Thrifty Fishing – 5 Tips To Help You Hit The Bank On A Budget

These days fishing gear is not cheap! Sort yourself out with a few rods, some tackle, a couple of reels, hooks and a kettle. You won’t have much change in your pocket to fill your motor with unleaded to get you home.

Reading about the top dogs with their 5kg of premier baits, power boats, full camo and barrows that cost more than my first Vauxhall Nova, I realised that there must be many people out there who are in the same situation as me. SKINT!

My names Luke also known as “Minty”, I’m a local lad to Dorset and started fishing at a very young age with hand me downs of rusty tackle and rods that were classed as antiques. Having an angling break in my late teens I got back into it at twenty one with an aim to catch a bigger carp than my fellow carping buddies. Mission completed at Todber Manor with a 23lb 12oz beauty, may I add.

During my university years, I found myself in hard times, the credit crunch had hit and prioritising my money was no easy feat.

I now own a great deal of kit that any angler would be proud of, yet all of it bought on a budget. I’m a sucker for a good bargain and you’ll rarely see me pay full price for any of my fishing tackle. So if you want to stock up on a few extras this year, without feeling the pain, here are my top 5 tips to get the gear you want without breaking the bank.

1) eBay

I usually start with a wish list, write down all the items you want in your armoury. By doing this you know exactly what you need and will help you from being distracted by a magic hook tying gadget for 99 pence delivered from china, or a free tackle box when you buy a pack of hooks that will only fit the mouth of a tiger shark.

I tend to buy a lot of second hand equipment, but as if you were buying new, do your research and hunt for reviews on the Internet. Ask people in angling forums what is best and what they feel about certain products. Having a product that has been tried and tested may sway what you buy.

Don’t forget to ask the seller questions, explain your situation and you will usually get an honest answer. Bid low and set an alarm to ensure you swoop in with the winning bid. Also watch out for those delivery costs. Sometimes on an auction they are easy to miss when you get caught up in the excitement of bidding.

The best tip is to set yourself a budget, including the delivery price and stick to it. If you find that you are losing out, then at least you can make a decision whether to raise it or not, rather than pay over the odds for something and regret it later.

One final little dodge worth remembering on eBay is to take a note of the ending times of listings. Ask any eBay seller and they will tell you that Thursday is the worst night for selling and that if their auction ending clashes with the Champions League final, they will sell at a low price. Knowing this, check for listings that are ending either during working hours, on a Thursday or during a popular TV programs. Trust me, you’ll save anything from 10-20% by capitalising on sellers mistakes.
ebay fishing listing
2) Gumtree

I have used this method on many occasions and have come up trumps with the gear I have bought. This is a more friendly approach to buying; it gives you the chance to see what like minded people are selling, giving you the opportunity to do a little “Del Boy” style bartering.

It’s like the Free ad papers used to be, predominantly local but with the added advantage that most people have their email or mobile details on their listing.

This way you can haggle by text or email, makes it loads easier.

Again, as with eBay, set yourself a price and stick to it. It’s very easy to look to buy a new comfy chair but end up with a bed and two rods for “only 60 quid more mate”. It may seem a bargain at the time but it may be a decision you regret at a later date. Again write a list and stick to it!

One final thing to remember with Gumtree is that if you send a text, email or make a phone call offering a price and the person agrees, you should really do the right thing and buy it.

To ask, “Will you take £50″ and have them say “Yes” only for you to turn around and say “I’ll think about it” is not good business. So go in a little bit cheeky to start with and try to work the deal. If something is up for £80, try offering £50 and see if you can work a deal around £60-£65

If they want to sell it and you want to buy it, there is always a deal to be done

Selling for £60 - Offer them £45 and see what happens
Selling for £60 – Offer them £45 and see what happens

3) Friends and family.

Many anglers will have friends or family who fish also. See what gear you have spare and offer it about, trade with your friends and set a deal that makes you both happy.

I recently went to a carp show and wanted some 12mm white pop ups as well as a pot of pink ones. A friend and I bought a pot each and shared them out equally giving us both colours. Allowing us to try two methods of angling for half the price.

The use of major social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are very helpful too. Using this method will also help with reviews on tackle and can also provide valuable info on the build quality of a product and whether it does what it says on the tin. IPhone apps are also a great way to get to know fellow anglers and trade your unused tackle for some other gems.

One man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure.

4) Car Booties

I’m a big fan of car booties. Admittedly the amount of angling equipment has shrunk over the past few years, with people now turning to eBay to sell everything but the dog and the kitchen sink (although some do sell the kitchen sink too).

But when you do find some equipment hidden under the burnt out cheese toaster and the wooden figurine of an animal that no one can describe, grab it and grab it with both hands.

Otherwise some other bargain hunter will snap it out of your hands before you have even blown away the dust. It’s a dog eat dog world out there in car boot land, eagle eyed traders and eBayers are always on the search for something cheap to sell on, so if you find something, keep it to yourself.

Items found at a booty are usually one of two things.

1) The Old manky’s.

Tackle with huge hooks and barbs on them the size of my nose. Grotty reels that are trying to be sold as antiques or an orange tackle box with a complimentary broken hinge that’s only good for the collection of old nuts and bolts to be stored at the back of the shed. You will find that there is a lot of sea fishing equipment for sale all of which it still very cheap but not ideal for a keen coarse/carp angler.

2) The gems!

This gear is sometimes very blatant to see, Green bags, holdalls and wellies. Usually sold by a chap who started fishing a few years back, spent all his allowance down the local tackle shop and now “just does not have the time”. “The kids” is another common excuse, there is only solution, sell the kids! But I think that illegal.

Love this person, for he has probably been pestered by his wife to “sell that fishing junk you never use” and he may well be under orders not to return home without it being sold. He will of course move on to a different fad and in two years time will be selling his mountain bike equipment… It was the dream of being the next Bradley Wiggins that got him!

Look in pockets (not his, but his fishing bags), open zips and have a feel about for hidden surprises. I recently found a small leather wallet full of top brand hooks to nylon for 50 pence, these had a recommended retail price of over 25 quid. Bargain!

A lot of car booters will be reluctant to split their tackle and would rather sell it whole with an aim to make more dosh. Don’t be afraid to barter, but don’t take the mickey! You know you have a good deal when both buyer and seller are happy.

Make sure you inspect stuff close up - Look at the detail.
Make sure you inspect stuff close up – Look at the detail.

5) Discounts and Vouchers.

With the UK still gripped in economic sludge, it’s a prime time to make the most of discounts and vouchers that top companies are falling over themselves to dish out.

An example is the angling magazines. They usually give you a freebie stuck to the front, but inside is where you will find the real goodies.

Lots of companies, selling items at a very competitive price. Beware as the price does not usually include postage, so maybe link up with a friend to share the postage and save a few extra quid. But again remember your list and stick to it! Don’t get lured in by those beautiful pictures of big men with big carp, buy only what you need.

If you’re a member of an angling club or society, ask your local shop if they will offer discount to all members. I work for a highly respected health organisation that has many members of staff and a few budding anglers. I have been known to approach tackle shops asking if they will offer discount to all staff with an ID.

If they feel it’s a good deal they will usually give you something in return! It may seem cheeky but it helps all my fellow colleagues cash in on the discount.
To conclude, use my 5 tips and make your money go further. Whether it’s wangling a deal down the booty or stalking a bid on the Internet, find a price that suits your wallet. Most of all respect your seller and understand that often they will be making a loss on an item. If they think it’s going to a good home, trust me, they will be happier to move on price.

The golden rule of course is, it’s only a bargain if you need it. Buying something cheap just because it was cheap is a waste, so make that list folks!

Enjoy buying everyone!

See you on the bank.


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I'm a Dorset born and bred 28 year old angler who likes mixing things up on the bank. Float, feeder, top and bottom, I will give it all a try. I am not after the biggest in the lake but will appreciate a lump if it came along. I like to keep things simple, have a bit of banter and support other anglers where I can. I am also one half of the Fishing UK app team

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About Luke Webb 1 Article
I'm a Dorset born and bred 28 year old angler who likes mixing things up on the bank. Float, feeder, top and bottom, I will give it all a try. I am not after the biggest in the lake but will appreciate a lump if it came along. I like to keep things simple, have a bit of banter and support other anglers where I can. I am also one half of the Fishing UK app team

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