Budget-Minded Products for Improved Fishing



Like many hobbies, fishing can be an expensive… but it doesn’t have to be. As you get more and more into any hobby, your interest in higher-end gear usually intensifies. Racing bikes can cost thousands, a top-quality set of golf clubs can dent any budget, and if you want a good softball bat with double-barrel construction, it can run into the hundreds of dollars.

It’s the same with the fishing industry: High-end fishing rods can cost $400 and up, high-end fishing reels can run upwards of $800-$1,000, baits can cost upwards of $40 and more… and that’s not even mentioning the cost of some electronics that are way out there in the $1,000s.

For someone just entering the fishing industry or wanting to try their hand at the sport, high prices can be barriers to entry. However, you don’t have to jump in and purchase the most expensive products to have fun fishing.

In an era where a lot of companies seem to be targeting the higher-end fishing consumer with their new products, it’s nice to see that some companies are still trying to focus on newcomers to the industry, with budget-friendly products for budget-friendly fisherman.



About a month ago, I was invited down to Tulsa, Okla., during the Bassmaster Classic, by the Navico/Lowrance group to view a new entry-level product in their lineup. Lowrance, whose main offices reside in Tulsa, used to have an Eagle electronics line for entry-level consumers. They have since brought back the Eagle lineup of “fishfinders” and have integrated some of the company’s latest, higher-end features into the new entry-level lineup.

With newly designed high-definition enhanced sonar, implementing their FishReveal technology and detailed C-MAP charting, the new Eagle brand was developed to make fishing easier and more enjoyable; and simply to help anglers find and catch more fish. New transducers like Lowrance’s new TripleShot and SplitShot transducers offer improved clarity, depth and sensitivity, with better quality SideScan and DownScan imaging and higher resolution images of fish-holding structure, plus better bottom reading for interpreting and spotting fish.

The idea doesn’t quite go against more serious anglers purchasing their top-end user products of HDS Pro and Elite units, which offer more to the fishing consumer with forward-facing sonar capabilities, multi touch screens, sonar chart overlays, and more. But it makes the case for bringing back the simplicity of fishing while allowing all consumers access to some of Lowrance’s top-end features in order to have a more enjoyable and successful day on the water.

Some key features of the Eagle are the new reliable twist-lock connector system for easy installation and use, along with an IPS screen that offers improved resolution, clarity and visibility, in direct sunlight—even with polarized sunglasses. They also included their detailed pre-loaded C-MAP charts of over 17,000 American lakes, and auto-tuning sonar providing optimal settings from the start. It makes things easier and can be less intimidating to average fishermen at a price point that won’t break the bank.

Fenwick Lifestyle Shoot for Pure Fishing



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Rods can be confusing. With the amount of rod makers out there, how do you decide which is a good one? Most rods are based on feel; what feels best and most comfortable to the consumer is usually the best choice. Yes, there is a big difference between rods once you learn some of the nuances of fishing, but a beginner might not notice them as much, and might not need to absorb the cost of those differences.

Fenwick rod company is helping anglers grow into the sport cost-effectively. Just last fall, Fenwick completely revamped their entire lineup, introducing four new Fenwick rod series and over 260 models. Fenwick has a terrific history of innovation, and this new lineup abandoned its previous line by designing an entirely new, tip-to-butt, ground-up build of rods that deliver above and beyond what they thought possible. These new series, just like Lowrance’s electronics, allow anglers at any level, whether new or advanced, to have access to similar actions and higher-end innovations in lower-cost models.

The new Fenwick line-up consists of Eagle, HMG, Elite and World Class models. While each of the series focuses on the correct weight, balance and sensitivity with various rod components, each also features the same flex and action of rods in each series. So, for instance, a 7-foot ML spinning rod in the Eagle series would have the same length and action, and would fish the same, as the other three higher-end series. They call this the Fenwick “Family Flex” feature. Each specific rod model in the series has the same rod action and flex, with the differences being slightly higher quality, lightness and sensitivity of rod components as you get into the higher-end models.

One of the ideas behind the “Family Flex” design is that you can start with a lower-cost rod like the Eagle and gradually grow up into the higher-end models as you progress into the sport. Each series will fish the same, and as you move up in series, you won’t feel like you have to relearn the action of the rod all over again. Another key aspect of Family Flex is that if you don’t use a specific type of rod very often (say you’re more of a spinning rod fisherman than a casting rod angler), you can buy the lower-priced series for one particular technique and purchase higher-end models for your favorite and most-used techniques.


Fishing line

Fishing lines have beome a larger part of the fishing expense in recent years. And rightly so, as it is probably the most important part of the fishing setup due to its connectivity of the lure to the rod, and ultimately the fisherman. It is also what brings the fish into the boat.

Monofilament line, still the most popular type of fishing line, is less expensive than other lines, stretches to absorb shocks, and is abrasion resistant. However, braided line has become the “go to” for finesse-type fishing situations, among other techniques, due to the no-stretch quality, its sensitivity on bites, and transmission of feel to the angler.

Braided lines cost more than their monofilament counterparts. One of the newest characteristics in braided lines is multi-strand lines. Braided line is a series of strands called “carriers” that are woven together to form the line. The more strands or carriers that are braided together, the smoother the line will be. The less carriers, the more abrasion resistant the line will be. So, just as with monofilament, you should choose the type of line based on the type of fishing that you do. If you’re casting more in open water, a smoother line would be a better choice than a more abrasion-resistant line. And if fishing around cover, the opposite would apply.

Many fishing industry companies are making fishing lines; one in particular has designed a braid that is smooth, abrasion resistant, casts really well, and is also one of the most affordable on the market. Yo-Zuri’s new SuperBraid comes in four colors and many sizes for a variety of fishing situations. Available in 4- and 8-carrier strand, there is a hi-vis yellow which is great for finesse fishing and seeing strikes and bites; the industry standard dark green color for freshwater and many applications; blue for coastal and Great Lakes fishing; and white for a natural presentation.

For jig fishing and finesse presentations like Ned rigging, drop-shotting, wacky worming and now even power fishing techniques, I like to team braided lines with fluorocarbon leaders for the benefit of feeling the bites much better, along with an invisible leader resistant to bite-offs and sharp snags. Try spooling on some braided line to increase your catch this summer.

The right gear doesn’t necessarily mean the most expensive gear. Getting involved with fishing and learning how to use your gear properly is usually the better ticket.