February 27th, 2006

Buying Your First Stuff
By James Castwell


I must confess that I also read gun magazines. I do that so I can give myself a permission slip to steal an idea for this weeks column. It was an answer to the typical question from a young hunter who was all worked up about which gun to buy, would it be perfect for what he wanted to use it for and all of the other life-threatening questions that go along with buying stuff. Especially those who are just getting into any of this.

The editor who answered the fellow did a great job. He covered the necessary facts in a slow and logical way and assured the person that all would be well and not to fear the event. The answer was not so much of a technical one but rather an emotional hand-holding session. The person who had written in for the question must have been very relieved to know that everything would work out just fine. I will try to do a little of that here.

Each year about this time questions show up on the bulletin board and in e-mails asking about the same thing. What rod, reel, and line combo should they get. Any of you who have been at this very long realize that is not an easy question to answer. Many things need to be considered including the color of your wife's hair (I have heard that red-heads are sometimes hot tempered).

The price is not one of them. The cost however is. Remember that a combo which costs a hundred bucks may be pocket-litter to some guys and divorce grounds for others. So, let's move beyond all of that and jump into more secure footing. Like emotions. Likes. Wants. Desires. Needs. Well, maybe not needs, but we can rationalize a little sometimes.

Boy, this is a hard one, but for many, it is very true. You will bust your first rig, outfit, combo, rod&reel. Whatever you call it. In a car door, the screen door at home, the trunk lid, catching a tree on a back-cast or landing or hooking a fish. Then again, you may be one of the creative ones and figure out a new way. But, the facts remain about decided on this one. The first one will not be your last one.

Now, I like to use this idea. Let's consider bowling. You think you might have an interest and want to buy your own ball. You could ask the guys at the bowling alleys, the one place where they might actually know a lot about such things, but, not you. Nope, you know better. You will not let them talk you into something. Ha! Ask you buddies. It does not matter that they don't bowl, they are buddies and will help you out. One knows of a place where you can buy used goods and cheap new gear. "Bowling Stuff R Us" Fine. Down you go and for half the price of the ones you have seen advertised you get yours.

No point spending a wad of dough just to find out if you like something or not. You will not be stuck with an expensive ball if you find you do not like bowling. Not being very up on bowling you have however failed to notice that the ball you got at that fantastic bargain price happens to be square. The following weeks as you practice bowling you feel you were right and do not actually enjoy the game and are glad you did not spend a huge amount on one of those high priced balls. Case closed.

Ok, enough of my foolishness. My point is this. There may not be any 'free lunch' but you can find some cheap ones sometimes. Just because a combo may be marked down does not necessarily mean it is not any good. A lot of things can affect things like that. Do not spend more than you can afford. You will be afraid to use the thing. Spend too little and you will not place any value on it. Somewhere in the middle is where you need to go.

It will be fine. It will cast. It will catch fish. You will do just dandy with it. Buy one you like. One that is pretty, nice, makes your heart sing. One you want to take out your handkerchief and wipe off a smudge that you notice. One that you can and will be proud to show to your father.

You didn't spend too much, got your dollars worth and, "damn, ain't she a purdy one Pop?" Now, get out there! ~ JC

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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