Between bites, which were all too scarce at the time, one of my clients brought up the subject of the cost of fishing.“If a parent is fortunate enough to get their child interested in fishing”, he asked his buddy, “How do they support the habit?”

“I don’t know anyone that was ever bitten by the fishing bug that was content with one trip a month,” he replied, but while I would like to fish more, ten or twelve guided trips a year are all I can fit in my fishing budget.” He went on to say that he had recently taken his ten year old twin grandsons to a trout stocking at a local lake and not surprisingly, they now want to go fishing somewhere every day.“I don’t own a boat and its hard to find a place where we can fish off the bank on a more frequent basis.”

While availability and access to any fishing hole, regardless of size, is the most limiting concern for folks without a boat, rising cost is still a major factor for most discriminating anglers.As I discovered last week, however, there are apparently still lots of folks with boats that aren’t overly concerned with the cost of funding their fishing habit.

After calling in the dogs early on a horrendously windy trip I ran over to the LaQuinta on Texas Avenue in hopes of talking my clients scheduled to fish the following day into canceling.They were climbing in their truck to drive over to Daley’s Hunt N Fish when I arrived and I piled in the backseat as I needed two more spools of Sunline braid anyway.

I mention this only because while I was waiting in line to check out, the customer in front of me bought a whopping seventy-five Swimming Images at one time and his running mate had just bought twenty-five more.I didn’t race over to the Heddon rack to check out the cost, but that is at least $500 worth of crankbaits and they were all the same color!

I was probably even more amazed when another friend of theirs managed to find three or four more still available after talking to them.My clients picked up a paltry $200 worth of Maniac Mullets and Corkies that they had ordered before ever driving in and I was a little embarrassed to even put my two spools of line on the counter.

I have to believe that kind of buying just cannot be the norm, but several bass fishermen were also stocking up for a weekend trip to the lake and they bought three and four of each color in both hard baits and soft plastics.Perhaps that is the reason that both Daley’s in Nederland and Simon Outfitters here in Orange doubled in size this past year!

A significant number of the new clients that I have fished over the past few years consists of avid bay fishermen that have decided that they can no longer justify owning a bay boat.“It’s everything from the initial cost to maintenance and insurance on an investment that sits in the garage all but a day or two each month and depreciates,” pointed out Bill Sands.

After sharing the fact that his brother-in-law had recently purchased a 22-foot bay boat with all the bells and whistles for $78,000 on a fifteen year note he noted that his home didn’t cost that much.“Barry and I can fish with a guide a dozen times a year and just climb in the truck and go home at the end of the day for that kind of note, he added.

The cost of gas, which seemingly rises by the hour at local pumps, is my biggest concern as I have some great sponsors that keep my overhead very much in check.That expense along with additives and oil are sufficient to limit the number of trips to the lake or bay for the average recreational fisherman and not everyone has access to a pond or lake near their house.

High school bass clubs and tournaments are growing in popularity among teenage fishermen and while I couldn’t be happier for them, I feel for the youngsters that are equally passionate that don’t have a parent or adult friend with the time and money to even get them on the water.Unfortunately, it is an expensive sport with far too little local access for the average youngster!

I ran by the City boat ramp last week and I was shocked by the number of trucks and trailers in the parking lot.It was another tournament afternoon for Simon Outfitters and they have obviously really got it going thus far.As it turned out, not only was the participation good, but the catching as well.

Trey Smith and Luke McFarland teamed up to win first place with three bass weighing 7.35-pounds and a youngster beat the veterans out of the big bass side pot with a very nice 3 ½ pound bass.Competing in these afternoon events is as simple as driving by Simon Outfitters on MacArthur Drive and signing up.For more information you can call the store at 883-4400.