What if I told you that I could save you an entry fee into a medium sized tournament trail by following these common sense steps?
Bass Fishing Is Now A Rich Man’s Sport!
Talk to anyone who runs local team angler trails and they will tell you that the entrant numbers have been on a steady decline for years now. Everything that deals with fishing has become so expensive that what was once the middle class which made up the bulk of weekend anglers, has now been priced out of the market.
Many of the best bass fishermen I grew up admiring all give the same answer when asked why they left the sport (or don’t fish as regularly)… “Cant afford it” and that was when gas prices were affordable!
Gas Prices Have Returned As A Major Cost To Bass Fishing
With only a couple of small hiccups since 2008 gas prices have stayed at maintainable levels for families when budgeting. As bass fishermen we tend to look at the price at the pumps like the stock market and for good reason. For a semi pro or pro angler gas alone can take up to 50% of the costs to do business. That far outweighs the yearly cost of the boat and likely the tow vehicle!
2 years ago my fishing partner and I split all gas bills. He would fill up both his truck and boat before we would meet up whether it be practice or a tournament. After picking me up in the morning the meter was running and before he would drop me back off at the end of the day, we would fill both tanks back up and split it down the middle. We spent over $1500.00 in gas that year and that was for one tournament trail (7 events) and a couple of charity tournaments with a classic at the end. Since then gas prices have risen by 50%!
Why Do Bass Angler’s Go Through So Much Gas?
Gas tanks are massive inside of boats. They can be upwards of 40 gallons which from a novice’s perspective would mean fewer fill ups at the pump, NOT True!
Your average large outboard motor (200HP+) is going to get approximately 3-5 miles per gallon which is as efficient as hiring government workers to work on the space shuttle.
Below I will discuss with you ways I have found to save enough money at the pumps to cover some entry fee costs, thus having an advantage over the field when it comes to my fishing budget throughout the year. These tips will work just about anywhere and minimize inconvenience.
1.) Trailer It
Most lakes have boat ramps scattered throughout reaching from upper arms all the way down to the dam. It makes more economic sense to use your tow vehicle that can get 15 miles per gallon as opposed to your boat at 5 miles per gallon.
Now if you’re only traveling ten miles down the lake by boat and the road trip is 40 miles obviously stick to the boat! This tip right here might only save you a few bucks each trip but you’ll be grateful in inclement weather!
2.) Avoid “Jack Rabbiting”
As much as anyone I love pounding on the accelerator as soon as I get past the no wake zone but this one can really cost you! Considering I used to do it when leaving the majority of my fishing holes (which could be up to a dozen times!) I was constantly bleeding gasoline.
My partner on the other hand was smart enough to ease into getting on pad thus avoiding the sudden outflow of fuel This strategy would only cost us a few seconds which when tallied up at the end of the day came nowhere close to costing as much as I did with my heavy foot.
If your tow vehicle happens to measure your miles per gallon then you can do a quick fun analysis. Pick a 20 mile route that includes a dozen stop signs. On the first round come to slow stops and slow accelerations and record your miles per gallon upon completion of the course. Next take the exact same route coming to sudden stops at the stop signs, and then accelerate quickly (not dangerously avoiding traffic violations) and when you come back to your starting point look at how much it cost you. Tally that up in costs and multiply by three and you will get a close idea of how much money you’re wasting by doing a jack rabbit start! If you’re using a high performance bass boat and you have a heavy foot you could likely be saving five to ten dollars a trip!
3.) Don’t Fill Up If You Don’t Have To!
Physics don’t lie! The more weight you have in your boat, the harder your engine has to work to get you to your destination. Multiply that by two when you’re towing your boat to the lake.
Gas weighs close to eight pounds per gallon. If you fill your tank up then you’re looking at 320lbs and for every 75lbs you deduct it’s possible to increase your speed by 1mph. If you only need ten gallons of gas for the day then you will add close to 3mph reducing the amount of fuel you’ll need to reach your destination.
In the above example you would save more than $5 per trip and that doesn’t even count how much you saved towing your boat to the lake!
4.) Look For Other Ways To Lighten Your Load
Remember, for approximately every 75lbs you can remove from your boat, you can gain extra speed using the same amount of gas. There are many ways to reduce the load including:
- Consolidating tackle into a couple of boxes on practice days
- keeping water out of your live wells until you actually need it
- Look into lithium batteries to replace old heavy batteries
5.) Watch The Forecast
This holds especially true on windy days. When the lake is white capping then you’re motor is going to be working extra hard to keep the boat up above water. If you’re looking at a 3 day spread of possible practice days then choose the one with the least amount of wind forecasted. If this isn’t practicable then refer back to our first tip and try to avoid using boat gas as much as possible and tow to a calmer section of the lake!
6.) Buy A Practice Boat
This is my best kept secret but it is only aimed at anglers who fish local tournaments. It requires upfront money but will save a fisherman thousands of dollars over his fishing lifetime!
I’ve owned several bass boats but my workhorse was always my 17′ River Jon. Featuring a four stroke 50hp motor and being light as a feather I can often get 3 practice days out of a 5 gallon tank!
Concluding My Top Ways To Save Gas Money When Bass Fishing
No matter how expensive things get there will be bass tournaments held throughout the country, and if this is your true passion in life you will find creative ways to continue doing what you love. I promise you if you give these tips a chance you will see your costs drop down low enough to afford you an entry into a couple of tournaments and who knows…If the time’s right you may win a couple of those which could land you sponsors, and quite possibly launch your career!
I look forward to bringing you more ways to save money so that you can continue pursuing this addiction.