Is Fishing An Expensive Hobby To Get Started With?

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If you’re just getting involved with fishing you’ve probably heard a bunch of different opinions about whether or not fishing is an expensive hobby. In this post, I’m going to be talking about all the costs you’ll run into before you can hit the water.

The good and bad news about fishing is that it can cost whatever you want to put into it. It’s entirely possible to get started for around $100 but you could easily spend thousands if you really wanted to. If you want to go out and buy a boat, motor, and top of the line gear, feel free. If you’re just getting started then I’d recommend keeping costs down but the good news is that you don’t need to buy a boat if you don’t want to.

I spend time fishing in a $40,000 boat but I also spend a lot of time fishing from the shore. The only thing you’ll need to get is a fishing rod, fishing line, and the right lures. I’m going to assume you don’t want to spend a fortune so that’s why I’ll be showing you how to get started for as low as possible.

Fishing License

The first thing you’re going to need is a fishing license. It doesn’t matter if you’re going to be keeping fish or just releasing them, you’re going to need a license. It’s not overly expensive and all the money goes to maintaining the water in your area and making sure fish are around.

The average cost of a fishing license is between $20-40 for an annual license. One thing to keep in mind is that you’ll need a separate license for freshwater and saltwater. Most people will probably be sticking to freshwater so you’ll just need one. Depending on where you are, you can get an “all water” license for a little bit more.

All you have to do to get one is Google “(state/province) (freshwater/saltwater) fishing license”. All the info should pop up and it’s pretty easy to go through the steps.

Cost so far: $30 (average).

Fishing Rod

The next thing you’re going to need is a fishing rod and reel. This is where the majority of your money will be spent but the good news is that you don’t need anything too expensive. I’ve caught fish with a $30 rod and I’ve also caught fish with a $300 rod. The differences are small between them and either of them will catch fish.

There are a number of different rods to pick from but I’d probably recommend you get a spinning rod. I like spinning rods because they’re super simple to use and are versatile. You can use them to cast from the shore and you can use them to troll behind a boat.

If you want to keep costs down then I’d recommend the Ugly Stik GX2 from Amazon. It’s definitely not the best rod out there but it’ll do the job when you’re first getting started. I’d go with the 7′ medium option because it’ll be able to handle most of the fish out there. It’s currently around $43 for the rod and reel.

It might not be the perfect option for what you’ll be using it for but I’m trying to set you up with something that can handle whatever you throw at it. If you want to get something a bit more expensive then feel free. The main difference with an expensive rod is it’s more sensitive and the reel is smoother.

Cost so far: $73.

Fishing Line

After that, you’ll need to toss on some fishing line. There are a number of different options you can pick from, but again, I want to recommend something that’s simple and works for all types of fish. What you’ll probably want to get is a spool of braided line and a spool of fluorocarbon line.

If you don’t already know, the three types of fishing lines are braid, fluorocarbon, and monofilament. Each of them is slightly different but you’ll be able to catch fish on any of them. There are certain situations where I’ll use straight fluorocarbon or monofilament, but 90% of the time, I’ll use braid as my main fishing line. I normally use Sufix 832 braid.

I’ll then take 6-8 feet or fluorocarbon and attach it to the end of my braid (Seaguar Red Label is good). Braid is good because it’s strong and casts better but it actually floats and fish can see it. Fluorocarbon will sink and it’s invisible to the fish. Here’s a quick video explaining why this setup works:

The strength of the line you’ll want to use will depend on the fish you’re after. I normally use 20 lb braid and then I’ll adjust my fluorocarbon leader to suit whatever fish I’m after. If I’m after rainbow trout or kokanee, I’ll use 4-6 lb. If I’m after bass or lake trout, I’ll use 12 lb. Use the lightest line you can get away with. Here’s how you attach the two lines together:

If you don’t want to worry about this then you can just use fluorocarbon or monofilament. I like the advantages I get when I use braid and fluoro and I do think it’ll land you more fish. It’s a bit of work when you’re new but it should be worth it.

Cost so far: $100.

Fishing Lures

The final thing you’ll need is to get is some sort of lure/bait. The absolute cheapest setup would be using a hook and digging up some worms. That can work for pretty much all types of fish and might be worth trying out. A lot of it will depend on what fish you’re after and what type of fishing you’re doing (trolling or casting).

What I’ve noticed is that what works today won’t always work tomorrow. It’ll also depend on the time of year and that’s why you’ll have to experiment a lot. Over time, you’ll build up your tackle box and you’ll have a solution for everything. There are a few lures that work well for pretty much everything and that’s why you should start with some of them:

What you’ll want to do is get yourself a tackle box. You could toss all your lures and baits in a plastic bag or something else but a tackle box will work a lot better (plus they can be cheap). Here’s a cheap one on Amazon. You can then grab a few lures from the video above and you’ll be ready to start fishing.

Cost so far: $125 (with 3 lures and tackle box).

So, for just over 100 bucks you could start fishing. Obviously, there’s a lot more than goes into it and you can burn through your paycheck pretty quickly but these are the basics. If you have more money to spend then you could get a fancier rod and reel or you could grab more lures. This $125 setup will catch you fish though.

Until next time, happy fishing. If you want to catch more fish, use more hooks.

Let me know your thoughts and any questions you have. Like this article? Feel free to give it a share!

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Jon Webber

I'm by no means an outdoors or fishing expert, but it's something I've been interested in for over 20 years. I created this site to test out different gear and techniques to see what actually works.

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