By Marc Rogers
Bass Fishing Tackle on a Budget
When thinking about all the possible choices of bass fishing tackle, things can get over-whelming. The lures, rods and reels, boats and tackle storage system choices are plentiful. There are not any products that will do all things well and each choice is a compromise. It is not uncommon for an avid angler to carry thousands of dollars worth of tackle in his/her boat. However, on most outings much of this tackle is not used and fishing on a much smaller budget is still quite enjoyable.
During this discussion I will not consider a boat because many anglers do not have access to one. Fishing from the shore and wading is still an exciting way to catch fish and puts the angler much closer to the natural habitat. Boats for small water situation do not have to be expensive but the higher end bass-boats can easily carry a price tag of $50,000.00 if all the options are included.
Some of my more enjoyable outings have been fishing with a handful of tackle and one rod and reel. The rod and reel can be as simple as an inexpensive spin-casting outfit to the high-end bait-casting models. Simply put, rod and reel outfits are tools used to catching fish. There is not one that will do everything well. The best compromise is purchasing a medium action outfit that will handle lure weights from one-eight ounce to one-half ounce and line from eight to fourteen pound test. This style of outfit can be purchased for as little at $15.00 up to several hundred dollars. This article is about fishing on a budget but I advise you when making this purchase to buy as much “quality” as you can afford. You will get a longer lasting and better outfit.
Spin-casting equipment is the easiest to use but for one general-purpose outfit I recommend purchasing a spinning (open-face) reel matched with a similar rod. The rod is more important than the reel. Simply put, the reel is a line holder; while the rod is making the difference in feel, lure control, casting distance and accuracy. I love the feel and smooth action of an expensive casting reel but when it comes time to choose which to spend the most on, the rod always wins out.
A much harder choice is lure selection. Here I am going to concentrate on bass fishing but the general principal applies to all species. There are countless manufacturers of fishing lures and each has an abundance of color choices. Hard plastic and wood lures, soft plastic lures, spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and jigs are the basics.
Hard plastic and wood lures are usually in the categories of crankbaits and top-water lures. Soft plastic lures are most often in the form of worms, lizards, grubs, crawfish and shad imitators. Spinnerbaits and buzzbaits are made of wire, lead, blades and hook dressings while jigs are lead molded onto a hook with a dressing in skirt material or soft plastic lure.
Crankbaits have running depths from just below the surface to 20 feet. When choosing the styles of crankbaits for general purpose angling, purchase the basic colors from shallow to medium running models. Basic colors include shad, chartreuse (most often used for dingy water color) and crawfish patterns. An angler is far better off to get a few of the same styles of lures in basic colors than what I call “the one of everything” approach. Many times the colors are so similar the fish could not tell a difference and he/she will end up with a tackle box full of lures they never use.
Soft plastics come in a wide selection of lengths, colors and scent additives. Day in and day out it is hard to beat the plastic worm for catching bass. The worms come in a variety of lengths but six to eight inch lengths are the best all around choice. Color selection should also remain simple. A few shades of dark colors for stained and muddy water and a few shades of light colors for clear water. As odd as it may sound, darker lures are more easily seen in stained and muddy water.
Choose spinnerbaits and buzzbaits in one-quarter and three-eight ounce in three main colors; white, chartreuse and black. Top-water lures are generally best in shad imitating colors. Jigs in one-quarter and three-eight ounce in dark and light colors similar to plastic worms should be an anglers first choice.
The following list of general prices will show that for an angler wanting to fish just a few times each season, fishing does not have to be expensive. This does not consider live-bait, which is purchased as needed. Also, part of this list may already be in your tackle box.
Crankbaits ………(6 @ $5.00) $30.00
Top-Water ………(4 @ $5.00) $20.00
Spinnerbaits …….(6 @ $5.00) $30.00
Buzzbaits ………..(6 @ $4.00) $24.00
Plastic Worms …(6 @ $3.50) $21.00
Jigs ………………..(8 @ $3.00) $24.00
Premium Line ……………………$10.00