Face it – fighting the economy can be as frustrating as, well, petting a hungry bull shark.
So here are some “bang for your buck” tips on how to save money and still get results when you're out on the water.
- Purchase fishing line from bolt spools instead of from small packages. And buy in bulk. Many tackle shops carry Berkley Big Game, which has good visibility so anglers can see their lines go taut when a bite comes. The line tends to run $7 to $8 for a quarter-pound spool, which can fill four or five average-sized reels.
- Eagle Claw hooks. One of the cheaper hooks on the market, Eagle Claw has managed to develop a reputation of being relatively durable and reliable. For species such as Spanish mackerel and bluefish, whose sharp teeth cut off the most stubborn of leaders, try 202 Eagle Claw 4/0 longshank hooks. Buy them in boxes of 100. Again, bulk purchases pay off in the long run, especially if you often pound the water.
- Oh, and there's a little trick to preserving your hooks (and weights). Keep a smaller box with an assortment of hooks — around 10 with different types of hooks, weights and jigheads — in a handy spot on your center console. This way, the hooks are less likely to rust. On the other hand, if anglers are constantly reaching into a big box of hooks, dripping saltwater on the hooks each time, rusting is sure to occur. (And you wonder why that silly tarpon snapped the hook.) Keep the rest of the tackle in a dry Tupperware container in the bottom of the console.
- No need to purchase fancy leader material. Granted, seasoned anglers know fluorocarbon leaders, as opposed to monofilament, can make a cheater's difference in your catch. But some leader brands are outrageously priced. Anglers would be wise to not pay more than $20 for a 30-yard spool. Again, buy in bulk sizes of a quarter-pound spools of line.
- Done with your beer? Good. Check this out: you can put your spools in a beer koozie to prevent the spool from unraveling. And average beer koozies hold a quarter-pound spool. Although thick koozies tend to keep beer colder, those thin, neoprene covers work best for securing line. Good luck getting that priority straight.
- Get ahold of some Velcro straps to carry rods from boat to truck. Carry the rods in a bundle of about five so the rods aren't damaged by getting banged-up.
- Finally, for freshwater anglers, we have "poor man's fishing." Don't worry. You don't have to be poor. Or even a good fisher. But it's perhaps the cheapest way to get some fresh fish. Pick up some 10- to 12-foot extension poles (Kmart and Walmart have them). Try to get one with a fine tip. They tend to cost $6 to $20. If you are fishing in your own county of residence, using any kind of live bait (or dead bait — anything organically alive at some point, such as uncooked saltwater shrimp) you do not need a fishing license. Some call this the poor man's fishing law. And you can outfit the whole family. Get some light lines (4- to 8-pound test) and small hooks (No. 10 or No. 12) and pull in some tasty panfish or catfish. "It comes close to the most-used type of equipment in the southeast," said area freshwater fishing guide Doc Lee. "If you travel around the southeast to Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, you'll find extension pole used by a whole lot of people for a whole lot of fish."
If you plan on fishing in this weekend's beautiful weather, you can stock up before you cast a line at some of Sarasota's bait shops:
- , 1505 Ken Thompson Pkwy
- , 6018 S Tamiami Trail
- , 1249 Old Stickney Point Rd