View Poll Results: Is buying cheap, a good option?

100. You may not vote on this poll
  • Buying cheap gear is fine - it works!

    13 13.00%
  • Buy the best quality gear you can afford

    72 72.00%
  • Top shelf (& top dollar) is what to aim for

    15 15.00%
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  1. #1

    Does el-cheapo do the job..?

    Hi all,

    I've been noticing some comments recently in a few threads about 'cheap' gear in comparison with more 'expensive' gear.

    Someone wrote recently that the rod itself doesn't really matter (a cheapy will do) as long as the terminals are good quality & the lure is presented properly.

    If hooking the fish is the main thing - what about landing it?

    There was a recent thread enquiry about what was a good cheap rod to buy. One response was something like 'why not get the best you can afford, instead of going cheap?' I reckon that was good advice even though some fishos do not agree.

    Personally, I've gone cheap before and have generally ended up having to buy again. I've seen a members signature recently saying that the poor man always pays twice!?

    Why buy twice? Twice can even end up being 'thrice!" Then after you get tired of replacing gear that lets you down, you end up buying better quality. Why not get the decent stuff in the first place (or at least start saving for it).

    It's happened to me before with buying cheap sunnies! Now I buy decent ones.
    (if you buy it cheap, you'll buy it again)

    I've enjoyed my fishing much more since I stopped buying 'el-cheapo' gear.
    Better tackle gives you a feeling of confidence and a sense of fulfilment that your are doing what you like doing (fishing..) and are enjoying it with good quality equipment (that won't let you down).

    Fishing in PNG might be a bit different to many other locations, but in my first few outings I had two baitcast reels (a Corsair and an Induron) that were stuffed up good & proper within three seconds of hooking a black bass.

    When I upgraded & started using Calcuttas & similar the bass were the ones on the receiving end.

    I know there is such a thing as 'mid-range' priced tackle and some of it is quite good (like Jarvis Walker & Silstar) but generally, is it better to buy 'cheap' or not?

    So how do other readers feel about this topic?
    Last edited by PNG1M; 21-12-2008 at 04:50 PM. Reason: typo...
    "...a voice in my head keeps telling me to go fishing..."

  2. #2

    Re: Does el-cheapo do the job..?

    I voted for el-cheapo mainly for the reason of my choice of braid today .
    I went the Berkely Fireline, I dunno its the cheapest but funnily enough I have caught more fish on it and bigger fish on it than any other braid, strange but true.

    As for Rod I have a loomisand an Egrell, but I am noticing some very nice rods in stores lately under $150.00

    But as for larger fish in open water, I think el cheapo might not get you there.

    so my vote was not exactly right,but I definitely don't even rate surecatch as fishing gear, instead of elcheapo I would say its elcrappo.


  3. #3

    Re: Does el-cheapo do the job..?

    pretty difficult poll to answer IMHO. Are you talking ebay Chinese crap cheap, or Jarvis Walker cheap, or Daiwa or Shimano cheap?
    Is $120 cheap for a bream/bass rod, or do you need to spend $450 on a loomis or egrell?
    What is the best you can afford?
    etc etc

    I have sually bought mid to upper range gear, but never or rarely top of the line stuff. I admit it took me a few years to find a good quality spinning reel for 1 and 2kg pretest fishing with smooth enough drag. Went through one Shimano reel at around $130 and an Okuma at similar money and neither were good enough for the job. I settled on a couple of Stradics about 4 years ago now and haven't looked back. Then again, could have gone to a Stella, but that would have been a big stretch.


  4. #4

    Re: Does el-cheapo do the job..?

    working in the fishing industry for a few years now u get to see how much the fishing scean has changed, plastics have really taken of, and from 3-4 years ago the average fisherman would be looking at a combo up to $100, now a combo over $300 is easy to sell as people really want the right gear for the job.
    i feel that lure fishing requires better gear as constant casting and retrieving puts alot of stress on a reel.
    and depending on what type of fishing you choose to do will determan what quality of gear u need.
    with the jack season this year of to a flying start alot of guys have wanted to catch there first jack but only want to spend very little,there gear ends up coming back a few weeks later warn out and they end up buying better.
    another example is game fishing, the old trusty tld has been around for a long time and proved itself to be an exellent reel but since the tyrnos has been around ive found u will sell 5 tyrnos to 1 tld.

  5. #5

    Re: Does el-cheapo do the job..?

    Hey PNG .... you're definitely going to get some bites on this one

    I'm all for the adage of buying the best you can afford ...... its sound advice!

    I guess the difficult question is where does the quality line cross the price curve ....... & unless you understand this .... you may end up paying twice> The punter needs to understand what he is buying , what he is using it for & how often does he intend to use it !

    The fishing rod is a classic example ....... & if you understand the product you can judge the suitability & value

    A rod that carries say fuji componentry is a good start ...... If the guides are SiC even better & Fuji SiC Titanium even better still ......... How about the blank - Is it light , does it have power in the right place or does it feel like a billiard cue or a noodle.......... Do you understand modulus IM8 Vs Graphite blends ..... or straight glass (advantages , disadvantages) - while it may sound complicated , once understood can start to take advantage of good buys.

    OK so what is cheap / value (Sticking with baitcasters or spin rods)
    Rods that are usable & will do the job ... but will probably be upgraded ( a good starting point for an occasional fishoe) ......... A shimano raider , berkley dropshot , Ugly stick Platinum , live fibre , Pflueger Trion , Sic Stik etc ($100 - $150) IMO ..... under this price you are bound to have issues or be buying a rod that is tolerable at best .

    Mid price rods ($150-$300) ....... If you know what you are looking for , you can buy rods that perform extremely well ....... This is where I feel you get value for money & may find a rod that will serve you exceptionally well for a long time ...... GL2 Loomis , Nitros , T Curves , Sic Stik pros , Daiwa advantage / sols, Starlo Stix Pros etc etc

    High end ( $300-$500) ..... This is where you find rods that are more refined .... They offer even better design & balance (blank quality) - if you can afford it go for it - specially if you will use the rod often ....... Egrell Bear , Millerods , Loomis , T Curve Flights , Shimano Firebloods , Live Fibre Territory , Plueger Supreme ....... & lots of custom builds

    Top shelf ($500+) ..... Honestly this is what I consider as specialist tackle ..... Rods build with a lot of refinement for specific applications ...... Millerod Camofish , Megabass , Smiths , GLX Loomis , Daiwa Steez & more high end custom builds .......IMO the average fishoe wouldn't gain much from this gear.

    so that's my opinion on rods ....... Quality blanks , guides , reel seat & cork ..... balance .... should be the priority while el Cheapo may do the job (but for how long) or what enjoyment will you get out of using it

    Give a man a fish & he will eat for a day !
    Teach him how to fish
    & he will sit in a boat - & drink beer all day!

  6. #6

    Re: Does el-cheapo do the job..?

    Hmmm...interesting and tru!

    Knowing exactly what you need and fine tuning your tackle to your preferences are important factors in setting yourself up with the right gear for your type of fishing.

    I started fishing with a handline & earthworms off a jetty in the Clarence River when I was seven. I first used a rod at age 10 (courtesy of Santa). I didn't even use use a lure until I was 20+

    But even though, over the years I got to try plenty of different styles & brands of rods & reels - mostly the cheaper ones.

    With experience comes a more precise knowledge of "what works for you".

    I haven't voted on the pole yet but even though lately I've been focusing more on top shelf equipment, I'm going to vote the middle one - buy the best quality you can afford - or at least the best quality for the job you expect it to do.

    Generally the better the quality, the more likely it will equal better performance, increased reliability, peace of mind for you & a more enjoyable fishing experience.
    Plus the psychological advantage of feeling confident about your equipment.

    It's kind of a tricky one.

    In a few months time for example I'll be setting myself up with an entire beach fishing outfit, from scratch - plus one for my wife. I'll be hitting Fraser for a week but then I don't know how much more use the gear will get after that.

    So will I be spending top dollar? NO
    Will I buy the best gear I can afford? NO
    Will I buy the cheapest setup I can find? NO

    Question: What will I buy?
    Answer: Mid-range gear with a reasonable reputation that will be well up to the task of a solid week of beach fishing. I'll probably go Silstar or something like that. Or maybe a 10' Silstar powertip rod with a 6500 Penn spinfisher reel.

    Whatever I decide, I'll try to match the gear to my fishing expectations, requirements & preferences, so it won't be top dollar; it won't be el-cheapo and it won't necessarily be the best I can afford.

    So there you go, I managed t get myself tangled up in my own question..! Geeeze
    Last edited by PNG1M; 21-12-2008 at 07:00 PM. Reason: typo...
    "...a voice in my head keeps telling me to go fishing..."

  7. #7

    Re: Does el-cheapo do the job..?

    PNG ..... Your approach to beach fishing gear is probably the right one - - - unless you plan to go beach fishing often -
    Its interesting really ........ I've gone from being a fishoe that buys high end rods to one that will now look for quality mid range (or buy at the best price) ....... This has been made easier with the higher quality these days........ You can buy a cracker of a bream , bass or barra rod for $200-$300 these days ......... 5 years ago

    Give a man a fish & he will eat for a day !
    Teach him how to fish
    & he will sit in a boat - & drink beer all day!

  8. #8

    Re: Does el-cheapo do the job..?

    mate all comes down to budget, if you got the know how, any rod will get you the fish, and i think this is how we all started out, but obviously more expensive rods have there benifits of control, strength and durability, but in saying that i have caught 20kg fish on 70 dollar rods just takes a llittle longer,

    cheers justin

  9. #9

    Re: Does el-cheapo do the job..?

    When i walk into a tackle store, i buy what has my name on it, used to think about what i would buy/ price/value etc but that takes too long. I dont look at the price too much as if its calling me, thats it, im a goner

    Edit I should say sucker lol but it works for me

    Tangles KFC

  10. #10

    Re: Does el-cheapo do the job..?

    I suspect that the answer really depends on whether you are a bait fisho who soaks their bait whilst drifting or anchored or a lure fisho who actively works their lures.

    I am exclusively a bait fisho and I struggle to notice any practical difference between my $200 rods and my $35 Penns bought from Kmart sales. I am just as excited no matter which one goes off.

    However, even as a bait fisho, I will work the bait up and down current if I am not drifting and in that case a light but strong rod makes the exercise less like - er - well - exercise.

    I have had an el cheapo Chinese bait-runner type reel disintegrate in my hands during a big run by the one-that-got-away but likewise, I have caught heaps of quality fish with $20 Shimano reels that I keep on board for guests but end up using a lot myself because they are so uncomplicated. They don't last forever, notwithstanding their ten year guarantee but what the heck, they only cost $20.

    At the end of the day, it is how the other end of the line is presented to the fish that makes the greatest difference, in my view.

    At my end of the line, I have found that $200 live fibre rods break just as easily as the cheapies when you stand on them. Ouch! Bugga! Damn!

  11. #11

    Re: Does el-cheapo do the job..?

    How about buying what is necessary? I know i tend to spend more than this but as someone working in a tackle shop that largely caters for the low end of the price spectrum i am fighting a constant battle trying to find suitable tackle for customers at the lowest price. I'll list what i consider what is the cheapest tackle i would recommend with confidence to a customer for different luring applications.

    Bream, bass, flathead/ light spin
    Reel. shimano sedona/daiwa excelor $100-$120
    Rod. 6'6"-7ft basic shimano graphite rod SSS/Sahara $50-60
    Line platyl millerium, fireline, clear platypus pre test $10-25
    total $160-200

    Barra baitcaster
    Reel Abu 5000 red $120
    Rod basic shimano graphite rod, berkley drop shot $50-80
    Line 30lb platyl, 20lb platypus pre test $15-25
    Total. $185-220

    Metal casting rod
    Reel 4000 sahara, 4000 exceler $120
    Rod 7'6" shimano snapper spin, berkley dropshot equivelent $60-90
    Line 15lb braid, 4-6kg mono $15-25
    Total. $190-230

    Of coarse fish can be landed on cheaper rods, but when someone comes in and says i want to cast lures and get good life out of my gear then this is what i consider a minimum. From this point on extra money will just increase ease of use and longivity of the outfit. For the enthusiastic angler I have a higher level of minimum requirements. Componentry on rods need to fuji and guides need to be alconites or better, increasingly more towards Sics, for example the starlo stic pro range are fitted with steel v frame Sic's for 180 a piece with good cork and a crisp lightweight blank. Exceptional value for money but hard to be taken seriously with a name like that. At this point i suggest to anglers to make there outfits specific to what they are targetting or what types of lures they wish to deliver.

    The focus for reels now shifts towards pleasentness to use, ie smootheness and weight reduction aswell as features that add to the durability of the reel. Spin reels like stradics, tierras and sols are the kind of reels that I consider to be the best value for money ie i don't think i would catch any more fish on a stella or a hyper custom certate than a stradic or a sol. Also the extra life expectancy of these reels do not outweigh the extra dollars as in a 500 reel wont remain fishable for twice as long as a 250 dollar one.

    So in answering the question is buying cheap a good option? Well it depends, if your budget is limited and you want to go fishing as often as possible it makes sense to maybe spend $300-500 and get good capable tackle without draining the bank on top end gear preventing you from actually going fishing cause your broke. However for regular anglers buying a 50-100 outfit is false economy, the gear is likely to lose you fish from either failure or poor performance and in the long term end up costing about the same as buying 1 decent outfit instead of 2 or 3 cheap ones with the benifit of actually having enjoyable tackle to use.

  12. #12

    Re: Does el-cheapo do the job..?

    the correct answer is:
    It is all good regardless of what it cost to buy...until it breaks then it all becomes a uselss piece of crap.

  13. #13

    Re: Does el-cheapo do the job..?

    Thanks for all the good responses so far guys.
    Food for thought plus some darn good information about tackle & options.
    Great stuff..!
    "...a voice in my head keeps telling me to go fishing..."

  14. #14

    Re: Does el-cheapo do the job..?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aigutso View Post
    When i walk into a tackle store, i buy what has my name on it, used to think about what i would buy/ price/value etc but that takes too long. I dont look at the price too much as if its calling me, thats it, im a goner

    Edit I should say sucker lol but it works for me

    Mike your only a sucker if your buying it because its expensive, buying expensive tackle because the enjoyment of your fishing experience is lifted from it, both in catches and just using good gear is a different matter all together. At the moment i'm looking at a dedicated bass spin stick for fishing impoundments from a boat (rather than a canoe). I looked at every rod on the rack both at work and tackle warehouse and nothing reached out to me and said buy me. I'm talking a price range from about $200-750 bucks (i would have been just as happy with the 200 rod as the 750 if i liked the feel of the 200 dollar one), so i'm looking at a custom.

  15. #15

    Re: Does el-cheapo do the job..?

    Some very good posts above. The idea of the cost/performance ratio giving a true value of the gear means that the mid to lower end stacks up pretty well. I would be suprised if any of the outfits mentioned in Jeremy87's post would lose many fish to tackle failture compared to the top shelf offerings.
    Just remember that the top of the range today will be the mid range stuff in a year or so . The cheaper outfits will land as many fish as the more expensive stuff.
    If you get more enjoyment out of something with a higher price tag and perhaps an extra bearing or two then go for it but it probably will not make you a better fisho

    A Proud Member of
    "The Rebel Alliance"

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