Friday, February 14, 2014

Thrifty Fisherman: Buying Fishing Line in Bulk

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Think to yourself: How much fishing line do you use in a year? That's a nebulous question, I know. Different strokes and all. People use different amounts and at different times. Some people break off a lot more than others. Some people have differing respool habits. But everyone likes to be thrifty and save money. At least everyone I know. The fact is, fishing line is the largest consumable item that you use (aside from gas). Sure, you may loose a lot of lures a year, but it isn't assured. Line breaks. Line goes bad. Line wears out. It's a fact. And, line isn't cheap. So, if it's expensive and you use a lot of it, how can you save your hard earned money?

Let's take me, for example, since I can't speak for all of you. I like to use flourocarbon on about half my stuff. I use mono on topwater. I use braid on the remaining I use 50 pound braid.  I typically don't respool my braid but maybe twice during the year. I respool most of my other reels before every major (for me) tournament. On my crankbait rods, which I use a lot, I will have to respool about 5 times a year. It isn't from breakage nearly as much as it is from abrasion due to cranking around rocks, throwing crankbaits into the wind and the associated kinks, and general use. Like I said, I throw crankbaits a lot. Additionally, I respool my spinning reels around 2-3 times a year, since I break off a good bit throwing the PTL tick-shakes. Seat of the pants guess is I use about 4,000 yards a year, give or take.

Now, to some, this is probably way too much. On the other side are the people who fish a tournament every weekend that scoff at the little use I put my rods through. But again, it's just for an example, even though I think it's fairly close to the average. I don't break off a lot. I don't have a lot of kinks. I do employ some tricks, which most of you already know. I back all my reels with old line, thus only respooling the top 100 yards at a time.

So, with that said, how else can we save money on fishing line when all the tricks run out? Let's say you are looking for a spool of Seguar Red label 10 pound line. You have several options on how to buy. You can buy at the box stores or you can buy online. Then you have the choices on how much to buy. One of these will offer you a lot of savings and the other won't.

Box stores are great for several reasons. They offer point systems and discounts. You can go get what you need Right. Now. They are nearby and usually have a pretty good selection, but their prices are often high. And, you won't know if they will have what you want in stock until you get there. On the other hand, you can buy online. Online is generally slightly cheaper and you know what is available. But, you have to pay shipping and you can't have immediate gratification. So, it's essentially off setting penalties. In both cases, you end up with a significant wastage. Never have I used a spool up and exactly filled my reel. But I digress....

A 200 yard spool of Seaguar Red Label 10 pound, as I use on my cranking rods, is $18.99 in the store. That's a price of a little less than a cent per yard. At one of the major online retailers, the cost for the same thing is $11.39, and in this case, shipping is $6.75. So, a savings of $.85 and you can't have it for several days. Now, you CAN order a bunch of stuff and manage to get free shipping on orders of $50 or more. So, there is that. In the end, it's $.08/yard. So, if I used 4,000 yards a year, I am spending $320 a year.

Obviously there isn't much savings in a 1:1 comparison of online dealers vs box stores.

How about buying in bulk? Crazy as it sounds, a lot of people still associate bulk buying with inferior products. In the case of box stores, nearly ALL of their bulk fishing line isn't good fishing line, so their reasoning may be slightly valid.  But, guess what, you CAN buy good fishing line in bulk. Even then, some people balk at the thought at dropping $100 on some fishing line in one trip to the store (online or otherwise). But, if you can get over that initial hit, you can save yourself a TON of money.

The other day, I was shopping for the aforementioned 10 pound Seagaur Red Label as well as a 17 pound version to throw my PowerTeam Lures 4.8 Swinging Hammer swimbait (it's that time of year!). I couldn't find ANY 17 pound line and the store was selling only 100 yard packs of 10 pound line at $18.99!!!! While I was smarting over it, my wife told me to just buy it on Amazon. Just scan the barcode and see what comes up. So I did. The items popped right up with all the sizes I was looking for AND the option to buy them in 200, 250, 300, or 1,000 yard spools. I rolled my eyes at the thought of buying 1,000 yards at the time. In today's shopping, there seems to be only one relationship between quantity and price, and it isn't the way you think it would be. Frequently, stores are fleecing you because you don't check the cost per unit. But, the price popped up and I didn't think it was right. For a 1,000 yards of Red Label 10 pound, you will pay $31.49 shipped (through your prime account). That's a unit price of  basically $.03/yard. So, if I use 4,000 yards a year, I am spending $120 a year on line.

So, there you have it. $200 a year in savings, just from the cost of the line. Sure, the sticker price can be shocking when you check out. But, not only is it cheaper by nearly a factor of 3, you can get exactly what you want without driving around to the box stores to find it. For the best prices on great fishing line in bulk, check out the links I have setup below! I have found both InvizX and Red Label in 1,000 spools for a great price.