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Outdoor Life: Fishing - Fun, but not so cheap
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"Scholars have long known that fishing eventually turns men into philosophers.  Unfortunately it is almost impossible to buy decent tackle on a philosopher’s salary."

    — Patrick F. McManus

I really want to be serious this week and talk about the economics of fishing.  What I would like to do is verify the fact that fishing is essentially a simple sport with simple needs.  I think we can establish this fact by just looking at a few of the basic requirements one would need to get started.
    At the top of the list is, of course, a fishing pole.  Since it’s such an important item, we’ll get a bait casting reel which is right at the top of the evolutionary ladder in fishing equipment.  They cost about $100.  The reel is no good without a quality rod and they are only about $60.  So now we are ready to go.  No, we better get three rod and reel combinations because if one breaks down there a needs to be a backup for the second.
    Okay, now we need a tackle box to carry our gear in.  These are pretty cheap also.  They run about $40 each.  We will probably need to get two big ones and at least two little ones.  The smaller version is a relative bargain at $10 bucks.  In order to stock the tackle boxes we need to make a list so we won’t get caught without some necessary items.  Plugs and lures are generally about $5 dollars each and we’ll need at least fifty because we need different colors and sizes of each one depending on when, where, and what we’ll be fishing for.  We’ll also need some plastic worms and rigging for these because every good bass fisherman knows this is by far the most consistent bait.  Different colors and sizes and styles are necessary and they run about $4 per pack.  I think we might slip by with thirty packs over the summer and try to be a little frugal.  
    Let’s see if we can finish our list as we get ready for our assault on the fishing outlet (which is the same as a clothing outlet with bargains galore.)  We need about ten spools of line at approximately $8 per pack (different strengths and colors for use in different types of water much like detergent works.)  Six spinner baits at $5 each, six spoons at $5 each, three buzz baits at $5 each, lead and hooks of varying sizes for a minimal amount of about $40 (but this will cover the entire summer.) 
    Now this should be most of the essentials.  I may have left out some minor tackle requirements but this list should get us started nicely.  Of course we are not going to spend our entire life fishing from the bank.  That will never do.  We come now to the time every fisherman looks forward to with glorious anticipation.  Boat buying day!  Since we are trying to start off at a very moderate spending pace let’s purchase a boat that would be considered economical in terms of price and fuel consumption.  Bass boats range all the way up past $50,000 dollars but we are going to go very conservative at about $15,000.  Oh yeah, we’ll need a john boat and trolling motor for fishing in ponds but they help keep our options open when reservoir fishing is slow.  A john boat is about $500 and a middle-of-the road trolling motor can be purchased for about $150.  We will need to outfit the big boat with a depth finder, multiple batteries, anchors, life jackets and a few other minor but basic needs.  Those items probably total around $400 but they are fundamental needs for safety and are well worth the small additional amount.  We won’t count gas, oil and insurance for the boat because that just falls under normal operating expenses but we will need a get a battery charger and we’ll go for a cheap one at about $75. 
    The magic total is a very acceptable $17,500.  I bet you can get ten percent off at the fishing and boating outlet mall and be sure to always keep an eye out for coupon savings opportunities. That would be something that would make your wife really proud of you.

    Alvin Richardson is a contributing writer, retired educator, and public speaker. Contact him at