Photos By: Matt Bornhorst
Anyone else besides me realize how much fly fishing equipment and camera gear costs? Just saying those words causes money to disappear from my checking account like it wasn’t even there to begin with. I like to think of myself as pretty frugal and always looking for a deal, but this frugalness also produces some ideas that I am proud to call cheap, yet effective.
- Those reusable grocery bags that help save our environment can also save your vehicle from the dirt and debris that collect on your footwear. They fold flat when not in service, don't absorb much water, and they are well ventilated. Hose them off from time to time and you are in business. I wear size 14 wading boots and they just barely fit into one of these bags.
- I poached this idea from a 2011 article in Hatch magazine and thought it was brilliantly simple and well worth bringing up again. Instead of paying ludicrous amounts of money for name-brand wading, boot cleats, go buy some Kold Kutter hardened steel ice racing screws. I just got a bag of 250 for a mere $20 plus shipping. I figured a $26 gamble seemed worth a shot, and it has paid off handsomely. I put the screws into my new boots and they worked like a charm during the snow and ice storms we experienced in last year. They bite hard and don’t let go easily. I did lose two the first day out, but I’m led to believe it was my fault for not tightening them down enough as I haven’t lost a single one since. Having 250 screws at your disposal can also help out your fellow fisherman in their time of need. Added bonus: no special tools needed; you can remove them with a wrench or a flat head screw driver.
- A camera mount for inside the car for great fishing road trip vids. I started shooting time lapses and drive lapses with my DSLR and I wanted an interior mount for my car. After a couple of runs to my local hardware store, I picked up all the needed parts to build a cheap and sturdy camera mount. I won’t be using this very often so I didn't want to invest a bunch of time or money into it. I did some crude measurements and put together some pieces or PVC pipe and then ran a screw through a pipe cap to attach the camera. It’s a good idea to put some glue on the screw head to keep it from turning when you are mounting the camera. It is sturdy enough to not even need to be glued together if you push each piece together tightly. The way it is made makes it easy to mount into any vehicle with exposed headrest posts by simply taking off/putting on 4 wing nuts.
- Spreading the word to friends and family on what gear you are in the market for or in need of. My Mom and Dad picked up a sweet Father’s Day present for me last year; a Pflueger Medalist 1498 built in Akron, Ohio. They found it on the cheap while antique shopping during their last vacation. It’s in really good working condition and isn’t beat to crap. I’m hoping to do a little refurbishing and put it back where it rightfully belongs; laced up with some new line and mounted on my dad’s old South Bend bamboo rod ready to sling some big flies at some warm-water species. The drag isn’t great on these reels, but I found a website that specializes in refurbishing these old reels and even makes some parts that will actually improve its performance. A classic-looking, quality reel manufactured in the USA that’s been refurbished and given some minor upgrades? A reel that will likely be running smooth as silk when my young boys get old enough to get out on the water with me? Don’t mind if I do.
There are bound to be others out there with some cost cutting measures or cheap ideas and we (especially me) would love to hear them.