5 for three, the lad bought them.
Another way I save money will have the purists up in arms. I recycle rig line into hooklengths and margin rigs.
When I strip down an old rig I save the line on a spare spool and then use that as either hooklengths or margin rigs. If you have read my blog on my simple approach to pole fishing you will know that I use just two line strengths for pole rigs, 0.17 and 0.13. Once I have cut down a seven foot 0.17 rig I re-make it with fresh line and save the old line for making margin rigs (4 & 2 ft). If too short for that then it goes on a different spool for 0.17 hooklengths. Same for my Winter rig line, 0.13, it too will become hooklengths.
I also rarely throw away a hook unless it is damaged. I really can’t see what can blunt a hook and if it penetrates my thumb then it should penetrate a fish’s mouth. So all hooks are saved and re-used.
I will also repair damaged floats. I always give them a fresh coat of nail varnish when re-making rigs. If a float has to be binned then I will save bits for future repairs. One precaution I take to help prolong the life of a float is to fit spring eyes to those that will be used for carp in Summer. It is these where the eye is likely to be ripped out at times. So a few pennies spent on some springs and superglue (£ shop) will save money in the long run.
My blog on Bits & Bobs details some of the home-made stuff I use. All cheap to make or free.
Finally, bait. I am lucky enough to have my own bait fridge and freezer. Most left over baits are frozen and perfectly good for use when defrosted. I also prepare my expanders in batches of three or four lots and freeze these. Only a small thing but as I use gelatine and the solution needs microwaving to make it liquid I only have to run the microwave once in order to prepare enough pellets for three to six outings.
On the subject of expanders. Unless you are planning to feed them then don’t do too many for a day. Fifty will be plenty and make a bag last ages. As I take four and six mils I do around fifty of each. In Winter I add two mils. Even then I find that after a weekend match I have plenty left over for a midweek pleasure session. And they will survive freezing. My gelatine solution is also kept in the freezer. I buy the gelatine in bulk on Ebay, cheaper in the long run than the small sachets in the supermarket.
Liquidised bread and prepared hookbait slices are also frozen. I will prepare a whole loaf of hookbait slices at the start of the Winter and freeze them in individual bags.
Buying bait like pellets in bulk can save a mint over buying branded pellets at the tackle shop. Most towns will have an animal feed store that stocks pellets in 20/25kg sacks. At around £33 per 25kg this works out to just over £1 a kilo. I store mine in dustbins. Same with brown crumb in bulk bags.
My home made groundbait, recipe in the Bits & Bobs blog, costs around £1 a kilo. Based on Tesco fish flavour dry catfood. It works.
I like to think my results are OK for an avarage club angler so my Fagin like approach doesn’t seem to harm my fishing too much. It certainly doesn’t harm my wallet and that pleases The Boss.
Some useful websites
Article source: neilofthenene.blogspot.com