Saturday, March 27, 2010

Gearing up for spring…for months now.

When it comes to Colorado weather folks just have to roll with the punches. This year has been a knock down drag out blizzard fest. Sun then snow and then more snow with 20 and 30 degree drops in air temp within a 2 or 3-day span. This has slowed my outings down a step but not stopped me from venturing out.

One thing that helps me get through the winter season (other than nearly killing myself on a few trout outings) is buying new fishing gear. Being a workaday slob with bills and no sponsors I am limited on what I can afford and use. “The best you can afford” mantra is one most anglers embrace as well as understand. When you buy as much gear as I do there is a tough choice between high quality and bankruptcy.

The Catera by Shakespeare

One of the new reels I picked up this year was the Catera by Shakespeare. This is a 6-bearing reel in the 30-dollar range that fishes like something in the 50 or 60-dollar range. The pinion gear is brass and the line roller is titanium…this says quality in my book. The rest of the components are aluminum and dense plastic for a lightweight feel.

Now I am not saying this reel stacks up to Pflueger or Quantum reels that generally go for 60 and above (higher price generally equates to more titanium and stainless steel). I have purchased the higher end reels and love them. However when it comes to gearing up in spring I have to make a choice between one high-end item or multiple lower priced options that complete the needs of the new year. If the high-end stuff gets damaged falling off a cliff, stolen or lost I could be out of the game. The real trick to “fishing on a budget” is finding quality products in your own personal price range. It is my opinion that the Catera does this. A few test runs have already impressed me enough to pick up an additional Catera for my jig setup. Two reels for the price of one in the retail world is a winner in my book.

Please understand that I have trashed reels in the 80-dollar range with one simple act of stupidity or theft and nearly had to mortgage the farm to replace them. I have no doubt that any reel that finds its way to my hands will be reduced to scrap or vanish within two or three seasons. This is no fault of the manufacturer per say as much as it is the fact that I can be dumb and clumsy at times…this may be an understatement. So until I hit the Lotto and can afford 4 or 5 setups in the 1500-dollar range, I will continue to look for value and bargains.

Note: I am not the go-to source on equipment and many others do a much better job at this. Pro anglers that receive a lot of equipment for free have a supreme advantage over the not so famous weekend warrior-fishaholic crowd like myself. What I do offer is an objective opinion outside of the commercial barrage you get from people trying to pimp a particular product to support the fancy patches provided by their sponsors.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.


Anonymous said...

Good post, Matt. I appreciate this kind of review and information. There are a lot of good products in the fishing areas of your favorite store that will help catch fish. Top dollar products are for an elite few this day and age.

Coloradocasters said...

Thanks Mel, The "best you can afford" rule is very tough for people breaking into the sport. A lot of folks will try to sell you stuff in the 70-100 dollar range right out of the gate. People that buy 100-dollar reels every day will tell you that the Catera is a damn good buy for 29.99 retail.

Most Anglers typically gravitate to higher end stuff in any hobby as they gain experience. I tend to be a minimalist of sorts and wring every cent of quality out of a cheaper item rather than stress the cost and worry over the higher end gear. This mentality is right in line with today's economy. In my case it was the difference between "limp along with stressed\hammered gear or a few replacements and get back up to four good rods instead of two". If Quantum or some other reel company would simply sponsor me I could release articles like, "How I destroyed a 200-dollar reel on one steep cliff and a single catfish."

Thank you for the comments, Mel. I enjoy your blog “Blog Cabin Angler” immensely. I will post the link below and work to get a “shout out post” to you and a few others that have stumbled onto my blog as a result of the fine work on your blog.