13 Tricks to Save Money on Fishing Tackle

Bass fishing can be affordable, expensive or something in between. It all depends on your financial situation and how you approach the sport.

Throughout the past couple decades fishing tackle has come a long way. Seems like every year manufacturers are coming up with new product lineups that supposedly “blow last years lures out of the water”.

With everybody trying to develop new products and spending a fortune on marketing campaigns tackle prices keep on rising. Anglers fishing on a budget need to find a way to stretch their budget without giving up all the latest gear.

It doesn’t matter if you’re on a tight budget or you just want to save anyway you can, there are a few things that will save you money. Here are a few simple tips to make fishing a little easier on your wallet.

Fishing Tips to Save Money

1) Sharpen and Swap Out Your Treble Hooks

Don’t give up on your old lures just because the hooks have seen better days. If I threw away every lure that started to rust or look dull I’d be broke.

I like to work the rock lines and riprap hard and it really eats up my hooks. Everyday before heading out, I sharpen up all of my favorite lures using a hook file(this is the one I use).

It takes under a minute per lure and seriously improves my hookup percentage. You can probably sharpen a hook close to 100 times before you need to replace it. Check out my article on sharpening treble hooks for more info.

You don’t have to throw away your favorite lures just because they’re starting to get a little beat up. Just continue to sharpen the hooks until they start to feel brittle which is the point where you need to replace them.

Just take a pair of fishing pliers(these work well) and swap out all your treble hooks. Instead of spending $5+ dollars on a new lure you can replace the hooks for about a buck. Just don’t buy those cheap Chinese hook sets off eBay.

I just buy the 25 packs of Mustad Treble Hooks off Amazon and they work really well.

2) Do Basic Maintenance

Make sure you do all the little things that make your tackle last longer. Things like oiling your reels(check out this Abu Garcia Maintenance Kit) and using rod socks to protect your line/poles really makes a big difference over the course of a year.

You can then prevent your hooks from rusting by keeping moisture out of your tackle. If you’re using coated hooks use a sharpie to paint over worn down spots to prevent rust. When your tackle box/bag inevitably gets wet make sure you wipe down all the excess moisture and leave it open to air dry.

3) Reuse Soft Plastics

Soft plastic worms aren’t designed to last forever. In fact you’ll be lucky if one lasts over an hour. Dragging it across a rocky bottom and constantly getting bitten makes short work of even the most expensive worms.

Professional fisherman might be able to afford to go through a couple packages of worms per day, but the rest of us are living paycheck to paycheck.

There are a bunch of different ways guys get a little more life out of their worms. Applying a few drops of superglue or Mend-It Soft Plastic Glue will extend the life of your worms. They might not look like they did fresh out of the package, but you won’t see much decrease in effectiveness.

After that long worm or creature bait is too torn up to work with a standard Texas/Carolina Rig it can still make a great trailer. Just shorten it up a bit and turn it into a jig trailer.

4) Buy Used Lures at Flea Markets and Garage Sales

Every Saturday the wife and I head to our local flea market and garage sales looking for those little treasures. Most weeks I bring home more junk to fill up my garage, but I always pick up some nice used fishing lures.

You have to know what you’re looking for to avoid getting a bunch of junk. Every weekend I come across a couple grab bags of assorted lures. Just check the bag looking for familiar name brand lures.

With a quick look you can see what type of fisherman the guy was. If you see a bunch of name brand lures you’re probably looking at $100+ worth of tackle.

Most of the time you can just take off the hooks and clean your lures in the dishwasher. Throw on some brand new hooks and you’re good to go.

5) Comparison Shop and Look For Red Tag Sales

Every fishing store I’ve ever been to has a bargain bin filled with discount lures. Obviously you need to know what your look for, but you can find some great deals.

If you aren’t really picky about color and size just walk down the aisles looking for that red tag we all recognize as clearance. Don’t buy something you’ll never use, but you can often find old stock priced close to a buck. At that price you won’t feel so bad when you snag it in the bushes.

Most stores have a little bit of flexibility in the way they price expensive items. Managers will often knock off 10% if you ask nicely and match prices you see online. Everything is negotiable if you make a reasonable offer.

6) Buy New Lures Online and Used Lures on Ebay

There’s a reason all the Mom and Pop fishing stores are all going out of business. They’re just not able to compete with bulk orders online.

You’ll probably be better off buying individual lures at your local store to avoid shipping costs, but larger orders are almost always cheaper online. Try going after those manufacturer overruns and other slow moving merchandise that’s normally marked down.

You can often find great deals on used lures by shopping on eBay. Look for those bulk lots that are priced to sell. Most of the time you’ll pick up name brand lures at 1/3 of the price they’d be new. Just sharpen/replace the hooks and you’re good to go.

7) Be Patient and Wait For Sales

Most of us don’t actually need that new rod/reel that we’ve had our eyes on. Do I need to bring 5 different rods on my boat for different presentations? No absolutely not, but I can afford them and they’re damn nice to have.

Unless all your gear was recently stolen or you lost everything to a fire you can wait for those spring sales to roll around. Right at the beginning of the year is another great time to buy gear as everyone starts to get rid of lost years models.

Once spring rolls around most big box fishing stores have their beginning of season sales. That’s when they offer big discounts on almost everything on the shelf.

This is when you want to stock up on all your new lures, rods, reels and clothing. To my wives dismay every year I blow my entire paycheck on these spring sales.

8) Use Cheap Backing (Filler Line)

Unless you’re a pro-fisherman or get out every morning you probably never use all the line on your reels. Every time I re-spool my line I look at all that wasted money left on the last 1/4-1/2 inch of the spool.

You can save a little bit of money throughout the season by using cheap filler line before your main line. Most of us only really need 75 yards of main line on our reel.

When fishing with expensive mono and fluorocarbon you can save a lot of money by using braided line as your backer.

9) Use Simple Presentations

I don’t know if I would call it an obsession, but I’m constantly buying new fishing gear. Seeing how slight changes improves your technique is what really makes fishing fun.

Personally I head to the store every paycheck and spend $20-50. Buying the same lure in different colors/sizes really isn’t all that necessary. Some of them I use a lot, while others end up on a shelf.

I could save a lot of money by only buying the things I actually need. You could probably catch more fish if you stuck to a few presentations and simply mastered them. After you buy the basic color schemes you really don’t need anything else.

10) Re-Tie Knots

Staying home is the only sure-fire way to avoid losing fishing lures. It doesn’t matter how good you get, you’ll always end up losing a couple lures. Just like gambling at a casino, some days you come out ahead(find a lure snagged in the brush), other days you lose one of your favorites.

You can minimize the amount you actually lose by not being lazy. Re-tying your line is only going to take a minute and it helps reduce wear on your line. Reducing the number of broken lines each season will seriously reduce overall costs.

11) Know When to Buy in Bulk

Try to buy your hooks, sinkers, line etc. in bulk at the beginning of the season. The price per item is so much higher when buying a 5 pack vs 25 pack or 200 yard spool vs 1000 yard.

12) Keep Spare Tackle Organized

If you are anything like me, you have packages of baits that work lost amongst everything that doesn’t. Time goes by and I forget that I even have them. I go out and buy a butt load of gear at the end/beginning of season sales and simply lose track of it all.

To avoid this you need to keep all your spare tackle organized. Knowing what you have on hand is half the battle. You’ll be able to avoid purchasing duplicates.

Go out to your local Wal Mart and Buy a small container large enough to store Plano Stowaways. With this setup you should be able to quickly see what you have and work them into your rotation. All of my soft baits are organized on the peg board in my garage.

13) Trade Lures With Friends

Fish long enough and you’re bound to meet a few fishing buddies. I’m constantly buying new lures that I quickly get bored and toss aside. Just because you didn’t have much luck doesn’t mean your friend won’t.

Instead of just leaving these unused lures to gather up dust why don’t you trade them with a buddy. You can even split soft plastics into smaller portions trading a few different colors.

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