The air temperature just broke 70 degrees for the first time in months, and you know what that means: it’s time to buy a spool of new fishing line. And a bag of hooks, and a new fishing rod, and a new spinning reel, and, and, and…
Wait a sec—this is all wrong. You won’t need to buy just one of these items. You’ll need to purchase a big batch of each, in assorted shapes and sizes. So before you break out that wad of cash you’ve been saving up (hiding from your significant other) all winter, read on. We're going to make sure you get the most for your money by sharing these five tips.
Tackle Buying Tip #1: Shop the Internet. Note I said “shop,” not necessarily “buy”. It’s fine to buy tackle online, but you need to be 100-percent sure you’re getting what you think you’re getting. Many manufacturers use different systems of measurement, and it can be hard to figure out if that #6 swivel is bigger than or smaller than the other guy’s #8. When you’re doing research on tackle on-line, steer away from suppliers that merely re-print the manufacturer’s blather and look for sites that offer unique reviews and information about the products. And, of course, price matters—the less you pay for one item, the more money you’ll have left for others. Also, make sure you go with a reputable shop that will talk to you on the phone, and fix the problems that may arise. One of my favorites is Alltackle, because a real human answers their phones, and will be happy to help you figure out what’s what before you buy.
Tackle Buying Tip #2: Buy in bulk. I am not talking about getting the large bag of hook, instead of the small one—I’m talking about buying the crate of hooks. Not only will you save money in the long run, you’ll also have to re-order less often. Plus, you’ll be the envy of the neighborhood, soon as word gets out about the tackle warehouse in your basement.
Tackle Buying Tip #3: Never buy a rod before you've held it, and felt its weight and action first-hand. Invariably, you’ll wish it was a little heavier, or a little lighter, or a little faster, or a little slower. (For some in-depth tips on choosing fishing rods, watch our video on How to Choose the Best Spinning Rod.)
Tackle Buying Tip #4: Buy in the off-season. This may not help you much at the moment, but keep it in mind for the future. Tackle outlets discount their off-season inventory, just as clothing stores discount their winter parkas when spring arrives. Right now is a great time to buy ice fishing tackle, for example. And come November, you should stock up on gear that you’ll need in August.
Tackle Buying Tip #5: Never buy reels with monofilament pre-spooled. You don’t know how long that line’s been on there, and (especially when buying relatively inexpensive combo rigs) it may be left over from last season. Line that’s been sitting on a reel for that long can have tons of memory, and if it’s been exposed to sunlight, may be considerably weaker than it once was—monofilament has a limited life-span and can be compromised by UV rays. Make sure you get the most out of your line, by having it spooled up fresh.
There you have it, folks, five tackle buying tips that will help you get through the spring. Now get out there, and buy! Buy! Buy!