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Brad Laabs: Fishing doesn’t have to be an expensive sport

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A great thing about fishing is it doesn’t need to be an expensive pastime. Most fisherman start out very simple with the sport. The more you get into it, the more you may decide to invest in the sport. Most anglers who have significant investments in boats, motors, electric trolling motors, electronics, and hoards of tackle, all started out on the simple and inexpensive side of fishing. Most of us still enjoy our founding roots in the sport as well. To start out, a rod and reel and a little creativity is all that is really required.

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Rods and reels can be inexpensive investments initially, as they can be purchased from rummage sales, garage sales, second hand stores, pawn shops, or discount stores. Tackle can be as simple as some hooks, split shots, bobbers, and a handful of jigs. Bait can be a few bucks for a scoop of crappie minnows, fatheads, or a dozen crawlers or leeches.

Those that want to save money on bait can get crawlers after a rain, earth worms from under rocks or some turned over dirt, or even trap your own minnows.

Artificial baits like spinners, crank baits, and plastics, can save on the long term bait investment as they can be used over and over to catch fish.

You don’t need to own a boat, as fishing can be done from shore or a dock. Shore areas in parks with lakes or rivers are good locations without running the risk of treading on private property. Many public fishing docks have been put on lakes in our area and all over the state just for those that want to fish. Public access areas also offer opportunities for shore and dock fishing. Bridges (both railroad and roadway) that cross rivers and channels can be good areas to check out for shore fishing.

As you can advance and expand your fishing to be from a boat, it doesn’t need to be the newest, biggest and “baddest” boat available. Canoes and kayaks are still inexpensive fishing boats enjoyed by many. Some never feel the need to get a different boat for fishing.

If you bump up to a boat motor and trailer, I suggest you buy small and used. Every new boat owner needs to “cut their teeth” and have their learning curve. Make sure your mistakes with boat ownership are affordable to you and your family. Boats, equipment, and tackle can always be advanced and added to as you grow in the sport and can afford.

Make sure you really like fishing as a hobby, and create opportunities to get out and enjoy it. Don’t overspend for stuff that doesn’t get used (or you’ll end up selling it cheap in a garage sale)!

For those that have been in the sport a long time, remember your roots. Have patience for those that are just getting started. Help out young people, or other fisherman with less resource than you with a small donation of a few jigs or hooks. Left over bait doesn’t need to go to waste and can be given to someone shore fishing at the access. Fishing is about enjoying some of the basic goodness our world has to offer.

(Laabs runs Brad Laabs’ Guide Service in Detroit Lakes.)

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