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"Worth the Money" Gear

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  • "Worth the Money" Gear

    If you had to pick 3 higher end gear choices for your fishing what would they be? What is "Worth the Money" so to speak in terms of performance to you personally? What gear do you feel is worth the cost upgrade in terms of performance? What gear choices do you feel like you can save the money on?

    I'm asking since I finally saved up enough Bass Pro Points (and proved to myself I could keep one pair for a year) in conjunction with a gift card to buy a pair of 580 Glass Lens Costas a couple weeks ago. I had always been of the mind "Polarized is Polarized and my 30$ Strike King glasses work just as well". I was WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. The difference is massive, and my eyes feel much better after a long sunny day on the water.

    My Three "Worth The Money" Items:

    - High Quality Reels with appropriate drag systems and stopping power (no felt drag washers). There is nothing worse than having a subpar drag system lock up and snap a big fish.
    -High Quality Glasses I guess the caveat would be if you know you will not be able to hang onto them.
    -Fluorocarbon/Hooks I'm cheating with two here, but spending a few extra dollars on high quality fluoro leader is a massive difference with knot strength/abrasion resistance, and poorly made hooks do not hold an edge as well and will cost you fish.

    My Three "Save a Few Bucks" Items:

    -Rain Jacket My 30$ Frogg Toggs Rain Jacket Shell has kept me drier, and been more durable than any other rain jacket I have had.
    -Waders Once again Frogg Toggs. I usually wear waders in the Fall/Winter to hop in and out of the boat, and without hard trail use these 50$ waders have been worth every penny vs. nicer ones. These do not see the use that many of your guys do.
    -Rods This is a middle ground. Alot of folks spend killer money on rods, and they do perform better (My St. Croix Mojo Bass is my favorite ever). My TFO flyrods, Abu's, and Bass Pro Brands in the 60 to 80 dollar range have performed just a small notch below over the years. Not worth the extra expense if you are rough on gear IMHO.


    We all have areas we like to save and like to splurge on our gear, and we don't always agree (the 2$ vs. 50$ nipper debate rings a bell)! We all have varying levels of disposable income, and frugality.

    Give us your 3 of each! Hopefully this thread can help convince someone to take the plunge on something they will really enjoy, or save them a few bucks by hearing others experience with budget products that perform well.

    What y'all got?
    I like em big fat and sloppy.

  • #2
    Worth it
    1. Fly Line
    2. Reel if I am going to the salt
    3. Rod

    Save on
    1. Pliers or forceps
    2. Fly Box
    3. Vehicle
    Semper Paratus

    Comment


    • #3
      "Worth the Money" Gear

      Worth it

      1) Glasses - I prefer Smith to Costa more for fit than quality, but that’s totally a personal thing. I have 3 pair of Smith glasses and 2 pair of ski goggles. Most recent were glasses with what they call the ‘low light igniter’ lens. I’ve never seen so much detail in the water in low or flat light. Better than yellow/amber IMO. They hold up really well even in bright conditions. I tend to keep my glasses for a long time so I don’t mind spending the $$ here.

      2) Rain/Wind Gear - living in the PNW for awhile I had a buddy convince me “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear.” He is British and used to crap weather. He also taught me how/where to find good deals. A good Gortex bucket hat and/or Windstopper fleece has saved the day on many a miserable outing.

      3) Knives - a college roommate of mine went on to med school. Once he convinced me to spend $100 on a Benchmade pocket knife I was sold. Amazing how much I use that little bastard. Though not directly related to fishing, good kitchen knives were also a game changer.

      I’m more general about saving in places. I think you can still find really good gear and not have to pay top dollar. I love Sierra Trading post. You may have to hunt or be patient but they have lots of good deals. Good customer service and return policies are high on my list. REI is awesome about a lot of things, had particularly good luck with REI brand items. Recently becoming more of a Cabela’s fan due to their return/exchange policy on Cabela’s brand items. I hate tying dry flies so I found a website with $0.69 dries. Now I don’t feel so bad about breaking them off in the heavy rhodo. And, as always, have 1-2 pair of cheap *** nail clippers floating around in the event I lose my $7.95 ‘premium’ nippers.


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

      Comment


      • #4
        This is a solid thread, Alex.

        You bring up some great points on your items and I think everyone will have some overlap and some not. Mostly because of the type and frequency of fishing they do.

        For me:

        Worth It:

        1 - Reel, I have to agree with. Though Ive never bought a super expensive reel, I never have skimped to the lowest price range. Now I am thinking in terms of ALL reels not just fly. Like Alex says, you hook a big fish you better hope that drag system doesn't seize up.

        2 - Wading Boots - When I started wading and fly fishing I was given a pair of Simms boots that were already who knows how many years old and I am now onto a pair of Korkers. Overall my point here is that for something that is in the water for 4 plus hours for me and most prone to breaking down from that water, then I want a better pair of boots. I guess I equate it to men's dress shoes... I'd rather spend X amount and have them for say 10 years than spend Y amount for a new pair every 3.

        3 - Floro Line/Waterproof Phone Case - Ok the phone case isnt exactly needed for fishing but when you're wading like me and bring your phone along for the trip then there is nothing like having to be care free about your phone surviving the trip. I looked around at a bunch before just going for the Life Proof. Now when I go out, I never worry. Tossed the line on here too because I think its a huge confidence thing for me. I ALWAYS used Seaguar floro line and Rio when fishing. I remember I once tried another bring while bass fishing instead of Seaguar and immedielty switched back because of its strength.

        Skimp

        1 - Rods - Old hockey saying... The player makes the stick, not the other way around. I was lucky enough to be given some nice fly rods but my other rods are nothing crazy.

        2 - Accessories - Nips, pliers, zings. They all get lost at some point right?

        3 - Fly Line - Probably going to get heat for this but when nymphing the hooch, you hardly even need fly line to begin with. Not bombing casts here. Ive had the same fly line on for about 2 years and I cant say its helped or hurt me.


        Again, I this all mostly boils down to how often your gear is used and the application and your personal abuse to it.

        Interested to read and hear what everyone thinks, though.
        @glennmau

        Comment


        • #5
          Worth it List
          • Waders - spend your best money here IMO. My Simms G3's are 12 years old and still going strong.
          • Reels - like jewelry for men!
          • Fly Line - this really is where the rubber hits the road when it comes to fly fishing.
          • Gibson Guitars - thought I would toss this in here


          Skimp List
          • Rod - agree with others that you can get buy with a lower cost stick if you must.
          • Fishing trip Beer - You can have that fancy micro-brew IPA crap! I'll take a six pack of Miller tall boys any day of the week!
          • gadgets / fly boxes - most are worthless crap to fill up your vest and should not have been bought in the first place
          Message sent from your mom's bedroom during pillow talk

          Buck Henry
          Simple Goat Herder
          Former NGTO President
          Hall of Fame Member

          Comment


          • #6
            Good stuff you guys. We all like nice reels it seems!

            The trends on gear definitely seem to apply to what your primary methods are. Waders are big for guys that wade, where as a boat guy just needs em to keep you dry on occasion. The fly line is interesting some care and some don’t.

            Buck your Miller comment is on point. Cheap beer never tastes as good as on the water in the hot sun iced down to tooth tingling temps.
            I like em big fat and sloppy.

            Comment


            • #7
              Browniez/Derek/others, what are the benefits to the expensive sunglasses? I've used the $20 Flying Fishermans' for a while, and they SEEM to work ok, but I've never had an expensive pair of glasses, I guess, so I have no first hand knowledge about it. I'm not opposed to spending more, if the value is there. Thanks.
              "A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined..." George Washington

              Comment


              • #8
                High quality optics are awesome and definitely worth the money! However, I am very, very bad at losing (or sitting on) my sunglasses so I always go cheap when buying specs. Same thing with fine writing pens; if I bought a $100 Parker pen I would lose it the next day. But those cheap 10 cent Bic pens seem to hang around forever!
                Message sent from your mom's bedroom during pillow talk

                Buck Henry
                Simple Goat Herder
                Former NGTO President
                Hall of Fame Member

                Comment


                • #9
                  Great Thread. There is a lot of gear that I consider "worth it" but to pair it down to three items is difficult. One thing I have realized is that things become "worth it" once we acquire them and use them, for me it is hard to go back. My top 3:

                  Flyline (to a certain threshold)- particularly if you throw far casts or indicator nymph, flyline will make or break a system. You don't have to spend $130 (although amplitude lines are fantastic) but a cheap line will ruin your experience

                  Waterproof "things- Waders, Bibs, Jackets, hats, all of it. Being wet Sucks. I never knew what I was missing until I got a nice wading jacket, it was a gamechanger. Then I had the same revelation when I purchased a nice pair of bibs for the boat, now I wear them all the time! Waders are important as well, but that's already been hashed out.

                  Flies/Hooks- Cheap flies are terrible. I may hurt some feelings but I have never been satisfied with budget flies, particularly because of their hooks. If I can get a cheap fly to last long enough without falling apart, you can be sure the hook will break or roll. I mostly tye my own stuff but otherwise I try to purchase from reputable companies or tyers. Saving a few cents on a fly is not worth it. Same with hooks, buy good ones because it will be worth it when that big fish eats.
                  Jackson Dockery
                  sigpic
                  My Instagram
                  Unicoi Outfitters

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                  • #10
                    My Three

                    My picks are actually based on practicality. This sport requires us to spend a lot of time on our feet and most of that time is walking over very uneven terrain, submerged or otherwise.

                    #1. Best boots money can buy with high quality felt soles and preset for studs.
                    #2. Corrective optics grade sunglasses in mid-amber and polarized of course. I always tell new anglers, "never put your feet where your eyes haven't been".
                    #3. A rod comfortable to cast all day and with enough backbone for any fish.

                    Those are where I would put my money.

                    On the lighter side ...............

                    #1. Unlimited time to fish without impacting family needs
                    #2. Unlimited funds to accomplish #1 in style!
                    #3. Knowledgeable companion to fish with: Like the companions in the "Women in Waders" calendars

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Dang, this is a great post... and really got me thinking about these things. Being one cheap sonuva... it's hard to generate this list, but here goes....

                      Worth it list

                      1) Recent purchase for me: BOAT. It's just opened my eyes to so much more water, on the river and elsewhere. I think I'll probably get my money's worth outta that.

                      2) here I concur with Alex on both spin and fly fishing: fluro/hooks. I've tried several brands of fluro tippet and leader material from china brands to the high end and I feel like to get a good tippet/leader you gotta spend the money. Seat knots better, don't come unbuckled as much, abrasion resistance, and simply usability.

                      3) others have said boots and I think I agree there. It's what keeps us connected to the river bottom. I know others completely disagree, but I also like the korkers changeable soles system. I had a pair for about a year, the seam came out and they upgraded me for basically next to nothing. I like the fit, the stick to the ground and when bluelining the changeable soles are amazing.

                      BONUS: not on the top end of things, but any eagle claw product you can get your hands on. Their small stream fly rods: money! Spin gear, great for the kid. Hooks are sharp. The yellow: best color around... you get the point... HAHA

                      **All that being said, I don't spend a lot on gear and try to get away with spending as little as humanly possible.


                      Skimp list

                      1) like others have said tools: nippers, forceps, zingers, lanyards (I mean I made my own there) are cheap and almost always get lost. It's just not something I want to pay attention too: like extra special care of my nippers... I can replace my Rapala fishing cutters for 2.84 at Wally world.

                      2) I concur with THE BUCK about beer - shoot I drink a philly lager (Yuengling) 9 times out of ten whether I'm on a boat, in the water, camping, or parking it on my couch anyhow so I'm not all about that froo froo granola flavored IPA with a twist of grapefruit and a splash of hippy.

                      3) pack, vest, etc. I've tried a chest pack, a vest (two different types in fact), a sling (which I really like, but one shoulder always tires) and I've come to the conclusion that I don't actually go into the pack that much. I now use a walmart backpack with a water bladder (essential) and I attached my homemade lanyard with nippers, forceps, tippet tree and a small fly box. I've learned that I only use about 4-5 patterns of flies anywhere I fish so having access to hundreds, thousands only places me in the paralyzing state of the paradox of choice.

                      I am, however, curious, like mark, about the upgrade to optics. I've thought about trying new ones, but like mark my flying fishermans were fine, until they cracked and these strike kings seem just as fine. But, the saying never step where you haven't seen is a good one... I am going to test out a few and see if this is an investment possibility.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by 3-wt View Post
                        Browniez/Derek/others, what are the benefits to the expensive sunglasses? I've used the $20 Flying Fishermans' for a while, and they SEEM to work ok, but I've never had an expensive pair of glasses, I guess, so I have no first hand knowledge about it. I'm not opposed to spending more, if the value is there. Thanks.
                        I was in exactly your shoes until a couple of weeks ago. I used a pair of friends smiths, and it’s a whole other world. That being said I had like 100 dollars in bass pro points and a 75 dollar gift card so that softened the blow.

                        I catch most of my fish by judging the posture and body language as they run out on a bait, and it’s been a HUGE upgrade.

                        Aside from actually seeing I fee like the higher quality polarization filters extra UV that hurts the eyes. My eyes are just way more comfortable after a long day.

                        Glass lenses are also just so much clearer.
                        I like em big fat and sloppy.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by 3-wt View Post
                          Browniez/Derek/others, what are the benefits to the expensive sunglasses? I've used the $20 Flying Fishermans' for a while, and they SEEM to work ok, but I've never had an expensive pair of glasses, I guess, so I have no first hand knowledge about it. I'm not opposed to spending more, if the value is there. Thanks.


                          Value is in the eye of the beholder.

                          One of the common themes to this thread is longevity. Most of us seem ok to spend for things that last. My eye site sucks. I’ve had glasses/contacts for 35 years. So I’ve learned to take care of my glasses and can make them last.

                          The other theme is performance. There you just have to try it yourself to determine if it is “worth it”. I see much more detail with my Smith glasses than my Oakley or $20 emergency glasses. I’m a chicken when I wade and seeing those details are important to me. So, for me, this is definitely “worth it”.

                          We need to hook up and fish again soon. I always have an extra pair and you can try them and decide for yourself.


                          Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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                          • #14
                            I also have a pair of Costa sunglasses and can be a +1 to their performance.

                            Before them I was using a pair of non polarized ray bans I had forever and like Alex said, one thing I really notice is how my eyes are not super tired after a day staring at the sun coming off the water and just being able to see rocks and structure like never before.

                            The cost is a big factor with them and its understandable. I am lucky enough to work for a Costa dealer and got mine for a heck of a price.
                            @glennmau

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                            • #15
                              One other point with companies like Costa, Simms, St. Croix, etc. Is that if something happens to your product, sometimes even if it is user error, they take care of you!

                              I have had waders replaced, a rod replaced and I know Costa does repairs/replacements.
                              @glennmau

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