With fuel prices soaring and the general cost of living wearing a large hole in the hip-pocket, everyone has to get money-wise in every area possible. This article will hopefully help with ideas on cutting costs in the department of fishing without squeezing your passion right out of your life...much to your mother's/girlfriend's/wife's dismay! Fishing historically has been a cheap activity - you just have to look at evidence of our ancestors using sticks, bones and twine to land a big one. Over time technology has played a major role in the way we fish, what tackle we use, how we find fish and even the manner in which we document our angling prowess has become hi- tech and expensive! Here are a few easy-to-follow steps for sticking to the budget in our much loved national hobby.
It's been proven that you don't have to own the most expensive rod and reel to catch the big fish. The best way to get value for money in any rod and reel is to make a purchase which fits your budget and then take proper care of your investment. The saying "Nothing lasts as long as it used to" is frequently heard in tackle stores when anglers come in looking for a new product after their last reel only made a year's worth of fishing trips.
Store your rod in a safe place, high enough so it's out of reach of tiny hands. Wipe down your rod after each fish as salt degrades to resin and epoxy which runners and tips are attached with. A rod bag or tube will also lengthen the life of your rod. If you do happen to snap off a tip or break a runner - all is not lost! For only a few dollars you can buy a replacement tip and many tackle stores will help you glue it back on, or there are also Rod Repairers who professionally replace tips or runners for around ten dollars and you'd never be able to tell the difference.
To get the best out of your reel:
1. Always wash it down with warm fresh water to minimise the amount of sand and salt getting into the gears and mechanism, then let it sit in the sun after washing to allow it to dry out completely;
2. Apply a product like Lanox (similar to WD40 but enriched with lanolin) to the crank/gears and bearings to keep the mechanism well oiled and lubricated. This will protect the reel from the elements and salt corrosion until your next trip.
3. Service your reel at least twice a year - this involves unscrewing the spool and giving the area a good clean and lube up. Also take off the handle, clean and lube as well. You will be surprised the amount of dirt, sand and sometimes line that can be caught in these areas, ultimately leading to corrosion and having the mechanism seize up.
Hooks, sinkers and swivels may be relatively inexpensive when bought in small quantities but over a year you may find you have purchased quite a bit. Buying in bulk requires bigger commitment of funds initially but in the long run each hook or sinker is individually much cheaper. To get the most out of hooks, get yourself a hook sharpening stone - they're less than $5.00 and they can sharpen up dull and blunt hooks as good as new in only seconds of sharpening. Keeping swivels dry and out of the salt will prolong their life and only take a handful of swivels out with you and put the rest into a glass jar in your garage for safe keeping.
We are firm believers in being self sufficient wherever possible...bait included! The best free option is pippies-requiring little more effort than some bending over and digging with your hand. The best places these days for Pippies include the NE tip of Bribie, Yaroomba, the more secluded beaches in Noosa National Park and North Shore to Double Island. Pippies are mainly used in surf gutters, by placing a whole Pippy on the hook to target whiting, dart, bream and occasionally tailor.
While sand worms are great bait, they're highly elusive and extremely hard to catch. Very few local beaches have sand worm populations anymore due to over digging. Many locals have found success from self-dug bloodworms from up in the mangrove areas of the Noosa, Maroochy and Mooloolah Rivers. However, garden worms are a cheap alternative also.
Cast netting is a skill you learn which will stick with you a lifetime – go halves in a net with a good mate if you want to purchase one. Once you have learnt how to cast - prawns, herring and even little poddy mullet will be your bait of choice for big flathead, trevally, jew and tailor. With these species; the livelier the bait, the better your chance.
Every little bit counts, especially at present when so many individuals, families, businesses and communities are feeling financial difficulty. At least some of the above mentioned suggestions may ease the burning sensation at your hip pocket for a little while.
Browny was fishing with soft plastics off Chambers Island when this 1.45kg tailor smashed it and put up a sporting fight on light gear.
Paul Watts was fishing with mullet strips on a 6lb outfit from the bank at Minti Street when this 2.2kg mangrove jack smashed the bait and fought well.
Max Pfeifer was flicking a hard bodied lure in the surf at Mudjimba when he scored this solid 68cm dusky flathead much to his dad's surprise.