revisiting the “Any Fool Can Catch Fish Guide”…

A while back a reader asked me what sort of handline rig I’d suggest using while cruising in the Caribbean and I told him that the gear outlined in the “Any Fool Can Catch Fish Guide… Basic Kit” post would be a good place to start.

Not too long afterwards he got back to me, thanking me for my advice and mentioned that while he was happy with the kit he’d assembled, he had been a little surprised at just how expensive it had become. Which, because I’m a cheap seats kind of guy and the kit in the post reflects that, the word “expensive” got me curious.

So, I went back to the post to see how it would price out it today.

First off, there’s the two hand-lines (one hundred-foot line and one fifty-foot line) wound up on something or other. Since yoyos seem to be the most readily available option, I went with them. Line (100 pound test 1/4 pound spool which equals 135 yards) was $5.00 and a couple of 6-inch yoyos is about four bucks.

Next there’s the terminal tackle which in this case are barrel snap swivels that will set you back a kiss less than $9.00 for a dozen. The lures in the kit…

  1. Squid lure @ $6

  2. Rapala clone diving lure @ $5

  3. Doorknob lure @ $6

  4. Cedar Plug @ $5

  5. Hootchie @ $6

Which adds up to 28 bucks.

All together that leaves us with a grand total of $46.

So, where does expensive come into it?

The reader in question went to a purveyor of bespoke fishing tackle where the list turned into a jumping off point for a lot of, shall we say, expensive gear that does the same thing and got somewhat super-sized.

For instance, my suggestion of  six-inch $1.99 yoyos was up-sized to the larger nine-inch yoyos which is non-problematic other than being too bulky but will become a budget factor when we talk about line.

My go to for spooling a handline is 100-pound test line and keeping the amount of line to fifty or one hundred feet. A nine-inch yoyo is serious overkill. Apparently the fishing shop in question suggested using a much heavier (200-pound test) high-tech line and suggested that the yoyos be spooled to capacity. This decision alone added $160 to the price of the kit.

Then there are the lures… Apparently the salesperson at the store pointed out that just five lures could not possibly cover all of a fisherman’s needs in the Caribbean so they put together a very impressive quiver of pretty awesome lures with a couple of “Lure Kits” which totaled nearly five-hundred dollars.

I won’t bother to go into all the other fishing gear (spreaders, paravanes, flashers, and suchlike) that was part of the bill because it’s beyond It’s the basic bare bones kit I laid out.

The thing is, and I speak from personal experience, that it’s easy to throw money at stuff and walking out of a store with a big bag of purchases totaling $700 bucks when you thought you’d only be spending  $50. Been there, done that, and got overcharged for the T-shirt as well.

I’ll admit that the kit as described in the “Any Fool Can Catch Fish Guide… Basic Kit” post IS a very basic kit. It’s enough of a kit to get started and, as time went on, you’d be able to add gear as needed to expand your quiver as your skills improved with experience. Sure, there’s stuff I did not include which, in hindsight, maybe I should have, but the bottom line is that the basic kit outlined in the post will actually catch fish. Considering the paltry sum it takes for you to put one together, it would pay for itself if you catch a Mahi or Tuna with the outrageous prices that fresh fish go for today.

Going through costing out the kit I also noticed that the prices are even less expensive than when I originally posted it which was a pleasant surprise.

Over the years I’ve changed some ways I think about the skills and gear needed for fishing and, in the not-too-distant-future, I plan to do an updated Any Fool Can Catch Fish series. I’m pretty sure I’ll be putting together a few kits for sale that will fit inside a Flat Rate Priority box so you don’t have to chase down all the bits or worry about predatory salespeople hooking you for a $700 kit when you’re looking for something that costs a lot less.

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