Like many other hobbies and sports, fishing can get really expensive. This is especially true if you get serious about fishing and start investing a lot of time into it.
One of the great things about fishing for catfish is that you can get by without a ton of fishing tackle and gear and you don’t have to buy a lot of super high end equipment. Your’e also not spending money on fishing lures that costs several dollars a piece (or more) that are being thrown in the water and then lost or broken.
Though you can get started and even get serious about fishing for catfish and do so without buying a ton of tackle and gear it still adds up and it adds up quickly.
If you start investing in different rods and reels for different techniques, outfitting a catfish boat and buying separate gear for blue catfish, channel catfish and flathead catfish you can quickly end up spending a lot of money.
Part of not falling into this trap is making good decisions and not making one of the five rookie catfishing mistakes of thinking that buying more gear and more expensive gear is going to start putting fish on the end of your line.
One of the keys to success is figuring out what you really need, not buying stuff that you don’t and when you find the right gear, buy it at the right price.
One of the questions I am constantly asked is about how to get the best deals on catfish tackle. I’m cheap and don’t like wasting money, spending money on items that are not necessary or overpaying for items. I don’t have an issue spending money on something if it does what it supposed to do and will last for a long time but outside of that, all bets are off. When you start using more and more fishing tackle this gets even more important.
The area where I live (Dallas/Fort Worth) is ranked in the top 10 largest cities in the United States and there are tackle and sporting good stores everywhere. Despite the presence of tackle and sporting goods stores it is still very difficult to find the catfish tackle items I use and when the local stores do have these items they rarely have enough in stock to last me a week.
Driving around in a big Chevrolet truck that burns a ton of gas and wasting time in traffic adds to the expense of the tackle so I have found over the years that I am better off buying online in bulk and having these items shipped to me.
I’d gladly support the local retailers if they had the right quantities of the right items at the right price when I needed them but I have never found such a store so I buy online.
Buying online saves me a LOT of money.
I get most of my tackle through Amazon.com, through Bass Pro Shops and direct from Team Catfish.
The only time I typically buy anything locally in a retail store is when I make a mistake and run out of something and this usually involves going to three or four different stores to get enough of one single item to get through a short period of time.
Money Saving Tips For Buying Catfish Tackle
To get the best deals and save money, here are some tips:
1. Buy as many items as you can to “bundle” your purchases. Don’t buy hooks, and then swivels and other various items and spread them out over multiple orders. Order as many items as you can in one purchase and consolidate shipping.
2. Always look at Amazon.com when shopping for tackle. They have shipping centers all over the United States and have super fast shipping and excellent customer service. Amazon will not have everything you need but they have many of the items you’ll use on a regular basis. I make many of my online purchases through Amazon (for fishing tackle and other items) because they always do a great job and they typically have great pricing.
3. Sign up for an Amazon Prime Membership. With Amazon Prime you pay $79 for a one year membership and you get free shippingon all Amazon Prime eligible items. You can also pay an extra $3.99 on prime eligible purchases for one day shipping. Not all purchases are eligible for prime shipping but many are and it saves a ton of money over the course of the year (especially if you buy more than fishing items from Amazon). You can learn all about this on their Amazon Prime Membership information page.
Buy In Bulk
4. When possible buy in bulk packages or larger quantities. There are many examples of this but It’s cheaper to buy in bulk than it is to buy consumer packaging. If you absolutely must have the pretty little packages of hooks and tackle items with the logos and labels on them you can certainly buy them that way but you’re going to pay more for them. If you’re like me then your’e just going to take all those little packages, open toss them after you dump the tackle in your working tackle box.
Here are some great examples that I encountered recently:
Slotted Foam Peg Floats:
It’s cheaper to buy a bulk pack of 100 peg floats (for Santee Cooper Rigs) than it is to buy a bunch of small consumer packages with 4 floats in them for $2 each. I recently purchased a package of 100 slotted foam peg floats for $31.00 which works out to .31 cents each. Those very same floats in a consumer package of 6 at one of the “big box” stores were $3.29 for a package of 6 which works out to .55 cents each.
I used two bags of 100 (200 total) slotted foam peg floats in a three month period earlier this year. Had I bought the consumer packages instead of the bulk packages I would have paid $48 more for the same product in the same time period.
No Roll Sinkers:
I usually keep at least a hundred or so “spare” 2 ounce no roll sinkers on hand. I had a bad run of losing tackle in March during the spring blue catfish action and burned through a lot of sinkers really quickly. I thought I had plenty in my “spare” storage and when I went to get them I remembered I had given them to a friend that needed them and he never replaced them.
This left me running around from store to store trying to find 2 ounce no roll sinkers because I had to have them the next morning. In the end I found them but I paid $6.49 for a package of no roll sinkers with 4 in the package. This breaks down to $1.62 for each sinker. I bought only what I needed to get by for a day or two (and I was fuming mad the whole way home).
I then went to my normal buying process for sinkers and ordered the 2 ounce no roll sinkers here on eBay. I contacted a seller who had these weights for sale for $28 for a bag of 75 with free shipping and told him I wanted three bags. He cut the price to $22 a bag with free shipping which breaks down to .29 cents for each one.
I’ll go through these sinkers fast but for the sake of working with some nice round numbers let’s say that you are going to use 100 of these two ounce no roll sinkers in the course of a year. You can buy them from “overpriced no roll sinkers r-us” and those 100 sinkers are going to cost you $162.00. Those very same 2 ounce no roll sinkers bought here on eBay would cost you a grand total of $29 so you just saved $133.00 over the course of 100 sinkers.
The same is true for many other tackle items like hooks and swivels.
Sign Up and Buy Low
5. Watch for free shipping deals at Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s and other “big box” stores. Sign up for their mailing lists online and get their weekly sale ads and watch for deals. They run them all the time and you can expect to save money on shipping at the very least. In addition of the big box store you shop at has a loyalty program sign up for it and start collecting points.
Get Lead On LeadBay
6. When buying fishing weights (sinkers) buy them in bulk and buy them through eBay (I call it leadbay). I have shopped everywhere over the years for sinkers and eBay consistently has the best prices for sinkers. Buy in bulk and you will save. You can also contact sellers through eBay and ask them to bundle purchases and shipping to get better deals. You can find every single type and size of fishing sinker needed on eBay.
Get more information on catfish tackle and gear check out the free ebooks Catfish Gear 1o1 and Catfish Tackle 101. These books walk you through everything you need to know about rods, reels and catfish tackle so you can increase your success on the water and catch more and bigger catfish on your next fishing trip!
How do you save money on catfish tackle and gear? I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below and let me know!