Author Topic: Freshwater Bass Fishing? Into It? Frugal Tips?  (Read 1129 times)

cool7hand

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Freshwater Bass Fishing? Into It? Frugal Tips?
« on: January 11, 2021, 04:12:19 AM »
There was a similar thread about 2 years ago, but when I tried to post, the forum suggested starting a new thread.

I'm curious if any active members are into freshwater bass fishing?

If so, what do you do, if anything, to keep it frugal?

Do any others consider this their one non-frugal pastime like the wife and me, who included always owning a tow vehicle, bassboat, and quality gear for two in perpetuity as part of our pre-FIRE calculations?

poetdereves

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Re: Freshwater Bass Fishing? Into It? Frugal Tips?
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2021, 09:13:43 AM »
I live in the South and bass fish every year. I don't have a boat, but I end up spending most of my time walking small ponds near where I live. I bought a two pack rod/reel combo for $25 from Academy sports, a couple packs of hooks, a couple different bass lures, and a couple bags of plastic worms three years ago for less than $40 total and it is all I ever needed. I have caught at least a dozen largemouth over 5 lbs, a couple over 8 lbs, and hundreds in the 2-3 lb range with no issues and no new gear. The biggest thing is getting past the idea that better gear will make you a better fisherman (or fisherwoman). I go out with friends all the time who have thousands of dollars of every type of doodad you can imagine for fishing and they aren't having any more fun or catching any bigger fish than me.

jeromedawg

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Re: Freshwater Bass Fishing? Into It? Frugal Tips?
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2021, 09:35:27 AM »
Not into LMB fishing currently - I'd probably receive multiple face punches for the amount of gear I have (I'm a bit of a gear junkie/nerd is all I'll say - I like comparing/contrasting different reels and rods).
Fishing overall is good for mental health and you are able to provide food on the table if you so choose to (although maybe not so much for LMB lol). That said, yes, I believe there are certainly more ways you can make it more frugal. At the same time, you commonly get what you pay for. Better gear A) generally lasts longer and B) retains its value (though this is *not* an investment if you buy quality gear and resell later you can recoup a majority of your cost IMHO) and C) affords an overall better fishing experience. Most liken quality gear to the difference between driving a Mercedes S-Class to a Toyota Corolla...ultimately you accomplish the same thing but certain things just work and feel better with nicer reels/rods. That said, "quality" is also somewhat subjective. I have a $100 Shimano Nasci that is probably the smoothest spinning reel I've operated so far. I know that the Stradic CI4+ (don't have this) is just as if not smoother but is closer to $200 retail. I also have a Daiwa Fuego that was $70, and a couple cheaper reels in the $30-40 range (Kastking Sharky III and Mitchell 308x). There's a definite difference in how all these reels feel when operating them. So at that point it becomes a preference thing. But comparing the Nasci to another similarly priced reel that I have, the Penn Battle II, I lean towards the Nasci because it has slightly better sealing (this is important for saltwater use especially) and just feels much better retrieving (the ramp-up on the drag is a little tricky though). I've been using both reels for freshwater/trout fishing only and both are great but at the same price point the Nasci takes it home in my book. Others may agree or disagree. One of my fishing buddies is a *diehard* Kastking fan - I think some of their stuff is decent but some of it sucks. He swears by every single piece of gear he has purchased from them. So much so that he was defiant towards buying Shimano or Daiwa for a long time... then he caved in and bought a Daiwa Lexa and loves it. And recently picked up a Shimano Sienna which he also loves (I really won't be suprised, if over time, I see him with more Shimano and Daiwa gear). Until then he stubbornly insists on buying the cheapest gear possible (this makes sense because he was into supply chain/purchasing for a while... and he's the guy who loves going to swap meets and garage sales and haggling folks on top of it - I joke with myself that this is the guy on CL who offers you 10% of your asking price and who I'd *never* want to sell anything to lol). That said, the guy is a fish-catching machine. So the tools really aren't that important - you just want to make sure that whatever you buy doesn't suck and will fall apart on you after a couple uses (check reviews, inspect or test closely yourself before purchasing if you can, etc)

Anyway, for a starter pair I'd recommend something like an Ugly Stik GX2/Shimano Sienna combo - at the most this combo should cost someone $60-70 but if you shop around and or buy use you can probably find it for $40-50 and even less! FB Marketplace, Craigslist, Ebay and Amazon Warehouse are all good places to check for potential deals that can be had. If you want to go even cheaper, you can wait it out for the Dicks deals that come around for the Daiwa Samurai combos - normally a combo is $30 but IIRC they'll sometimes have deals where you can get two combos for $30 or less. These will get you a very basic but decent combo for a budget starter. Tackle can be relatively cheap too - often you can find what you need at Walmart.

I know you asked specifically about freshwater, but that does play a factor in the type of gear you get. I'm in SoCal so historically I've fished the surf and harbors more than I do freshwater - it pays to get a reel that is *sealed* or at least partially sealed in addition to rinsing your gear down after every session. Saltwater and sand are nasty things that you don't want intruding into any part of your reel. Lately, I've been into trout fishing because this is the time of year for it and where I moved there's a lake (that they've been stocking every week) less than a 5 minute drive away, so I'm a bit spoiled. For a majority of freshwater fishing (bass and trout) you definitely can get away with cheaper gear.

Regarding the tow vehicle and boat, typically, I see these as more overhead (so yes, not really frugal) but I guess it depends on the size of the boat. My friend recently bought a 22' boat and pays recurring maintenance and slip fees on it. We've gone out a number of times and it's fun but I don't know that I'd personally want to own one, even if it's smaller. I realize bass boats are smaller and require less overhead. But there are options with even less overhead such as kayaks and float tubes (which you can attach motors to). I actually have a float tube that I purchased with the intent of float tubing the harbor to fish for spotted/bay bass. No tow vehicle or trailers required for yaks or tubes and much less overhead than most if not all boats. Your range is limited but I guess it depends on where you're fishing too.
Overall like poetdereves, if there are accessible small ponds, city park lakes, or lakes with various shore access locations, I think I'd prefer just to go that route (good exercise too) for a more frugal means of fishing.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2021, 09:58:03 AM by jeromedawg »

FINate

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Re: Freshwater Bass Fishing? Into It? Frugal Tips?
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2021, 10:49:17 AM »
I grew up bass fishing. I fish for trout more these days, but occasionally go for largemouth or smallmouth.

My number one tip: Do not buy a bass boat! Super expensive and unnecessary. Just because the pros go ripping around lakes in high performance boats doesn't mean you need to. My very best bass fishing days were in a small aluminum jon boat on little ponds. Jon boats are cheap and can be towed with pretty much any vehicle. But you need a place to store them. Another option is a quality inflatable boat. Last year I picked up a Sea Eagle Fold Cat which I'm very happy with. It folds down small enough to fit in a trunk, no trailer needed and stores easily in a corner of my garage. Takes about 15 minutes to inflate and setup. Very stable on the water and easy to maneuver. I may add an electric motor at some point for covering longer distances, but for now rowing works just find on smaller bodies of water. Or go for a float tube. Or, just find ponds that you can fish from the bank. You don't need to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a boat (plus more for a tow vehicle and storage) to have a great time bass fishing.

The rest of the gear should be relatively inexpensive. I would prioritize spending a bit more on a quality rod+reel. Then get a small tackle box with some jigs, Senkos, necessary hooks/weights, and a small selection of spinners, crank-baits, and topwater lures. Like all things, you can go nuts buying expensive stuff, but this won't make you better at bass fishing because you'll very quickly hit the point of diminishing returns with the gear. Instead, focus on the actual fishing and exploring and learning about different locations. Practice your casting so that you can accurately skip a Senko/jig way up underneath overhanging vegetation to where the bass are hanging out. And learn the rhythms of your lakes and know where to find the fish in different conditions/times of year, and what and when they are biting. 

Fishindude

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Re: Freshwater Bass Fishing? Into It? Frugal Tips?
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2021, 12:01:19 PM »
I fish a lot but do not have much interest in bass.  I pursue crappie, bluegill, red ear, walleye, catfish, lake trout, etc.   
Fishing is a sport that can be enjoyed at any budget level.   You can stand on the bank with a cheap Zebco rod, dig your own worms, wade a bit and catch plenty of fish.   Or, you can go hog wild with a fancy truck and boat, all the latest electronics and gadgetry, and go all over the country pursuing fish.   So long as you are living within you means, who cares what it costs?

Now .... If I was wanting to catch bass all the time and keep the budget in check, I'd probably get a small jon boat and trailer with trolling motor and just fish small bodies of water where the high powered bass boats can't go or can't launch.   There are lots of huge bass in small bodies of water and I find bass just about the easiest species of all to catch.   Although it's frowned upon by the bass community, live bait will outproduce artificial day in / day out.

Not too far from where I live there are hundreds of small abandoned coal strip mine pits from 100 years ago and earlier that are fantastic fishing for bass and panfish.  No outboards are allowed, many of the access launces are difficult for a boat of any size, etc. so they are tailor made for a guy with lightweight equipment on a budget.

BoonDogle

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Re: Freshwater Bass Fishing? Into It? Frugal Tips?
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2021, 12:17:38 PM »
Like most hobbies, it can be enjoyed at a very modest price or you can spend a fortune.  I love to fish but I don't feel like I have to spend much to enjoy it.  I have a 10' Pelican bass boat that I bought used, load it into the bed of my truck and head for a fishing lease that I pay a small annual fee to fish.  It works fine on small area lakes and other ponds as well.  I'd recommend keeping an eye out for used equipment and lures as there are deals to be had every year.  Also recommend starting out small.  Later on you can decide if you "need" that big bass boat and truck to pull it.

jeromedawg

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Re: Freshwater Bass Fishing? Into It? Frugal Tips?
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2021, 12:24:33 PM »
Ah yes! I totally forgot about inflatable boats (and kayaks, like the Intex K2) - those are definitely another way to do it and particularly if you want to take another person out. I've been in a couple inflatable boats and was slightly uncomfortable on them. Float tubes are much easier to control with the caveat that you'll get tired of kicking eventually. In a small pond this isn't a big deal but in a large lake or river especially with any current and with lots of ground to cover a kayak or inflatable boat is going to allow you to cover more distance. Eventually, I'd like to get some kind of pedal drive kayak. The problem with kayaks and any smaller non-inflatable boat is, as FINate pointed out, you need a place to store them. I'm currently in a 2/1 apartment on the second floor with no garage so a kayak isn't going to work lol. Even at the last place I was at, it would have been a pain keeping a kayak in there (definitely doable but I didn't want to hassle with it). Another interesting thing I've seen, but definitely not as popular, is fishing off an inflatable SUP... although one time I was float tubing and heading back in and passed a guy on a SUP who had just brought a halibut in but the thing was thrashing around so much that it managed to hook the guy's toe with the jerkbait he caught it with :O The guy had to pull over to the other side/bank and have his friend try to remove the hook from his toe. He was in much pain and agony. I guess when you go out on a SUP it's tempting to go barefoot - I would definitely not recommend this while fishing!!!

BTW: a majority of the gear I've purchased I have purchased with some kind of discount or coupon. For fishing gear I refuse to pay MSRP where at all possible. If I can pay for it with a discount, the bigger the discount means the closer to "fishing for free" when I go to resell later. In a number of cases I've purchased gear at good discounts, used it, and resold for more than what I paid for it or broke even. Flipping/reselling fishing gear is a semi side-hustle for me.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2021, 12:34:17 PM by jeromedawg »

FINate

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Re: Freshwater Bass Fishing? Into It? Frugal Tips?
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2021, 12:46:18 PM »
as FINate pointed out, you need a place to store them. I'm currently in a 2/1 apartment on the second floor with no garage so a kayak isn't going to work lol. Even at the last place I was at, it would have been a pain keeping a kayak in there (definitely doable but I didn't want to hassle with it). Another interesting thing I've seen, but definitely not as popular, is fishing off an inflatable SUP... although one time I was float tubing and heading back in and passed a guy on a SUP who had just brought a halibut in but the thing was thrashing around so much that it managed to hook the guy's toe with the jerkbait he caught it with :O The guy had to pull over to the other side/bank and have his friend try to remove the hook from his toe. He was in much pain and agony. I guess when you go out on a SUP it's tempting to go barefoot - I would definitely not recommend this while fishing!!!

You should check out SeaEagle's inflatable SUP designed for fishing.

Also, the small inflatable single person pontoon boats that are more stable than SUP and kayaks.

jeromedawg

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Re: Freshwater Bass Fishing? Into It? Frugal Tips?
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2021, 12:57:14 PM »
as FINate pointed out, you need a place to store them. I'm currently in a 2/1 apartment on the second floor with no garage so a kayak isn't going to work lol. Even at the last place I was at, it would have been a pain keeping a kayak in there (definitely doable but I didn't want to hassle with it). Another interesting thing I've seen, but definitely not as popular, is fishing off an inflatable SUP... although one time I was float tubing and heading back in and passed a guy on a SUP who had just brought a halibut in but the thing was thrashing around so much that it managed to hook the guy's toe with the jerkbait he caught it with :O The guy had to pull over to the other side/bank and have his friend try to remove the hook from his toe. He was in much pain and agony. I guess when you go out on a SUP it's tempting to go barefoot - I would definitely not recommend this while fishing!!!

You should check out SeaEagle's inflatable SUP designed for fishing.

Also, the small inflatable single person pontoon boats that are more stable than SUP and kayaks.

Nice! The only thing about those is that you have all these additional parts that require mounting like the seat, motor mount, frame, etc. This is annoying if you don't have a large enough car to transport the assembled craft (so a van or truck is still 'nice' in this case). None of my cars are setup to mount or tow so it's not viable. I suppose I could put a yak on top (and maybe the SUP) but I just don't have the space to store it.
My last float tube I had built a multi rod holder rack system for (out of ABS) and even had a fish finder setup with that but it just felt cumbersome when it came to setup and teardown. For me I just want to spend 5-10mins inflating my tube and then get on the water and start kicking immediately rather than fiddling with strapping and connecting additional things onto it. This is the tube I picked up - https://www.sevenbassdesign.com/en/float-tubes/195-ifinity-3556178021509.html. It actually looks a little better than pictured as they changed up the design a bit. And I got it for a bit less than that. I had an Outcast Fat Cat prior to this but didn't like the foam seats - it took up a lot of space even deflated/packed up and the clean-up was annoying (the canvas material took forever to dry). With the SevenBass you can literally just wipe it down with a microfiber towel and deflate it and be done. It packs down super compact and is lightweight. I've found that on a float tube I prefer not to lug a ton of stuff with me - it can be a pretty efficient and minimalist way to go about getting on the water. The trade-off of course is that it's relatively niche and you're limited with what kind of fishing you're doing and how far you're going (e.g. I would never take this thing outside of the harbor nor would I take it down a fast flowing river or large body of water at least without oars) - if you get caught in a current or are out there on a windy day you could get blown around for miles.

I was looking at the Packfish for a little bit but decided not to based on the mixed reviews - https://www.seaeagle.com/FramelessFishingBoats/PF7
The thing I don't like about oar-powered craft is that it requires you to constantly have your hands on the oars to control where you're going. In my tube I just use my legs to control all that while being able to fish. It's the best way to maximize on actively fishing. I guess with everything else that's what trolling is for :)
« Last Edit: January 12, 2021, 01:07:14 PM by jeromedawg »

FINate

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Re: Freshwater Bass Fishing? Into It? Frugal Tips?
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2021, 05:39:18 PM »
Nice! The only thing about those is that you have all these additional parts that require mounting like the seat, motor mount, frame, etc. This is annoying if you don't have a large enough car to transport the assembled craft (so a van or truck is still 'nice' in this case). None of my cars are setup to mount or tow so it's not viable. I suppose I could put a yak on top (and maybe the SUP) but I just don't have the space to store it.
My last float tube I had built a multi rod holder rack system for (out of ABS) and even had a fish finder setup with that but it just felt cumbersome when it came to setup and teardown. For me I just want to spend 5-10mins inflating my tube and then get on the water and start kicking immediately rather than fiddling with strapping and connecting additional things onto it. This is the tube I picked up - https://www.sevenbassdesign.com/en/float-tubes/195-ifinity-3556178021509.html. It actually looks a little better than pictured as they changed up the design a bit. And I got it for a bit less than that. I had an Outcast Fat Cat prior to this but didn't like the foam seats - it took up a lot of space even deflated/packed up and the clean-up was annoying (the canvas material took forever to dry). With the SevenBass you can literally just wipe it down with a microfiber towel and deflate it and be done. It packs down super compact and is lightweight. I've found that on a float tube I prefer not to lug a ton of stuff with me - it can be a pretty efficient and minimalist way to go about getting on the water. The trade-off of course is that it's relatively niche and you're limited with what kind of fishing you're doing and how far you're going (e.g. I would never take this thing outside of the harbor nor would I take it down a fast flowing river or large body of water at least without oars) - if you get caught in a current or are out there on a windy day you could get blown around for miles.

I was looking at the Packfish for a little bit but decided not to based on the mixed reviews - https://www.seaeagle.com/FramelessFishingBoats/PF7
The thing I don't like about oar-powered craft is that it requires you to constantly have your hands on the oars to control where you're going. In my tube I just use my legs to control all that while being able to fish. It's the best way to maximize on actively fishing. I guess with everything else that's what trolling is for :)

Nice tube. Agree, having to assemble a frame and attach a bunch of stuff is annoying. No frame for the FoldCat, just unfolds then becomes very rigid when inflated. Though the seats and oars do need to be attached.  If I wasn't wanting to take my dad or one of the kids along then I'd probably go for the simple float tube because it's so easy.

jeromedawg

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Re: Freshwater Bass Fishing? Into It? Frugal Tips?
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2021, 07:47:52 PM »
Nice! The only thing about those is that you have all these additional parts that require mounting like the seat, motor mount, frame, etc. This is annoying if you don't have a large enough car to transport the assembled craft (so a van or truck is still 'nice' in this case). None of my cars are setup to mount or tow so it's not viable. I suppose I could put a yak on top (and maybe the SUP) but I just don't have the space to store it.
My last float tube I had built a multi rod holder rack system for (out of ABS) and even had a fish finder setup with that but it just felt cumbersome when it came to setup and teardown. For me I just want to spend 5-10mins inflating my tube and then get on the water and start kicking immediately rather than fiddling with strapping and connecting additional things onto it. This is the tube I picked up - https://www.sevenbassdesign.com/en/float-tubes/195-ifinity-3556178021509.html. It actually looks a little better than pictured as they changed up the design a bit. And I got it for a bit less than that. I had an Outcast Fat Cat prior to this but didn't like the foam seats - it took up a lot of space even deflated/packed up and the clean-up was annoying (the canvas material took forever to dry). With the SevenBass you can literally just wipe it down with a microfiber towel and deflate it and be done. It packs down super compact and is lightweight. I've found that on a float tube I prefer not to lug a ton of stuff with me - it can be a pretty efficient and minimalist way to go about getting on the water. The trade-off of course is that it's relatively niche and you're limited with what kind of fishing you're doing and how far you're going (e.g. I would never take this thing outside of the harbor nor would I take it down a fast flowing river or large body of water at least without oars) - if you get caught in a current or are out there on a windy day you could get blown around for miles.

I was looking at the Packfish for a little bit but decided not to based on the mixed reviews - https://www.seaeagle.com/FramelessFishingBoats/PF7
The thing I don't like about oar-powered craft is that it requires you to constantly have your hands on the oars to control where you're going. In my tube I just use my legs to control all that while being able to fish. It's the best way to maximize on actively fishing. I guess with everything else that's what trolling is for :)

Nice tube. Agree, having to assemble a frame and attach a bunch of stuff is annoying. No frame for the FoldCat, just unfolds then becomes very rigid when inflated. Though the seats and oars do need to be attached.  If I wasn't wanting to take my dad or one of the kids along then I'd probably go for the simple float tube because it's so easy.

Sounds like a cool raft. When my son is old enough (and perhaps my daughter too), I'd love to have additional tubes to take them out in... well, assuming we are still here in CA or in a location where there exist bodies of water suitable for float tubing. But yea, I love how I can wear the thing like a backpack and walk to wherever I want to launch. Having oars and or a motor really enhances the experience too.

Speaking of motors, there are a number of these fin mount motors that are appearing but they are pretty pricey: https://www.currentdrives.com/products/electrafin?

These seem to make for an excellent solution for paddleboard and float tube in terms of having a low-profile motor - if they weren't so darned expensive, I'd be looking to get one installed. These would solve most of the problem of having to kick through strong currents, covering more water as well as maintaining consistent and faster trolling speeds
« Last Edit: January 12, 2021, 07:53:46 PM by jeromedawg »

cool7hand

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Re: Freshwater Bass Fishing? Into It? Frugal Tips?
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2021, 04:47:19 AM »
I guess I should come clean.

My wife and I own a relatively new bassboat and a relatively new pickup truck to pull it. We also own a lot of high quality Shimano, G. Loomis, and St. Croix gear and tackle. We don't tournament fish, but we both love being on the water. More than anything else active that we do together. We fished lakes from North Carolina to Ontario over the last two years, and we would've fished more if not for Covid. And we do love speeding from spot to spot when we've locked onto a working pattern.

And gear makes a difference. Sometimes a huge difference. My wife got on a spinnnerbait bite one day with a pretty erratic retrieve. I was using what I thought was exactly the same setup and lure, working everything exactly the same, and couldn't catch fish. It wasn't until we realized that I was using the same rod but my model was 5 inches shorter that we understood that the length resulted in a different action that the fish didn't want. And I could tell 100 stories like this. So we believe in both quality and variety of gear.

Our FIRE number included sufficient assets to allow us to continue this passion as long as we're physically able. We hope that fishing keeps us as young as it has kept Roland Martin, Jimmy Houston, Rick Clunn, and others. But the key is that there is nothing else that we'd rather do.

The strange thing is that I feel like I shouldn't be honest about this. Some people in this community are so dogmatic that we feel our style of FIRE will draw a throat punch. I sure hope we're wrong.

Fishindude

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Re: Freshwater Bass Fishing? Into It? Frugal Tips?
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2021, 07:14:30 AM »
I guess I should come clean.

My wife and I own a relatively new bassboat and a relatively new pickup truck to pull it. We also own a lot of high quality Shimano, G. Loomis, and St. Croix gear and tackle. We don't tournament fish, but we both love being on the water. More than anything else active that we do together. We fished lakes from North Carolina to Ontario over the last two years, and we would've fished more if not for Covid. And we do love speeding from spot to spot when we've locked onto a working pattern.

And gear makes a difference. Sometimes a huge difference. My wife got on a spinnnerbait bite one day with a pretty erratic retrieve. I was using what I thought was exactly the same setup and lure, working everything exactly the same, and couldn't catch fish. It wasn't until we realized that I was using the same rod but my model was 5 inches shorter that we understood that the length resulted in a different action that the fish didn't want. And I could tell 100 stories like this. So we believe in both quality and variety of gear.

Our FIRE number included sufficient assets to allow us to continue this passion as long as we're physically able. We hope that fishing keeps us as young as it has kept Roland Martin, Jimmy Houston, Rick Clunn, and others. But the key is that there is nothing else that we'd rather do.

The strange thing is that I feel like I shouldn't be honest about this. Some people in this community are so dogmatic that we feel our style of FIRE will draw a throat punch. I sure hope we're wrong.

You don't have to come clean with me.
I own a decked out Lund Walleye boat with all the goodies as well as a big river / small lake jon boat, and drag them all over with a 4wd 4 door late model pickup.   Do a lot of guided fishing trips as well, typically an annual fly in to Canada, and recently booked a wilderness AK fly in fishing trip for this summer.

All our stuff is paid for, no debt or mortgage on anything and we saved our money.   What's the point of working and saving if you aren't going to enjoy it, doing the things you love?



Saw mention above of inflatable boats - I'd stay away from those.  A simple kayak or small aluminum boat is much better to work with and you are a whole lot less likely to poke a hole in them.  Always feel like I'm one quick "oops" from getting wet in an inflatable.







FINate

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Re: Freshwater Bass Fishing? Into It? Frugal Tips?
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2021, 10:15:45 AM »
To be clear, I'm not judging anyone here for having a bass boat. My dad has one and it's great fun and I totally see the attraction. But don't pretend it's frugal :)

OP's question was how to bass fish frugally. The boat + tow vehicle is hugely expensive compared to the rest of the gear. While fun and useful, a boat doesn't magically make one better at bass fishing. I know plenty of older dudes with sedans and well worn gear that catch more fish than guys with shiny new boats that mostly sit in the garage. This is because they actually get out and fish and know all the fishing holes like the back of their hand. It helps that they aren't working their butts off to pay for an expensive rig, which means they have more time to actually fish. Same thing applies to hunting. And mountain biking... Pretty much any hobby. There are people who just like to get the gear, whereas there are those who just get out there and do what they love.

Now, more power to you if you can afford an expensive rig and FIRE. Some of us make enough money that a bass boat + tow vehicle won't add much time to the FIRE timeline. Yet other's aren't in that boat (see what I did there).  I would hate to see someone feel compelled to work an additional 5 years (or whatever) for a dang boat.

RE puncturing inflatables: It depends. Some brands (such as the SeaEagle) use a thick and durable material and multiple air chambers. I would not intentionally run it up on sharp rocks, but have no qualms about floating rivers with some riffles or brushing up against tree stumps/branches.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2021, 10:24:57 AM by FINate »

jeromedawg

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Re: Freshwater Bass Fishing? Into It? Frugal Tips?
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2021, 01:32:38 PM »
When it comes to gear, there are really different schools of thought. Some believe that buying the best is better than buying cheap due to longevity and performance. Others will claim that cheap gear is fine and ultimately that they'd rather buy 10x cheap spinning reels for the price of 1 expensive reel. LOL. I've been finding that there are exceptions and compromises in both cases. Really it becomes a matter of preference though, and that comes partly through figuring out what works and what doesn't. Some ppl may be inclined to fish a certain way/style that they are able to do more effectively/efficiently with certain types of gear (think spinning setups vs baitcasting vs fly setups). One perfect example of this is trout: split shot/bobber rig and c-rig most guys will fish spinning gear. Lures/minijigs/etc most will still fish spinning gear but there are a lot who will use baitcasters. Then you get into the world of fly fishing (it's harder to be frugal here lol) where 'purists' are in full control: they tie their own flies and are more in control the presentation of the fly/streamer.  Of course you can deviate between those and fish flies on a spinning setup w/ a split-shot or throw a grub on the end of a fly rod (though you'd be labeled 'blasphemous' either way LOL)

As far as boating is concerned, I agree with FINate as pertaining to OP's original question. Fundamentally, the most *frugal* way to bass fish is going to be getting a $15-20 cheapo setup from Dicks/Academy/Walmart along with a few weights, hooks, worms and hard/jerk/crank baits and heading over to the closest local park/pond/lake that you know has bass (using Fishbrain), and going at it. I take that back, you could probably get it done with a 150yd spool of 6lb-12lb line with the lure/jig attached to it and casting it lasso-style LOL!
« Last Edit: January 13, 2021, 01:37:05 PM by jeromedawg »

ericrugiero

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Re: Freshwater Bass Fishing? Into It? Frugal Tips?
« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2021, 03:14:58 PM »
The boat and potential tow vehicle are clearly the big difference in frugal vs non-frugal.  If you use them all the time it's not that big a deal to spend a few hundred dollars (or even $1000) on quality rods and reels.  Compare that to the cost of a bass boat and tow vehicle which will likely cost many thousands per year to purchase and maintain. 

The frugal path is fishing from the bank or using something like a canoe, kayak or inflatable.  You can also get a boat that's small and light which will likely be cheaper and can be towed with a smaller vehicle.  To get to the best fishing spots, you may need a boat.  If you aren't fishing tournaments, you probably don't need a high powered bass boat to beat the other competitors to the best spots.