By Steve Graf
Just like everything else on the market today, from gas to groceries and anything else you can think of, the cost of trying to go bass fishing is getting ridiculous. What happened to the days of $1.50 spinnerbaits, $5.00 crankbaits, and buying soft plastic worms in bulk at 5 cents each? Today’s angler better have deep pockets or a very good job if he wants to be able to go bass fishing and possibly compete in a tournament. Let’s look at what anglers are facing today and how they’re having to manage their checkbooks.
Let’s start with terminal tackles like hooks and worm weights. Only a few years ago, you could buy good quality top-name brands of hooks (pack of 10) for about $2.50. Now an angler will be paying anywhere from $4.99 to $7.20. Of course, this all depends on the brand you purchase. But in tournament fishing, hooks are a very important component to catching bass, and you don’t want to cut corners with this purchase.
Next, worm weights are another component that has really changed in the last 15 years. For years, anglers had no choice other than lead weights because there wasn’t anything else. Then around 1999, the game changed when the late Mark Pack (Lake Fork Guide) decided to try using the hard metal weight (tungsten) for a technique we call drop shooting. This is what ignited the tungsten craze and as they say, the rest is history.
Almost 95% of all anglers today will purchase tungsten weights over the lead. Why? Well, tungsten has proven to be a better choice over lead weights for a couple of reasons, one being the fact that any size tungsten weight will be smaller and more compact in size than the same size weight in a lead version. Another way tungsten weights shine is the fact they are much harder in texture than lead and make a louder clicking sound when they hit a hard surface, which can attract bass to your lure.
But there is a heavy price to pay for these two bonus features. A pack of 4 tungsten weights in 1/8 oz up to 3/8 oz will set you back at least $8.00, while ½ and 1-ounce weights will cost you $9.00 or more just for one weight. This is a hefty price to pay for weight when you can get the same size lead weight in a pack of 10 or more for $3.50.
Now let’s look at the fishing line, as this might be the greatest area of advancement in the last 20 years with the introduction of both braid and fluorocarbon fishing lines. Every company on the market today has introduced its own version of both of these. Each has its own unique benefits and of course, there’s a price to pay for technological advancements.
The fluorocarbon line has some great advantages versus the old standard monofilament line anglers have used since the 1950s. For one, both fluorocarbon and braided lines have less stretch and much greater sensitivity when combined with a really good fishing rod. It can make a big difference in the number of bites you feel that you never felt before, resulting in more fish being caught. Price difference: you pay only $4.99 for a 200-yard spool of monofilament line today versus $26.99 for 200 yards of fluorocarbon. Braid falls into the same high price category, costing anywhere from $24.00 to $34.00 for a 165-yard spool of line.
It’s pretty obvious that the cost of going fishing has skyrocketed compared to what it was only a few years ago. Again, most of the increase is based on the advancements in certain areas of fishing technology. Tournament anglers today are very conscious of every penny they’re spending, especially with the cost of gas, lodging, and food going up nationwide. Next week, we’ll take a look at the insane prices of today’s bass boats. Till next time, good luck, good fishing, and don’t forget your sunscreen.