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Investing in Fishing

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Hello! I am 15 years old and recently got into bass fishing. I have a good spinning combo, a good reaction bite combo (spinners, cranks, jigs, etc) and a stout MH 7'3" rod for heavy stuff, but no too heavy. If I'm fishing deep, i can switch the casting reels with each other and do fine. if I'm just messing around with lite t rigs an finesse worms, i have a 5'6" zebec that has claimed 15 bass this year. 

i would consider myself to have a decent array of baits. I like to texas rig and have lots of worms for that. cranks and jigs are good. i don't have lots of tw and spinnerbaits. want to get more also want to add a m power plastics rod eventually. other than occasional income, I'm not making money. I'm pretty good at getting stuff cheap (recently got a quantum smoke for 100) 

i am posting to see if anyone has suggestions on how to spend my money i invest into fishing.

i am a recreational angler

Here are a few questions I have

1. Do i need to change out hooks, have only bent trebles twice

2. if yes will cheap vmc hooks work

3. premium vs. "generic"    i use non GYB seiko type baits. during the occasional tourney i will use them, is it worth it for me

4. gamakatsu vs vmc/bass pro    i typically use vmc as the hooks are good and cheap, i use other brands, when i need to, like owner mosquito

5. what is a good way to break up spending like 15% plastics 15% terminal tackle 20% hard baits 50% rods reel line?


and tungsten vs steel vs lead

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1. You don't need to change out hooks, but I would routinely check to make sure they are sharp and sharpen them when they dull. If you run the hook point lightly over your fingernail and it doesn't leave a scratch, it needs to be sharpened. Some hooks need to be sharpened right out of the package, others after a few fish and most after snagging on a rock or log. You can get a fine grit sharpening stone that will fit in your pocket for a few dollars at a sporting goods store. I use the diamond file on my leatherman. There are plenty of videos on youtube about how to sharpen hooks, I think Glen even has one.


3. This has been discussed to death and you will still see a new topic every week on the subject. All the threads end with "budget baits work, but sometimes premium baits are just better." On a tough day a senko might out fish a yum dinger, but on average to good days you probably won't notice f a difference. I would keep a bag or two of GYB senkos for those tough days, but otherwise use cheap baits to save money. 

4. I like gamakatsu when I can find them on sale. Lately I've been using eagle claw lazer sharp and feel they are a great value for the price.

5. Instead of focusing on a percentage I would focus on budgeting your money. At the beginning of the month set aside some money for fishing, it would probably be $20-$50 since you don't work. You can buy whatever fishing gear you want, but when the money you set aside on the 1st is gone, you are done buying fishing gear for the month. If you want to make a big purchase such as a rod or reel you would need to save the money from multiple months. 

Unless you are using 1oz weights, forget about tungsten vs lead until you have more money. 

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CenCal pretty much hit it on the head, definitely keep a budget, and do research into some good "diamonds in the rough" baits. Just because something costs more doesn't mean it will be any better all the times. Like he said, Yum Dingers, or Bass Pro Stick-O's or any of those type of baits will work just fine 95% of the time. There will be times when the fish just like something else better, but you have to ask yourself if it's worth it. I personally use the Stick-O's exclusively. I go through way too many on a good day to use an even softer bait like a senko that is 2-3 times the cost. You said you fish tournaments so having couple bags of senko's might not hurt if you feel you need them for those situations. As far as hooks, I also like gamakatsu's, but have used VMC too and like them. For breaking up your budget, really you are the only one who can determine that, depending on how you fish and what works best in your area. Definitely be smart about setting money aside for larger purchases like reels and rods. Keep an eye out for sales too, but if money is tight try and restrain from impulse buys. Be smart about every purchase. 

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