How Much is TOO MUCH to Spend on Fishing Gear??

how much is too much to spend on fishing gear

Good morning brothers.

Please note: my wife did not secretly write this article… truthfully, she doesn’t really say anything about my fishing expenditures… because she benefits from them as well (see The Ultimate Minocqua Fishing Guide for proof).

She also knows that I love here – but I wouldn’t listen. She knew who I was before she married me. I knew who she was as well.

As it should be.

That said… we are still a team, and it would be irresponsible for me to just spend money willy-nilly. However, I did do something kinda goofy over the weekend… after making small monthly investments for well over a year now… I was finally able to… put a $1,600 trolling motor on a $200 fishing boat.

gene wilder smile sarcastic eyes gif
You did… ‘cuz why?


Don’t speak.

Just look how beautiful she is…

jon boat minn kota powerdrive trolling motor
Minn Kota Powerdrive
jon boat minn kota powerdrive trolling motor
Minn Kota Powerdrive

And no… it’s not paid in full… I’m still financing the balance over the next 12 months… so hopefully it doesn’t break before then! 😀

(Allow me to take a moment to say a big THANK YOU too all readers that make monthly contributions to The Minimalist Fisherman. You help to fuel this endeavor, and are so appreciated!)

The reason for the upgrade? Well… the Powerdrive has a feature that allows you to record a path as you travel it, then later, run that same path automatically. Hands free. Forward and backwards. As someone who fishes little lakes by himself with very limited time (*cough* 4 kids 2 jobs 1 happy wife *cough*) this will help me cover more water with my active presentations. I will be able to create paths based on the best looking structure I find while mapping the bottom with my Garmin Striker Vivid 9sv – another crucially important tool that helps me review the bottom after I get back from a trip, and learn more about a body of water, faster.

These tools cost a fair amount of money.

So how much is TOO MUCH when it comes to buying fishing equipment?

I’m reminded about a conversation I was having with Brother Ron D. As you may recall, Brother Ron D had some valuable insight on Fishing With Light Line that we discussed in an earlier post.

light line fishing techniques
Fishing With Light Line

That was a great discussion – and we recently had another regarding the immense explosion in popularity, but substantial cost of Japanese plastic fishing baits. Specifically, Spinnuts, DoLive Beavers, Yamatanukis and the now infamous Cover Scat.

That conversation ties in perfectly with the discussion about my $1,600 trolling motor for the $200 jon boat… it’s all related… and it went a little something like this…

From Brother Ron D –

I am having a difficult time processing what has happened over the last few days. It has, somewhat, been a revelation. It has changed my perception of what a bait is…and how fish see them. I’m still trying to come to terms with this. Let me explain.

There was a bait I refused to buy. For a couple years now. I thought it was STUPID, expensive, not durable and also… STUPID. But a couple of things happened.

First, I discovered the Hayabusa Spin Muscle Hook I sent you. Truly exceptional in all regards. So that led me down the road of looking at some JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) baits, particularly those designed with the Free Rig or Jika in mind….a couple of my rigging mainstays.

I found a bait for this purpose. And the design is quite exceptional which leads to unique and outstanding action. This bait is called the OSP Dolive Beaver. It’s a craw style bait but the claws were created with the same science behind the movement of a dolphins tail. What it does is amazing. On the drop with the free rig, the claws flap in an incredible manner. But once the weight hits the bottom, the bait “stalls”, goes horizontal and floats down like a Senko. See this link:

DoLive Beaver in Action

As expected, this catches fish on the Free Rig!! First cast. Then second. You get the idea. I LOVE this bait. I HATE the cost and I HATE the durability. This seems to be the case for all JDM baits.

Which leads me to my current bait.

Given the success of the Beaver, I thought I’d try the STUPID bait I’d been avoiding. What bait, you ask? The Cover Scat… a.k.a. The Poop Bait. So I dutifully ordered a few colors of this obscenely expensive bait ($16 for 8 here). I got the smallest version, 2.5″ and rigged with a 2/0 hook.

As you know, both you and I have had a grinding year. Yes, the fish are here. But it’s a grind. My best outing this year (from shore at my test area) is 8. GRIND. So I throw this ridiculous, stupid, expensive, bait. A fish smashes it. And again. And again and again. Sometimes even before it hits bottom. And after only 2 hours, 15 fish. All decent. As expected, these are fragile. I went through 3-4 of these baits. On the flip side, the attention to detail is superb and the hook point guard on the top is genius! Texas rigged, the drop in the water is a shimmy (of sorts) like a wacky. But truly weedless. It casts a mile (heavier than 1/4oz with hook) and is dead simple to fish. Cast, allow bait to sink to bottom, twitch, twitch (or pop, pop) allow to sink again. Repeat. And it flat out catches fish!! On the twitch or pop, the bait spirals around erratically. It’s unique.

Personally, I see no reason to use a Senko or Wacky again, really. Sure they work. But better than this Poop?

Not for me.

And herein lies the issues in my brain. What is a fishing lure? What do fish see? Looking at this with our eyes it looks like S***! But to the fish, it was irresistible! They are fragile… sometimes as little as 2 fish had the bait tore up. And at roughly $2 per bait, that is no joke! This is why I love Z-Man man stuff… they last forever. But do you trade budget for fish catching? And do you start fishing more odd JDM baits that you’d normally ignore because they look stupid?

This is what’s banging around my head today. I think I may be at some crossroads or something… any insight?

-Ron D.

AJ’s Response –

Hey Brother Ron D… see, these are the emails I really enjoy. It’s a conundrum. 

I checked out the DoLive – I had to watch that video on a loop for like 10 minutes straight. No joke. That thing looks bonkers in the water. The variation in that video makes me wonder what other baits behave like underwater on that Free Rig you mentioned. Just the variation in drop speed once that sinker hits the bottom could be a trigger. It probably is. You probably know this. 

(I have yet to try a Free Rig, but fun fact, I’m taking your Spin Muscle Hooks + The Dredge out again tomorrow for round 3! Also fishing a light jig on 4lb test again – confidence going up in both.) 

So we have that. And a doo-doo. You are throwing the doo-doo

I have seen that thing but I’ll be honest I wrote it off. I suppose I might pay some money for some plastic doo-doo. Can’t believe I just said that… but yes, it has been a grind and fish be fish. Lol. 

So the cost. I hear you. I went through a similar, less expensive situation this year – here was where I landed…

For a long time, I fished stickbaits wacky-style. Nothing revolutionary. Caught fish. Gained confidence – and then I started fishing these pits. They’re so clear. Massive visibility and spooky fish. A far cry from the mucky sludge I relearned to fish for largemouth bass in around here. The sludge where you can use straight braid and oversized hooks. Polar opposite. So I down-sized. Ok. Logical. Spinning gear, straight fluoro… I needed to be even sneakier. So, I downsized my hooks. A lot. Started using light wire wacky hooks. Small ones. No weed guard at all, because that just adds something extra. Unnatural. It started to work, but then I noticed I was losing a lot of fish. Way more than I was used to on wacky rigs, even the ones with thick weed guards. The little tiny wacky hooks weren’t getting a good bite on the fish, and they were popping free all the time. Hmmm… so I started to use o-rings. Always avoided them in the past – again, it’s just something extra on the bait. But I tried them – and not because I wanted to save plastics (their main selling point) but because I wanted the maximum amount of my tiny hook exposed. A little o-ring takes up much less space on the hook than a chunk of the plastic itself. But here was the issue – the hook in the single o-ring sat parallel to the stickbait. If you think about it, pulling that stickbait from the center would make a backwards “C” shape as the bait was yanked inside the mouth of the fish – straight up and down behind the tiny hook I was trying to bury. That is a surprising amount of plastic above and below the hook point itself. 

It’s fine, I’ll just keep using 1 o-ring for now – it’s just not worth it. They ain’t cheap.

Next trip (this last spring) I set into something solid. BIG. I was in the kayak. I couldn’t see her, she was out from shore a bit – straight down, maybe 12 or 15 feet. Subtle strike, then when I set she doubled my spinning rod over. The drag screamed! It was a BIG fish.


My stupid little hook popped right out of her mouth. I wasn’t horsing her. Wasn’t yanking all crazy – just lost her. 

So why am I telling you this?

Because my hang up was what – a 10 or 20 cent piece of plastic? MAX? But in my mind, I was trying not to “waste anything,” and it cost me a big girl. 

So my point is this – these days – if something works, I use it until it doesn’t. I don’t spend frivolously, but I do spend for quality. Case & point – I trust Invizx fluoro, especially in the smaller diameters. Tried it on a whim one time and noticed it snapped way less than Berkley Vanish or whatever else I was using back then. I just paid $28 for 200 yards of 6 lb test to spool up a new reel for a rod I’m building. That is a lot… but… I’ll feel better using it. How many times have we been on the water and said “I’d pay $100 for a goshdang bite right about now!!”

So… buy the poo. Embrace the poo. Throw the poo. Like a monkey

Every time we go out we’re competing against nature, other anglers, our limited time – so if these baits can tip the scales in your favor and help you hit double digits – go for it man. 

… and yes… I now use 2 o-rings per stickbait, overlapped, rig my tiny hook perpendicular instead of parallel to the plastic – and my hookup percentage has massively improved

Too bad I lost that big girl but… I guess at least I saved $0.10…


Have a great night & keep me posted!

So… what do you think?

How much is “too much” money? The Poo is not cheap, but it helps Ron catch more fish. My Trolling Motor is not cheap, but it will allow me to make more casts when I am fishing by myself – and I guarantee that will translate to more fish in the boat.

So I guess as far as the cost “being worth it” goes… it’s all relative to the situation… right?

Hmmm… let me know what you think.

Tight Lines & Godspeed, Patriots.

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