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On The Cheap

Guest Blog by: Alan Peak 11/11/2012
This year I started buying gear at an alarming rate.  I looked high and low for deals on flies, rods, reels, clothes, waders, boots, line, camera equipment, boxes and everything in between.  I got burned on a few items.  I also made some surprisingly good purchases.

Before I begin, no company or individuals in anyway gave me compensation for this blog.  These are just honest thoughts and experiences.

Columbia, The North Face, EMS, Patagonia, Maramont and Mountain Hardware, all brands that I cannot really afford to buy new.  If you saw what I have in my closet you would call me a liar.  Nearly everything I wear are the brands above because of their comfort and quality.  I go to the local thrift stores every other week and grab what I can.  Most of the time it is last years model but in nearly new condition.  I have even gotten a few Columbia shirts with the tags still attached.  On average I only spend 3-6 dollars per item of clothing!

Military base layers were created to mimic what can be found in the civilian market.  I love my military polyester base layers.  Before you head out to the ice, go to your nearest surplus store and purchase a set of thin base layer top and bottoms as well as the mid-weight waffle top and bottom.  I do not leave home without them.  You can find a set for less than 20 dollars.

Beware of Ebay.  There are some great deals to be had, but many items on Ebay are not what they seem.  Chinese companies often market substandard products under the guise that they are the equivalent to Sage, Orvis or Redington.  This is a tall claim, and in most circumstances, just false.  Not only is quality terrible, the time it takes to actually get your product could stretch into a month long endeavor.  Overall, if it comes from China, buy your gear with the idea it is just going to break.  Here is a neat product from Hong Kong I have not seen in the United States: Cheap SD card holder.  I did buy a few new rods on Ebay for about 100 dollars.  These rods FAR out performed their price tag.  Redington CPX. (Scroll down and you can see all the different weights available.)

For the fly chuckers there is not substitute for local knowledge and that last minute dozen flies bought at the fly shop for the day ahead.  However, there are patterns that do not need to be bought at fly shop prices.  Pheasant tails, black beauties, brassies, caddis, midges and every other absolute standby fly can be bought for 55-60 cents apiece on  Quality you ask?  I use them on all my trips and they can withstand multiple trout.  I have bought over 1000 of their flies this year alone. Email their customer service and normally within a day you will get a reply.

Fly tying material can be found everywhere.    I proudly follow my wife to Hobby Lobby, JoAnne Fabrics and the small quilting store down the street.  Beads, foam, feathers, storage and other miscellaneous material can be found either cheaper or same price but with more quantity than other specialized fly tying outlets.

Here in Colorado Springs we have Mountain Equipment Recyclers.  I have mentioned this company before on a previous post, but they are great for backpacks, outdoor clothes and camping gear.  This outdoor consignment store carries only topnotch brands far below any price you can find online.  Check out their new water bottle program!

Because not everything can be bought online, nor can all information be found online I go to used book stores and peruse for old fishing books.  The Book Rack (Colorado Springs) and The Book Rack (Denver) normally have a few books to take home for less than 10 dollars.

And finally,  With the cold weather and ice approaching, now is NOT the time to buy a auger or hut; it was during the summertime.  I found hand augers for 5 to 10 dollars this summer when people were not using them.  Just in time for ice, I found this canoe that is new and nearly half price ready for next spring!

Gas.... I am still trying to figure out how to buy that under retail!  Good luck with that.

Alan Peak is addicted to fishing. By day he is a fly fishing guide and by night he dreams of his next day on the water. You can find him guiding and fishing primarily on the South Platte nearly every day of the week. If Alan is not with his family he is guiding, fishing or tying flies. If you see Alan on the water, say hello! Normally, he ties a half dozen flies of the day for each day for people he meets on the river.
Blog content © Alan Peak
Member comments
JKaboom, CO   11/11/2012 12:17:33 AM
You've shown me some of the deals you got and your inginuity and isince then you have saved me a couple hundred bucks which will add up to thousands in the long run. Keep it up buddy :)
Alan Peak (moosegoose), CO   11/11/2012 12:20:28 AM
Glad to hear that JKaboom!!
Tiny Stevens, CO   11/11/2012 6:31:08 PM
Great Blog Alan! Very timely as well. We could all do well to save a few bucks here and there, that way we can afford more fishing trips!
steveoatm, CO   11/12/2012 10:10:02 AM
Craigslist is a good place to buy in bulk for gear, but to have to be careful and pick and choose. I once purchased a whole fly collection of about 600 flies for $140. Don't forget to check estate sales. I purchased a G Loomis 3wt Reel (w/ line), St Croix 3 wt Rod, w/ a case for $80. There were tons of flies too, but most were patterns I had plenty of. Thanks for the thread.
reconfisher, CO   11/12/2012 3:51:26 PM
Great ideas and tips Alan! I check the outlets in Castle Rock frequently for deals, the shops down the springs have some awesome stuff for cheap, only thing i really miss about living there...besides being a short drive to the river in PLO and the dream stream
IndieCon, CO   12/4/2012 9:01:48 PM
Glad to see your reference to Hobby Lobby for fly tying materials. Glad I'm not alone. I get a lot of funny looks from employees and other shoppers as I hang out in certain aisles looking over feathers, foam, and flashy things I might lash to a hook. Great advice and great article!
Alan Peak
Guest Blogger