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A guide to frugal fishing: an update according Brian Waldman

A guide to frugal fishing: an update according Brian Waldman

In 2008, during the start of the Great Recession, I was provoked to write an article entitled "A Guide to Frugal Fishing." The financial woes, which began in December 2007, wrought havoc with many of the components throughout our society and across the world. In fact, it rendered and is still rendering its dastardly effects on the angling world.

Readers can peruse the original article at It was updated on Feb. 4, 2011, and posted on Travis Perret's Felix Fishing Web site, and here's the link to that one: In essence, these two articles proclaim that ardent recreational anglers can fish frugally and catch bass galore (catching as many as 25 bass an hour on the best of days)  by using Midwest finesse tactics. But to accomplish that feat, recreational anglers can't mimic the tactics of professional tournament anglers, because it cost too much money -- especially when gasoline in northeastern Kansas cost $3.62 a gallon.

Upon receiving an e-mail from Brian Waldman of Coatesville, Indiana, on Sept. 3, about his frugal piscatorial ways, we thought that we should post an update to our 2008 and 2011 tenets on frugal fishing by including some of Waldman's observations.

Since August 2011, we have posted scores of words via this blog site trumpeting the manifold virtues of some of Z-Man's ElaZtech finesse lures. Initially Waldman, who is a veteran and versatile multispecies angler and who can wield power baits as aptly as he can finesse lures, was somewhat skeptical about our many proclamations that touted the merits of these baits. Ultimately he made his first casts and retrieves with a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's ZinkerZ affixed to a Gopher jig on Mar. 19, 2012 , but he didn't become a dyed-in-the-wool convert until this summer. (Here's the link to the blog that describes Waldman's maiden endeavor with the 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ:

Here's what Waldman says nowadays about frugal finesse fishing with his two favorite Z-Man baits:

"I've now caught 856 bass since June 29 when I converted my primary bass fishing tactic to finesse fishing, and more than 750 of them were caught with Gopher jigheads and Z-Man's plastics, especially the ZinkerZ and Finesse WormZ. I checked my packages and found that I used 11 pieces of Z-Man plastics to catch those bass, which is less than two packages. Since a package of six retails for $3.99, I have less than $8.00 invested in those 750 plus bass (technically even less than that since I bought them on sale at 20% off), or a mere penny apiece (per bass), not including the jigheads, which I simply keep reusing after the plastic wears out. A little more math suggests that I'm catching over 64 bass per Z-Man plastic — not too shabby."

In an e-mail on Sept 7, Waldman expanded observations about frugal fishing by writing: "I'm still fishing out of the customized Lowe jon boat I bought in the fall of 2007 for $3,500 after selling my big fiberglass Triton bass boat. The following spring, I upgraded the engine to a 9.9 electric-start four-stroke Mercury engine, and the total cost was $1,000 after trade-in. Then in 2011, I added a Humminbird side-imaging unit to the rig for $970, and in 2012 I replaced the original trailer for $930. This year I replaced the trolling motor and the batteries. All totaled, I'm up to about $6,500 invested over the six years, which is barely $1,000 a year. The payoff is that I still catch between 1,500-2,500 bass every year out of the smaller rig, along with untold numbers of crappie, bluegill and white bass, and I have yet to have a gas station fill-up of the remote tank that cost more than $9.00 during those six years, and there is no additional oil costs with the four-stroke outboard engine. Very miserly yet efficient."

For more information about Waldman's boat, please read this blog:

Also examine Waldman's Web site at



It needs to be noted that some of my equipment and tackle has changed a touch since 2008 and 2011.

I am using Z-Man's Fishing Products' ElaZtech lures rather than Berkley, Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits, Strike King Lure Company, and YUM's baits, but Strike King's Zero and Finesse Worm is made by Z-Man, the are identical to Z-Man's ZinkerZ and Finesse WormZ . YUM stopped manufacturing the Wooly Beavertail and MUY Grub. Recently we have been searching for a new grub, and we are hoping that Z-Man will manufacture a four-inch grub. We have replaced the Wooly Beavertail with Gene Larew Lures three-inch Baby HooDaddy.

I have replaced the four-cylinder 1998 Toyota Tacoma with a four-cylinder 2010 Subaru Forester. But I am still fishing in the same boat, and using the same motors and electronic devices. My 40-year-old reels and 11-year-old inexpensive rods are the same, but the reels are spooled with Zebco Brands' 10-pound-test Omniflex Braid or Cajun Line's 10-pound-test Primeaux Braid. The leader is Cajun Line's fluorocarbon. I am still using Gopher Tackle's Mushroom Jig Heads, but I am using Pro-Cure Inc.'s nightcrawler scent rather than Berkley's Gulp! Alive!.

Here's hoping these guides to frugal finesse fishing will help scores of recreational anglers to catch largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass galore. We also invite readers to scroll back through the Midwest Finesse blogs' archives and read what has been written about Midwest finesse tactics and ElaZtech lures during the past two years.

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