I had an interesting conversation with a fishing buddy the other day that pretty much defined the quandary a lot of anglers find themselves in these days. The question was: How many types of fish can you really pursue with the time, money and equipment each of these individual disciplines require?
So you want to try to get in on the bite for some tasty kokanee as well as possibly get out into the ocean for the salmon opener, then pivot back over to the Delta for the striper run? Maybe you like to also fish for sharks and halibut in the Bay, but you don’t want to miss the big swimbait bite for bass at Clear Lake either? Did we forget the sturgeon and albacore runs? Yikes, it’s a tough decision that depends on the year and the conditions – for starters.
Let’s just say that you like to go after just a few of the fish I mentioned. Each of those pursuits usually takes some pretty specific and expensive tackle if you’re going to play the game the right way. Most anglers who do this have invested some big bucks, and they usually have piles in their garage for each species they have found to be critical to any success. I’ve seen anglers who have multiple piles of gear in their garage that’s brought out as each bite takes place.
My buddy was complaining about how expensive it was to have to buy heavy-duty two-speed reels for sharks, as well as the heavy line, connectors, hooks, weights and swivels he used, not to mention the special rods. How about just the gas cost to pull the boat up to the Bay Area – and we didn’t mention the bait expense. That’s some pretty heavy investment that your spouse might not appreciate, especially if it means putting the kitchen remodel on hold!
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Did I mention the other fish he also chases that require a whole other type of boat, and all the gear and lures are completely different on all levels. There are literally no crossovers where one thing can serve another species fishing needs.
This whole mess seems to lead down the path where most anglers have to decide which poison to take. Do I load up on big tackle this year and get the special reel I need for the albacore or do I continue to feed my bass fishing addiction and build my inventory there? Do I have the room for any more stuff or do I need a bigger house with a detached 2,000-square foot garage to make way for my passion? How much more stuff can you cram into your designated space or do you hit up your buddy to become a storage facility for it all?
Some guys work out a deal with another addicted fishing soul and they share boats, gear, tackle and expenses. It’s one way to share a big cost to chase one species while expanding your available space and possibly getting some political leverage! “Honey, Dave and I are sharing costs and using his place to store the boat – I think it’s a pretty good deal!” (Of course, I’m not mentioning the real cost of going on a trip at this point either!)
It’s tough being an angler who follows the best fishing bites, trying to balance your various fishing trips, the costs, your needed tackle, as well as trying to spend enough time with the family. It all takes some real political skills and juggling. You may step on some toes, too. I’ve found that good bites usually come at bad times! It’s tricky on many levels trying to make it all work.
Being a fisherman who covers the spectrum of good bites is challenging, but you know what: you only live once! At least, that’s what they tell me. Never give up!
Roger George is The Bee’s fishing expert. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org,