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No need to break your piggy bank when you head out to fish!

How to gear up for less than $100

In collaboration with Émile David, fishing enthusiast.

Fishing has a very long history, and anglers have a vast array of techniques and tools at their disposal, the fruit of this venerable heritage. For enthusiasts, gearing up is part of the ritual and adds a touch of colour and superstition to the experience. The fishing season doesn't just start when one climbs aboard the rowboat; it instead begins at the specialty store when buying the latest hot gizmo or stocking up on tried-and-true secret weapons for your tackle box.

For someone who wants to learn to fish, this moment to be savoured can become a source of anxiety. Getting lost in the store aisles is more of a nightmare than a dream. So then, where to start without breaking the bank?

Hooké | © Sépaq

The basics for $45: rod, reel, and line

You’ll find rod and reel kits costing between $30 and $50. For all beginners, this kind of set works perfectly.

In terms of the rod, you can choose a light to medium-light 6- to 7-foot rod for trout, as well as a medium to medium-heavy rod for walleye, pike, and other predators.

A few points are particularly important concerning the reel. First, take heed of the inscribed capacity of the reel and seek out a model that can support at least 280 yards of 8 lb monofilament. Second, check that the brake adjustment system is put together in such a way as not to tighten or loosen on its own. Last but not least, start with “real thing”: the open reel option is the most reliable. Avoid heavy-duty reels (those with a button), which are more complex to handle, and closed-faced reels, which are only recommended for children.

As for the line, a spool that includes 200 yards of monofilament with 6 to 8 lbs of resistance for trout and 8 to 12 lbs of resistance for walleye will do the job and cost you around $12. Beware of the line that’s included with rod and reel kits: such freebies have the annoying tendency of being of poor quality.

Beside | © Sépaq
Beside | © Sépaq

The essentials for $30: hand net and tackle box

How can you avoid being that angler who let the trophy of a lifetime slip away aboard the boat? By a bringing along a hand net as of your first outing! You'll find models for $20 regardless of the format needed to scoop up your dream catch. And please don’t leave your net behind at the cabin!

A good way to get off on the right foot and to save money too is by storing your equipment in a tackle box. You’ll find models with trays for $15. They can store all of your precious belongings!

Trout lures for $20

There are tons of ways to outsmart those wily brook trout, but the most tried-and-true strategy remains the good old worm-spoon combination. You can't go wrong with the Lake Clear or Cami models. At the beginning of the season, choose the classic original model and when the water warms up, opt instead for a heavier “Deep” model. When you purchase swivels (rotating couplers designed to prevent your line from twisting), a packet of hooks, and a container of sizeable worms, you’ll be able to limit the financial damage to under $20. 

Steve Deschênes | © Sépaq
Beside | © Sépaq

Walleye lures for $20

The walleye is a voracious predator that can sometimes be a difficult adversary indeed. A number of anglers are walleye-fishing specialists, and it would be presumptuous to promote a particular technique as being the best one for such an audience. But in terms of proven ease of use, versatility, and effectiveness, swimbaits deserve an honourable mention. A swimbait can be used both for casting and trolling and enables the angler to catch walleye at the desired depths. Choose one or two models designed to imitate a perch or a bait fish, equipped with a jerkbait that can reach depths of at least 4 to 10 feet.

The lesson to remember

Armed with this basic equipment, you’ll be ready for action! The hardest thing will be to avoid getting carried away once in the store. But keep one point in mind: each sector, lake, and season has its own special secrets.

If you plan to go to a wildlife reserve this summer, don’t hesitate to ask for advice from the attendant at the registration centre once there. He or she will undoubtedly be able to steer you toward the lure that’s best suited for your fishing adventure. Then you’ll be able to fish with all the confidence in the world!

If you want to test your new equipment for a day of fishing, know that close to 500 lakes are available exclusively for day fishing. Whether you’re passing through or simply want to spice up your stay, you just have to pay the right-of-access fee and a day of fishing is yours to enjoy.

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