We have had some gasoline crunches in the past, and we managed to get through them – but they were all centered on supply, not price. I’m afraid that this time, the high prices will drive many anglers off the water.
Are there any options that we might have to stave off selling our boats? Perhaps, but this time, the choices may be more than simply suggestions – they may be the only way that a lot of us have to continue fishing.
Take Friends AlongFor what ever reason, I know lots of anglers who fish alone. If it’s by choice, you can certainly share the coast of gas with someone else and cut your expenses in half. If you are fishing offshore and running a long distance, make it a foursome. 100 gallons of fuel at over $4.00 US a gallon will keep lots of boats at the dock, or at the very least reduce the number of trips significantly. Splitting the coast between four instead of two can really help.
Pick Your DaysSome of us fish on marginal weather days simply because it is the only day we had available to fish. Running in higher seas means burning more fuel. Try to pick a day when the seas are calmer and you can run on a plane instead of barging through waves at half throttle. Like automobiles cruising in high gear, boats run more fuel efficiently when up on a plane.
Change LocationsI have offered this advice before, and many of you sent emails and comments, but I will offer it again. Fish closer to home! I fished this past week and caught a number of trout and flounder and burned three gallons of gas in my boat. That’s roughly a nine mile trip for me with because four cycle engine burns about three miles per gallon. I could have fished a lot closer to the boat ramp, and this next trip, I may purposely do just that to prove to myself that I can catch fish without running to the ends of the earth!
DownsizeThis is a big step for lots of anglers. I am even considering it myself. But – this is also the reason that so many larger boats are on the market. My son has had his 2005 model, 18 foot outboard for sale online for almost tow months. He has had one phone call!
Smaller boats with smaller engines will burn less fuel. They will limit your fishing options and usually keep you inshore, but they will save you some money.
Kayak fishing has taken off all over the US. While it is a rather specialized kind of fishing, anyone with a little balance and a strong back can do it. And you do catch fish. Yaks can get to places that larger boats cannot reach, and they are really efficient on fuel (like unlimited miles per gallon!)
Bottom LineFrom a price standpoint, I believe that the fuel crunch is here to stay. Ultimately I can see offshore fishing in big, fuel guzzling boats becoming an activity of the “rich and famous”. I can see inshore fishing in smaller boats becoming the norm. I can also see lots of people simply putting away their saltwater fishing gear and heading for the nearest pond or stream. And that will present another problem all its own.
I feel very strongly that the environmentalist radicals who are working to totally eliminate fishing are sting back and grinning during these times. They may not have to lift another finger to see fishing eliminated. As more anglers are pushed off the water because of high costs, we loose our base of support to protect our access to the resource.