Be cheap, have fun

Recently I was at a local establishment discussing a fishing adventure with a few patrons. The discussion drifted to the topic of how expensive it is to participate in fishing; of how the skyrocketing costs have driven many of these fine folks away from the sport.

Then it hit me, like a bucket of ice being dropped down my pants. These guys were full of baloney! The fishing trip I just had cost me about 5 bucks.

I then droned on about how truly affordable it is to fish, but these guys had already bought into the concept that it costs thousands and thousands to get involved. Whether it's an $800 rod or $20 swimbait, these people believed fishing has become a rich person's sport.

Frankly, the way sport fishing is promoted by some of the high-profile taxpayer funded foundations through various ad campaigns and some television programs showing exotic hosts in a land far-far away, it sure seems to the non-angler it costs an arm and a leg to get involved. The good news is it doesn't.

Although I love zipping around in my bass boat, I have a special love for wading and fishing from the bank. There is something about getting into the environment where my quarry lives.

Plus, frankly, it's way more affordable than loading the boat full of gas. Most of you have these types of fishing options in your neighborhood or close by.

Here's the dollar and cents part of it. Whether you currently fish or are thinking about trying it out, all you need are a few basics. The gear I'm talking about here is for bass fishing, but you can customize your tackle based on your pursuits.

This season, I used an old rod and reel combo that brand new retailed for $100. I used one bag of tubes (50 tubes per bag), a few bags of Chigger Craws, a couple spools of line, a bag of worm hooks, bullet weights, several crankbaits I've had for years.

The same goes for spinnerbaits and topwaters. All in all I spent about fifty bucks on new gear for the year. For that meek investment I've averaged two days of fishing per week in my waders since April. I plan on continuing this journey well into the fall.

Now, I'm not saying not to purchase that high-end rod and reel combo or not to go blasting down a lake or river in your boat, not at all. I just feel that as a group, the fishing industry has missed a great opportunity to keep people fishing and bring more folks into the sport.

Instead of showing everyone how easy it is to slip into a pair of waders and slide into a river to chase bass, too often what is shown in print and on TV are the uber-high end fishing rigs and the exotic fantasy locations.

Ignore all that stuff. Look to your own home area. Find a body of water. Purchase a pair of waders and some basic tackle. Be cheap and have fun.

Dave and Kristin Landahl host The Fishing Fanatics, www.TheFishingFanatics.com, radio show on ESPN radio affiliate AM 1360 WLBK in northern Illinois Thursday evenings from 6-7 PM Central time. You can also tune in to hear The Fishing Fanatics at www.1360wlbk.com and check them out at www.walleyecentral.com