If you plan to get into fishing and unfamiliar with the equipment and what is needed, understand that you will likely be shelling out a good deal of money from the beginning. This isn’t to say that you need to avoid the sport altogether; fishing on a budget is entirely possible. For example, local small ponds are likely filled with panfish don’t require big game rod and reels and live bait. Here are the reasons why bait and tackle are expensive.

Everything to Know About Bait and Tackle

Let’s start with the bait-

The bait comes in many forms, including live, dead fresh bait, dead frozen, and pre-packaged imitations such as rubber shrimp soaked in oil to smell as if it is real. 

Live bait

  1. Harvesting bait and keeping it alive requires time and effort. If the store owner isn’t gathering the bait themselves, they pay someone to do the job, cutting into the profit.
  2. Some examples of live bait include worms, minnows, shrimp, etc.
  3. Storing live bait at the store may require specialized equipment such as large live wells with continually flowing water. 
  4. To put it simply, catching live bait can be tricky; you need to know where it can be found and how to gather it. However, if you want to save money on bait and tackle this is a great way to do it.

Dead Bait Fresh or Frozen

  1. This one is a toss-up on the quality versus the price. Some stores chose to buy from bait suppliers while others freeze what they don’t sell live. 
  2. Frozen bait is one of the most cost-effective methods for catching fish. For the most part, frozen bait is mostly used in saltwater. 
  3. Keep in mind that frozen baits such as shrimp can quickly be plucked from a hook because they become soft and mushy when thawed. Squid, on the other hand, is firm and difficult to remove from the hook. One package of squid may last longer than two boxes of frozen shrimp.

Artificial imitation bait

  1. Some are dead set on using artificial baits that are scented to catch fish. These come in many forms and flavors, so to speak.
  2. These baits can be found at any large outlet sports store and even some small mom and pop shops. 
  3. Break out the wallet. Some of the top-rated products on the market come at nearly $20 a package, which will get you through a day of fishing. 

When you move into the cost of gear such as rods, reels, hooks, lures, sinkers, bobbers, and line the expenses can add up even more quickly. However, remember that if what you buy is cared for properly, this is a long term investment.

While we know that a cast may be hung up in a tree or snagged on the seafloor resulting in a lost hook, lure, weight, sinker, or a combination of them, all this likely won’t be an every-trip occurrence. 

What is the cost of the gear needed to go out and catch fish-

Take into account that fishing has become so popular as of late that equipment is in short supply, thus reducing sales and specials. 

Terminal Tackle

  1. Small hooks in large quantities with average quality with very little expense. When you move into thicker shanked hooks composed of more premium metals, the cost is high for a limited number. 
  2. Bobbers, otherwise know as floats, can be less than a dollar up to nearly ten dollars a pop. The old red and white spring bobbers come cheap and can be used in various fishing destinations if you’re looking to lower cost. 
  3. Weights are all dependent on the size, which makes sense because of the amount of lead required. Overall, sinkers are cheap in the grand scheme of things.

Fishing Line

  1. While it may be merely a preference or a necessity from the style of fishing you’re engaging in, the monofilament line comes at a much lower cost than the braided line. 
  2. Much like comparing apples to apples, fluorocarbon leaders are high in cost to its counterpart. Again on a budget, no need to opt for the higher cost of fluorocarbon. 

Rods and Reels

  1. Reels come in many different sizes to suit the type of fishing you’re participating in. They also come at a vast range of costs. When compared to another of similar size, one reel can be hundreds of dollars difference in cost. The internal components may be of higher quality to eliminate seizing up or rusting when exposed to saltwater. 
  2. Rods, much like reels, come in a multitude of price points. Lower quality rods will not be fitted with top-notch guides and may be more susceptible to breakage.

To put it simply, the goal of getting out fishing can be accomplished cheaply. If you’re someone who fishes a few times a year, no need to invest in high quality equipment. For the avid fisherman, the long term investment of buying middle to high end gear may save money long term if everything is correctly cared for. Offshore big game anglers pay tens of thousands of dollars to land the big one. Don’t ever let money discourage you from becoming involved in the sport of fishing; the neighborhood pond with basic gear can be just as fruitful.