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"At What Cost"
by Jeff Miller

Anglers Edge Outfitters
Providing the Ultimate Fishing Experience

 As I set here at my desk pondering my next fishing excursion I have to wonder when the cost of fishing will exceed my budget.  Budget?  What budget?  You mean you need a budget to fish now.  I can remember not long ago when fishing was not this expensive.  With crude oil prices continuing to climb the average angler who would spend a $100 to fill up his or her boat and truck for a weekend getaway is now averaging $150 to $200 or even more.  The problem is not just at the pump, what most people don’t realize is that petroleum products are used in just about every form of fishing lure.  Have you noticed the price of your lures getting higher.  I have.  From skirts on spinnerbaits and jigs, to crankbaits, and yes even your favorite soft plastic baits are all made with petroleum products.  To some this might be a surprise to others this is nothing new.

I am fortunate I get paid to take people out on fishing adventures.  I have been guiding now for 10 years and have been blessed with continued growth.  However this past year has really opened my eyes to the toll crude oil prices have taken on my business.  My bookings are down for the first time since I began.  At first I was perplexed about this, I thought maybe I wasn’t providing what people were looking for or worst, maybe I was no good.  So I set out to discover what the problem was.  I began asking anglers every chance I got how much time on the water they were spending this year vs. last year.  “No I am not on the water as much this year” was the typical reply.  The reasons varied but at least 50% of those I polled told me it was due to gas prices and tackle expenses.  However this still did not answer my question of why my bookings were down.  So I called some past clients, who had booked with me multiple times, to poll them.  My basic question was simple, “Are you going on any guided fishing trips this year?”  To my surprise around 50% of them said no.  They could not afford the luxury because rising gas prices had taken away their extra income.   It had finally set in with me.  On one hand I was happy that it was not my ability but on the other hand I was sad at the reality of the lost business.  You see I have really never had to budget for fishing because that is what I do for a living but now I was going to have to start watching what I spent on tackle, tournaments, gas, etc...

The question is; Do you have a budget?  Are you watching what you are spending on fishing.  The average fisherman spends annually about $1200 a year on fishing related items.  If you are a tournament angler and you fish a local trail around your house you are probably spending 5 times that a year (entry fees, hotels, dinner, boat expenses, etc...).  Now couple that with gas prices that have climbed a dollar a gallon over the past year and you just developed a recipe for disaster.  With the recent admission by some anglers on the BASS Elite Trail about going broke to chase a life long dream it makes me wonder where are peoples priorities.  Don’t get me wrong.  I have the same dreams and aspirations as most tournament anglers.  There is not much that would make me happier then to stand on a stage and be crowned the next Bassmaster Classic Champion.  However the reality is I have bills to pay and the last time I checked the banks and credit unions could care less if I am chasing a dream they just want their money.  So do you have a budget or are you putting yourself further in debt.  If you have budgeted then my hats off to you if you are not budgeting your fishing then maybe its time you take a look at what cost are you willing to play the game.  Food for thought.  Good Luck out there and God Bless.

 Jeff Miller
Anglers Edge Outfitters
The Ultimate Fishing Experience