tex.gif (10333 bytes)


Texas Fishermen
A Strange Bunch!


Question: Name a hobby where the participants spend literally thousands of dollars a year enjoying said hobby??? Right off the bat several come to mind, for instance Scuba Diving and Golf. Both hobbies take a fair amount of original expense to get started. And both hobbies have exotic settings in far off location for their participants to enjoy actually doing their hobbies. While neither hobby really offers anything substantial for the hobbyist of these particular hobbies. Golf you may get to keep a scorecard of a nice round, or if you're a betting man make a few dollar on the links. While the Scuba Diver will even come home with less to show for his or her efforts. A few nice memories and a case of swimmers ear or the bends is about all a Diver can hope for from his hobby. But for the most part depending on the frequency of your activities and how well you take care of your equipment. The average diver or golfer may spend a few thousand dollars a year to enjoy his or hers said sport.

Now take the average Saltwater Sport Fishermen on the other hand, a salty bunch of men/women who take their hobby/sport to the extreme in most cases. Depending again on how well they take care of their equipment and frequency of enjoying their hobby, prices may vary widely. But there is no getting over the fact that just in initial investment dollars they tend to leave the other hobbies/sports floundering in their wake so to speak. Usually tripling or quadrupling all other sports with little or no effort. Again, not having much to show for their efforts, a fact that many saltwater fishermen's wife can attest too. Take away the few fish that an angler occasionally catches, the sunburn faces, and hook embedded scared hands and there isn't much to show for this popular hobbyist either. If it weren't for the few and far between trophy trout that they luckily come across on those rare occasions. Taking away those beautiful sunset and sunrises that most people are too busy to see but can make a hard day of fishing all worth while. Minus those out of focus pictures of a bunch of die-hard fishing fanatics holding up a stringing of nice trout with a few flounder and red mixed in for good measure. Then I guess all the fuss of busting you butt against a bay full of chop, with cold saltwater hitting you in the face from a gale force wind, might start to loose it's appeal to most fishing enthusiast.

But the Sport of Saltwater fishing has strange bunch of characters in their mist to say the least. Most will spend between 20 and 30 thousands for their first boats; this number will also increase in years to come when their addiction to the sport increases. Throw in another 20 to 30 thousands for a truck in which to pull the boat, fortunately this number does not increasing as dramatically over the years as in the boats. You will be already looking at more than most people pay for their first house. This is only the tip of the iceberg though. Next is tackle, rod and reel combo's can run several hundred dollars multiplied by an infinite number. Tackle, which is another expensive start up investment, can run another several hundred dollars and which always in need of replacement more in some cases, less in others. Technical equipment is another wallet buster; no self-respecting angler could be caught blind upon the water without these handy little space age devises. And finally the always-present food, gas, bait, and beverage bill. Although it may vary from one fishermen to the next, it presence is always felt, especially at the end of the month when those bills come in.

Wondering just what I spend per pound for each fish that I bring home, got me to doing a little math… Now these are just generalities mind you, the numbers may change dramatically especially in my case since I rarely limit out in one species, and never in all three main categories which we are using as a example. Also the price of your boat, truck, fishing accessories, fishing habits, the list goes on, but this should give you an idea on just how precious those fish you are cleaning actually are. In fact in most cases especially myself the are probably worth their weight in gold. But for example purposes let go with the examples that I came up with.

First we will look at the expense side of the formula. The boat is worth $25,000 dollars in this case; you may add or subtract in your case. For the truck throw in another $30,000, which may be a little high but I hate to break down, especially after a long day of fishing with little to show for my efforts. Equipment, such as rod and reels another additions or subtract category, in my case I have to outfit a small army so a little on the light side, but will do for example purposes. Next is electronics, in my case have about $600.00 invested with depth finder, GPS, and VHF radio. Probably on the cheap side but suit my purposes just fine, although could use something to show where they are actually biting. Next is tackle, which I put at $800.00 which may also be a little high. But since this is a five year study and my young anglers can loose tackle with the best of them, now that I think about it should probably at least double that number… The final equation in this formula is expenses. In this case I came up with $6,000 dollar for 5 years. Averaging a trip a month at $100.00 a trip for food, gas, bait and whatever this is what I came up with. Now the frequency and the amount on money your fishing partner may pitch in will greatly effect this number. But in order to make it simple we will stay with this number. The grand total for a 5-year period of fishing come to the amount of $63,200 dollars. A surprising fact at least to me when I saw it written down on paper… Especially like most of my estimating numbers that I do around this time of year are probably well on the light side if you know what I mean, hopefully not many IRS people are reading this article, just a joke.

Now come the stretching part of this formula, which in my case is a big stretch. Let's say that over the course of this of 5- year study you average a fishing trip a month. Which is about normal for most of us, maybe on the light side for some but about normal. Then lets say on each of those trip you catch your limit in all three major categories of game fish species, namely trout, red and flounder. This is where the stretching really starts. Now lets say in the trout your average fish weights 5 pounds, at ten fish that is 50 pounds, not a bad day, huh. To go along with those nice trout your limit out on reds also, averaging 15 pounds for three fish, no tags please, you come in with a weight of 45 pounds. And they say you aren't good fishermen. Next lets say for example purposes you also limit out that day in the flounder category, with each fish weighing 3 pounds and the total coming out to 30 pounds. The flounder fishing has been off lately, which is the reason the average weights are so low. This brings your total for an average day of fishing to 125 pounds. Multiplied by twelve is 1,500 pounds, over 5 years is 7,500 pounds. Time to get another freezer I would say, but then that would add to the expense total, so forget that idea…

So dividing the total of your expense account by the number of pounds of fish you caught over the 5-year study we came up with $8.43 per pound. A little bit more expensive than your average fish market, but about the same as a fillet of snapper swimming in cheese sauce at your favorite restaurant. And keep in mind as you show these facts to your better half that this is not written in stone. With a little ingenious saltwater fishing technique that I will go over in the next few paragraphs these numbers can change dramatically. Keeping in mind that there is nothing wrong with putting off the occasional fishing trip for a night on the town for some grilled snapper or sailfish, especially when accompanied by some kick ass Margarita's from Pappasitios! With a little work we can get these numbers into a more manageable form for you and your families pocket book…

First and foremost we will have to work on the trip to catch ratio of your fishing expeditions. Easiest trick is to follow a guide out and hone in on his territory when he starts to catch fish. This technique does have some drawbacks though since they are quite adept at casting since they do that for a living. And their accuracy with a broken-back can be deadly if you know what I mean, so only attempt this trick with a thick skinned fishing partner. Next is the Arkansas technique, which includes a stick of dynamite and a good, throwing arm. Those with heart conditions and slow boat should not try this technique. Netting is also an option that works fairly well. Although this will raise the cost in initial investment category, the payback factor will soon be overcompensated for in the offset in the money category. Finally there is the Yahoo fishing technique, which I use to practice in my younger years before I came of legal drinking age? This technique takes nerves of steel, and balls for that matter, especially when your victim is twice your size. Waiting on the dock asks to see catches of fish as fishermen come in from a day of fishing. When they hold up their stringers, steal the fish from them and haul ass to the truck that your accomplice has running for you a short distance away. This technique can be tricky, especially with an older model truck that is not very fast. Or your fishing partner has a tendency to fall asleep at the wheel on occasion.

Next we will take a look at the expense column to change some of them numbers. One option that always works for me in my teen years was gas siphoning. Also borrowing a truck and boat rig on those occasions you decide to go fishing can also subtract from those pesky boat and truck payments which should translate into some significant changes in your pounds of fish to expense ratio. Those not so bold could try buying some cheap oars for the younguns to use to get you from the docks to your fishing holes. This will not only save on the gas bill but is also excellent exercise for those kids that spend too much time watching the TV or playing video games. Finally instead of buying those rod reels and tackle still in the plastic wrapper at the local tackle shop. Spend a couple of Saturday's at the local garage sales in the neighborhood. This is a good place to pick up on some good bargains from those unfortunate anglers that haven't read this article and are not privy on the in and outs of making the sport of fishing work to your advantage.

Hopefully these little tips will help you this coming fishing season, keeping you more on the water and less in the poorhouse. Even if your catch ratio doesn't quite reach the examples we used in this study you can always take solace in the fact there is no price that can be put on a nice relaxing day on the water. Like a wise man once said a day of fishing is always better a day of not fishing. And as the old adage goes you can't take it with you, so enjoy it while you can. Even though you may never reach that pinnacle of sport fishing of limiting out in all three species in a single day. Just remember to become an expert at something no matter what it may be. Practice, practice and more practice is what ever great athlete must do before become a legend…And there is no time like the present. So get out there and siphon some gas and hope to see you on the bay soon! Just be sure not to try Yahoo any of my catches around the docks. Since a full stringer trout for me come few and far between. You may pull back with a bloody stub for your efforts, besides you are not that fast just yet Grasshopper, there is still things for you must learn!!!