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 theflystop.com
. 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, Craigslist.com. 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.