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Conner McCombs

Bass Fishing On A Budget

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The roar of a 250hp mercury racing motor sends vibrationsshooting threw the water, a roster tail 10feet tall towers over the competitionas an intimidating enemy. The ranger hits 70 almost before the announcer isdone calling its roster number. Then it passes me, my 14 foot john boat itlooks like a toy scooting along compared to the marvel of machinery. Unfortunatelywe all can afforded the nicest boats, rods, and mountains of tackle; but youcan be just as good, or better of an angler without all the fancy gizmos andpointless lures.

Bass fishinghas become one of the most commercial sports in the country, centered aroundthe newest and grates technologies. It’s hard for me to open a magazine orwatch a fishing show without being convinced that I need some new and improveditem to win a tournament. Its hard to resist that impulse, but I know that assoon as I get that 20 dollar crank or the 14 dollar jerk bait it will be tiedonto my favorite rod. But as soon as I get to the tournament and have had 5fishless casts with that “precision engineered” lure, it will be cut off andsomething more familiar (and more productive) will be tied on. We all wouldlove to be the guy passing every boat at the tournament, with a rod locker fullof G-Loomises. The truth is that in this slow economy its almost impossible toafford it all. In my humble opinion I am actually a better angler when I’m notdrowning in an ocean of lures to use. Saving that time that I would spendswitching out lures to actually find the bass. In some instances theimplication of the perfect lure in the perfect color with the perfect lineovershadows the fact that you may not even be on the fish!

I gotstarted bass fishing from the shore, when the chance arose to purchase my firstboat I was ecstatic. Although I am only in high school, being in adolescence isclose resemble the income in these hard times. Fortunately I am not handed everythingI want unlike some spoiled kids are, so during the past few summers I had saveup doing odd jobs, or mowing lawns. Every cent I had was going into my boatfund. After 2 years I had saved up about 1500 to get myself a john boat. I gotlucky and found a used 14 foot topper john boat with a 15hp 4stroke Yamaha onit. It was perfect! My buddy and I take it out every chance we can get. A fewweeks ago we were convinced to take it to our first tournament, when we arrivedat the ramp it was the most intimidation thing I have ever seen. 30 boats allover 10000 dollars. When it was time to launch people were laughing at us, thefunny boys with the john boat. That day we out fish every boat but 2. Getting 3rdplace was certainly acceptable to me! And all done with less than 20 dollars ingas and lures.

Tips

-buy in bulk, when your favoritefluke goes on sale for 2 dollars get 10 packs!

-don’t let a lure snag you! Some luresonly have to catch fisherman, if it looks good at the store it doesn’t mean itwill produce.

-confidence, with it you can makealmost any lure work, and its free!

-advertising, resist that impulseto buy the 40 dollar swim bait your scared to use

-remember bass have a brain the size of a pee, dose itreally take a million dollars to get at them?

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I agree with everything you say.

Sometimes you do 'need' certain things that seem nice, but those times are not all the time. For instance, your jon boat would be totally unsafe to fish St Clair or other big water lakes.

Then again, you don't have to spend 50k for a boat that IS safe on those waters.

As for lures, I can fit everything I want to fish with on any given day into one 3700 Plano. Some jigs, a couple packs of trailers, drop shot weights/worms, senko's some hooks, and rubber O-rings and I'm usually good to go

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I had more success back when i was a kid with less money and not as many resources as i do now .1 tackle box and maybe 2 combos and i did it all.i miss simple fishing

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Time for me to break out one of my favorite sayings.

A boat is a platform on the water to get you to where the fish are.

Once you are there, the fish do not know, or care if you are in a 70,000 dollar marvel, or a leaky rowboat.

In fact, a water rocket may slow down the learning curve. I see folks all the time doing this. They make a few casts. No fish. Zoom off the next spot. Repeat over and over again for the entire day.

You cannot do this in a kayak, canoe, jon boat, or row boat. You learn to work an area thoroughly and efficiently. You also see images on your sounder, if so equipped, that the guy/gal doing 40 - 80 mph never sees. Small patches of bottom that hold fish are seldom missed on a boat cruising along at 2 - 5 mph.

Does the bass boat provide an advantage over the puddle jumper? Of course, provided the fisherman is knowledgeable, or familiar with that body of water. It gets him from a patch of productive bottom to another patch of productive bottom quicker. But, this does not make him a better fisherman.

What's between your ears is more important than what's between your feet and the surface of the water.

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For some reason, I'm missing the point of this post. You got 3rd in a tournament - good for you. How did you do for the season? One tournament is just that - one tournament. I'm amazed they let you you in. The reasons for length restrictions in many tournament organizations have to do with safety. Being out in big water or even medium sized water in any kind of wind in a 14' jon boat isn't being smart or safe. Especially if this is your first boat.

Next, I'm trying to figure out what you were railing against. One of the charms of bass fishing is that you can play at whatever level you're comfortable at both fiscally and emotionally. It isn't really your call how much other guys, (who may or may not be in different stages of life than you are ) spend on fishing gear. Bass fishing can be an addiction, I think that there are very few on this forum who'd disagree with that statement. You can feed addictions with time or money or both.

The notion that you had a tournament where you did better than some guys who spent more money than you just sounds like gloating to me. How cool is that ? Besides, what goes around comes around.

Basically, I missed the point of this post. It seems like you were talking to yourself rather than the collective membership.

Lastly, bass have a brain the size of a pea. Pee is something different. OK, I'm finished being snarky now. Thanks for reading my reaction to your post.

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For some reason, I'm missing the point of this post. You got 3rd in a tournament - good for you. How did you do for the season? One tournament is just that - one tournament. I'm amazed they let you you in. The reasons for length restrictions in many tournament organizations have to do with safety. Being out in big water or even medium sized water in any kind of wind in a 14' jon boat isn't being smart or safe. Especially if this is your first boat.

Nest, I'm trying to figure out what you were railing against. One of the charms of bass fishing is that you can play at whatever level you're comfortable at both fiscally and emotionally. It isn't really your call how much other guys, (who may or may not be in different stages of life than you are ) spend on fishing gear. Bass fishing can be an addiction, I think that there are very few on this forum who'd disagree with that statement. You can feed addictions with time or money or both.

The notion that you had a tournament where you did better than some guys who spent more money than you just sounds like gloating to me. How cool is that ? Besides, what goes around comes around.

Basically, I missed the point of this post. It seems like you were talking to yourself rather than the collective membership.

Lastly, bass have a brain the size of a pea. Pee is something different. OK, I'm finished being snarky now. Thanks for reading my reaction to your post.

first off safty was an issue, i stay in shore and dont fish deep structure just for that reason. normaly my boat wouldnt have been alowed in the turny but i knew the organizer and talked to him. he decided to let me do it just for kicks, but i did suprisingly well. and with regards to braging, it was not the perpus of the writing just an example of the possabilitys if you keep an open mind to succsess even fishing on a restricted budget.

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Come on a ranger doing 70!!! :D;)

Seriously though great job in your tourney. I started out fishing ponds in a thin walled 10 ft jon boat that almost took on water over the top. I had a 17ft bass tracker with a 90hp that i won a little money out of. This yeaR I bought a Triton Tr21 with a 225 merc and 2 big humminbirds and didnt win a penny. but i gaurantee you I aint going back to the bass tracker. Stay at it and i gaurantee as you get older your boats will get bigger abd bigger.

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I have an aluminum boat with a small motor, basic electronics, modestly upgraded trolling motor (70lb 24v), a 10 year old truck with 100K miles on it, a small arsenal of decent rods and reels. I use SK and bandit cranks insted of LC and Megabass, I use braid as a main line on all my reels with flouro leaders insted of spooling all flouro. I do allright, even against guys with big expensive rigs. What a guy spends on a boat dosen't help him put fish in it. I have had partners in tournaments with $600 combos that couldn't tie a good knot, or fish a texas rig, let alone catch fish. Yes, there are always going to be a few delta bravos that buy big money stuff and then act like the 2nd coming of KVD on the local scene....but you'll find them in all other areas of life, every hobby I have ever had has had guys like that. Buy what you can afford, get good at what you do. I love when the guy in the $60K rig asks me for advice :D

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For some reason, I'm missing the point of this post. You got 3rd in a tournament - good for you. How did you do for the season? One tournament is just that - one tournament. I'm amazed they let you you in. The reasons for length restrictions in many tournament organizations have to do with safety. Being out in big water or even medium sized water in any kind of wind in a 14' jon boat isn't being smart or safe. Especially if this is your first boat.

Nest, I'm trying to figure out what you were railing against. One of the charms of bass fishing is that you can play at whatever level you're comfortable at both fiscally and emotionally. It isn't really your call how much other guys, (who may or may not be in different stages of life than you are ) spend on fishing gear. Bass fishing can be an addiction, I think that there are very few on this forum who'd disagree with that statement. You can feed addictions with time or money or both.

The notion that you had a tournament where you did better than some guys who spent more money than you just sounds like gloating to me. How cool is that ? Besides, what goes around comes around.

Basically, I missed the point of this post. It seems like you were talking to yourself rather than the collective membership.

Lastly, bass have a brain the size of a pea. Pee is something different. OK, I'm finished being snarky now. Thanks for reading my reaction to your post.

It's entirely possible I'm wrong, but to me, the point of the post was very clear.

It is a reminder that you don't have to spend huge money to get into fishing. Or, for that matter, you don't need to spend huge money to fish tournaments.

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I see a little bragging in there but to fish with the big boys so to speak and finish in the top 3 is quite a good job and you deserve to be able to toot your own horn or pat yourself on the back.

To do it on a budget is even more rewarding, as for the boat, saftey is always the first thing to think about but at the same time it's not the boat that wins tourny's you do.

There are advantages and disadvantages to owning a fast boat and a boat like yours it all comes down to how much you enjoy what you do with what you have and not giving a second thought to what others have also worked hard for as well.

So what if others were born with a silver spoon in their mouth and can get the finer things in life thats not the point, the point is you did your best and in my opinion came up a winner.

Weather your on a budget or not fishing is just fishing, stay sharp be safe and have fun and soon you will be on top of one of those tourny's.

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I got 3 swimbaits in the mail yesterday (& a new Rage rod :} ). all over $20 EACH! I went fishing for a few minutes after that & left them at home. I was afraid I'd loose them.

In my defense My last boat had a 200hp on it & the one I have now has an 18hp.

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There are advantages and disadvantages to owning a fast boat and a boat like yours it all comes down to how much you enjoy what you do with what you have and not giving a second thought to what others have also worked hard for as well.

Yep. There is a place for all boats. That is why they were built in the first place.

I don't have a sparkly rocket, but a bigger Deep V aluminum boat, and I wish I had room, and $$$$ for either a Jon boat, or smaller V bottom to fish a couple rivers that I like to fish.

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if you fish any local tourneys here in WVa. beware of the old dudes you fish against who are fishing outa old beat up bass trackers that look like they are on their last leg........they will hand you your hat......... seen it done many times ;):D

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First off, congrats on the 3rd place in your tournament. I agree with you that you don't have to be a millionaire with the best stuff to be a good fisherman. Just look at Gerald Swindle, he came from nothing and now he's one of the best anglers in the world.

On the other hand you can't hold it against people who buy the pricey new gadgets and the big expensive boats. It may not make them a better angler but it's what they love to do so they're going to spend their money on that passion. I personally am just a broke college student but I love to fish and I love gear so I spend most every dollar on tackle and equipment. My step dad says that won't help you catch fish when I walk in with a new $200 Quantum reel, but it makes me feel good and it sure beats the hell out of my old P.O.S. Shakespeare spinning reel. Also, if you believe that your gear is holding you back then that's going to affect you mentally. Now that I have the best gear I'm one hundred percent sure that the only thing keeping those hogs outta my live well is going to be my inability. This way I focus more on fishing and making the perfect cast rather than whether or not my reel is going to lock up on me or my rod's going to snap.

Anyway we're all just trying to go out and spend what little time we have enjoying something we love. Whether you have a cane pole and a coffee can full of worms, or a graphite stick that weighs less than the $20 rapala you're throwin, I think the point is to have fun and keep those lines tight.

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