Prepping: Fishing for…Diesel???!!!

Last weekend, the lowland lakes trout season opened up in Washington State.  Surprisingly, many states “back east” (like Pennsylvania, for example) have already been open a while.

The story in Washington State (at least in local fishing lore) is that the reason for the late opener is that if fishing opens before Easter, then church attendance is lower.  Not sure if that makes Pennsylvanians heathens, or not…

The point this morning is there is only a passing correlation between the amount of money invested in any sport versus the real and imagined return on investment.

Just Monday, I when I was up at the local aerodrome dropping of the Major after a week of adventures around here, I couldn’t help but notice the most beautiful, camo’ed out, ultra-high performance bass boat on display.

Then I noticed the price.  There are not enough bass west of the Mississippi to make the numbers pencil out; grand a boat as it was, and almost suitable for drag boat hole shoot-outs, the number of fish available in a given season would pencil out north of $100 per pound to amortize the fishing rig out over 10-years.

A typical bass boat, at least around here in East Texas, will run (new) anywhere from $15-$25,000.  Higher if you deck out with additional canvas and a jet-drive lower end.

The Texas Parks and Wild Life crew has been sampling largemouth taken in Texas (they don’t count the politicians, apparently) and the longest then came up with was something about 29 inches in length.  See the table over here.

We’ll be very generous and pencil out that a 30-inch bass will run 18-pounds, or so.  But, the only way mere mortals like us will find that will be either by quitting work (after robbing a few banks on the way out) and fishing full-time, or by hiring a guide.

Most of the bass I’ve seen or heard tell-of run more 18-inches – or less.

Fish Math

Let’s be generous, though, and say we can catch one solid 18-inch bass per angler in the new $25-thousand dollar floating fish/pimp mobile.  Remember, we have to figure out the cost of the fish against $2,500 per year of amortization costs.

Sure, sure, some people will argue that if you “take your buddy” with you, it lowers the figures I’m about to shock you with.  But, in reality, I’ve never seen it work out.

Consider the costs of your “fishing buddy.”  Here’s the economics you can expect:

  • Your pal may decided to “go halvsies” on the fuel bill.  Figure $20 bucks for gas, so there’s $10 bucks they bring to the boat.
  • However, your pal will usually expect you to supply the sandwiches and beer.  $10-bucks is maybe a washout.  More likely?  You’re “upside down” by now.
  • Any “meat fish” boarded?  You “pal” is likely to tell you some idiotic excuse like “I’d give you this one, but I promised my wife a fish-fry if she’d let me go fishing instead of mowing and trimming up the yard…”

As a result,  other than the odd fishing companion who s a licensed social worker (the Major happens to be one, but we fish antennas, not bass), will not solve any of the problems you have in life.  Although a non-stop stream of bawdy male humor does have some value when the political-correctness crowd is watching Beat the Press instead of going fishing where they could return to the real world.

What is a fish worth?

Using the Texas Wild Life numbers, let’s imagine that an 18″ large mouth (which will provide 5-minutes, or less, of “reel entertainment) to product produce 3.31 pounds fully clothed animal.

By the time you get it fileted-out, what’s left?  I reckon a pound, or so.

So let’s begin with a quick penciling out of the cost of such delectable seafood:

  • We have to amortize $2,500 of boat cost per year.
  • There will be at least one “mechanical” per year.  Just like airplanes have a slush fund to keep them flying, a bass boat will need $50 bucks a trip set aside.  For when you grind down that stainless prop on a deadhead under water, or when you rip the fish-finder sensor of the bottom.  Or, the speedo breaks.  Or, you want to put in thin-wire plugs for better “out of the hole performance.  Come to think of it, how about $100-bucks per outing?  Probably more real.
  • Subscriptions to Bass Nation, Bass Times, and $20 per outing in lost lure costs.
  • Need to put another $20 a trip in the licenses and trailer tags – and oh, all that crap from fishing stores…

OK, let’s see how it looks, shall we?

cost of fish per pound

What we find is that there is a “sweet spot” around 10 trips, or so.  Reason being that we are increasingly likely to break something’d the more we’re out fishing.

This is not a complete view.  There are lots of ways it could work out better.  Beginning with a homemade boat and a tiny “nut” to amortize.  Still, if you like to “do it in style” this is the bad news.

For our money, there are lots of easier ways to fish.  An occasional dry iced shipment of halibut cheeks and fresh Dungeness crab from Pike Place Fish in Seattle, being one.  The cost per pound is less than the best case for bass, and I prefer halibut and crab, thank you.  No tags, inspections, licenses, or sweltering on a hot day while trying not to get too drunk to drag a boat out back at the launching ramp.

All of which has what to do with prepping?


Get yourself down to Walmart.  Buy some kind of cheap fishing rig ($60 bucks tops) and walk around lakes— quietly.

See what you catch that way.  This is ONE occasion when camo makes sense…if you have your Polaroid’s on so you can see down into the water.

Of course, in Texas, such antics can also land you eye to eye with a cottonmouth (water moccasin) but if you’re into prepping on the fly, this is much closer to reality of the “one second after” world.

Not to be confused with Tim Gonzales’ mix of peach schnapps, Crown, sweet & sour, with a float of triple sec,  there are sites around the web where you can find how to cook up a cottonmouth.

Easier is to find some people with a dock on one of the many bays on typical southern lakes and knock on the door and ask “Can I rent a fishing spot on your boat dock for an hour, or so?

This approach may get you a m ore comfortable place to fish (shady side of the lake is best in terms of comfort) and if get lucky, you can get to know some people along the lake.

Out bottom line:  With environmental depletion, unless you are into aqua-culture, fishing is just one inefficient use of diminishing petroleum reserves.

Already a boat owner?  If TSHTF while you’re out on the lake, you’re an easy target than will float to the less shore in due time.  Might want to keep that in mind.  In our serious sailing boat days, we had a night time escape route with a minimum one mile from shore (*where possible) exit plan; the separation zone for the Vessel Traffic Systems is (like old rail rights of way) a fine thing to remember come troubled times. And salt water fish are typically bigger, anyway.  And more BTU’s in diesel fuel…

Write when you catch bass…or call May Day…

28 thoughts on “Prepping: Fishing for…Diesel???!!!”

  1. George
    If you think wild caught fish is a luxury, try deer meat.
    When you add up gun, scope, sling, ammo, and all the gear you need to keep warm, then a lease on a place to hunt, you find out what a nice roast back-strap really costs. Plus wear and tear on the old bod carrying Bambi back to the truck (oh yeah, you need a truck).
    Fortunately I am not proud. My truck is old and ugly. My guns are all used and were purchased on the Janet Reno approved 90-day waiting period plan (lay-away). As the years pile up I need more keep warm stuff, but I have a couple of free places to hunt from friends. I can reload the ammo, so don’t have to buy new either.
    But the deer are still way up around $10-20 a lbs.
    My wife lets me hunt because I tell her I’ll take up golf and do it year around instead of two-three months a year. And after all the practice I do get a deer or two a year so have good stew all winter.
    I was cheap as a kid too, learning to tie my own flies and scrounging fur and feathers where I could. Don’t chase Bass. If you take one home to eat, you get stink-eye from all the aficionados on the boat dock that think you should (Must) catch-and-release. Use your fly rod or a little spinner set up and chase the perch and sunfish. Yeah you have to catch 50 to have anything but you can catch 50, and filleted they make 2 silver dollar sized fish chips. 100 chips and a bowl of fried potatoes and a bowl of cole slaw makes a feast.
    An build a boat like your dad did, don’t buy one of those gas hogs.
    When they are parked in the driveway with $3 gas we’ll be out fishing!
    Teach a man to fish (the right way) and you will feed him for life,
    Just don’t get to proud of it.

  2. Oh baby have you U crossed “holy grail” territory with a cost justification of a modern bass boat. Never could figure out where the folks got all the money for dem fancy smancy bass boats w/4cycle engines, anchor claws for holding place in shallow water, fancy electronic fish finders with side scan. Finally started asking around the boat ramps and sportsmans shows – its Payments!
    Thats right G, you gotz to add cost of carry (interest) to your calculations, not to mention wear and tear on family wagon from towing Urebass boat.
    This deplorable is having similar decision problem…Central American/Mexican built Penga boat with single 150 4cycle engine, versus used Cobia – buy in Florida and ship to Central America..
    In my last job as Fish Cop in PA, I saw every level of fishing from Ghetto Fishing to Orvis Fly Fishing – ghetto fishing produces more meat per $ – hands down.
    We are indeed Heathens in Pennsyltucky – opening day of deer season schools are closed! Bambi burgers anyone?

    • “We are indeed Heathens in Pennsyltucky – opening day of deer season schools are closed! ”

      Ah, ‘wondered if youse guys still did that. Do the ruralite preachers still devote their pre-opening sermons to the hunt?

  3. Yes, yes, I know all about the pay-to-play ratios. But, oh man, sitting out on the water just after dawn, mist creeping across the stillness, and dropping a line next to that old log, this alone makes it so worth the various prices of admission. I don’t care for $70k bass boats either, but as a 911 driver, I can sure appreciate the good stuff if you have the means. Yep, a 12 foot flat-bottom Jon boat can get you out there and carry plenty of fish, but I wouldn’t want to be out on Lake Buchanan and the wind come up in such a craft. So, if you have the means, then get out there and do it, in whatever you can.

    If you’re not making a living fishing, then it’s a pastime that will cost you some bucks, but the quality times spent out there are so worth it, if you’re interested in such times. I’ve done plenty of bank fishing, but I find that at least in Texas on public lakes, those areas accessible by foot get a lot of fishing pressure, and that makes things a little more difficult, and you have to share spots too. ugh. Gets away from my quiet peaceful fishing vision. So, I have found in 55 years, I much prefer being out on the water.

    I started fishing again two years ago, having let it go for many years while chasing various other things. I’m boat shopping now, thinking of a smaller Boston Whaler (used, of course) or a nice not-to-old bassing rig. 15k is my upper limit, and 18ft in length, so it’ll go in my garage. There are a lot of rigs out there that’ll satisfy that, so I’ll find the one that speaks to me.

    But, for me, it’s never been about dollars/pound. We went to Caddo Lake not long ago, four guys and a borrowed pontoon boat, and tore up the bluegills for 3 days straight. over 200 fish, certainly less than 30 pounds, staying up late playing dominoes and cards, and some of the best days I’ve had in my life, even with the wasp nest we had to outrun (yes, they will chase a slow boat for 100 yards). A few hundred dollars each overall, but to me, a really great deal.

    Put a price on that, please. :)

    (sorry for the ramble. but felt good to type about it.)

    • I dont about texas fishin. I just found out they had a sea world there yesterday talking to a gal on messanger about the twister warnings and her family wanted to go but were clueless about tornadoes. They desided to bag it. Good call. :)

      I grew up in Alaska. On the kenai river. Reeling in 40 and 50 lb silvers, rainbows ans reds all day, everyday. Even got me a few 70+ size kings more than a few times

      Lots of shootin practice as a kid. Got deer, elk, caribou, moose bear etc. Open season all year round up there. Just go out the back door and blam! Dinner! Ha ha ha

      Even made me a 54 caliber Thompson center musel loader when i was 14 from one of them kits. Still got it today. Lil bit different life style as a klondike than an a cowboy. Similar but different.

      What a beautiful day to be blessed with. Sunny and perfect. Who knows what the rest of the day holds. ;)

      Have a good day! Dump my last load and head to the barn.

      Then off like a [no, Andy..poor phrase choice – g] to see about that blessed 1.

      • Andy,

        Having been to the great state of Alaska only three times, where the first two involved backpacking and canoeing, the last trip was all about fishing. A group of us met up there for five days of fishing on the Kenai River. Wearing heavy duty rain gear, we fished for king salmon in 40 degree weather in the drizzling rain. It was called combat fishing, in that there were so many boats having the same intent. On the last day, the weather cleared, and we took a float plane to a spot near a stream where the salmon, silvers and reds, were attempting their upstream swim to spawn. My now late husband snapped some great photos of the grizzly bears and the black bears while I caught the fish. Since that trip was so very costly, I endorse George’s recommendation of using the professional fish companies to catch the fish for you and send them to your home.

        By the way, moose meat is most delicious.

      • Dear Nancy, oh honey, sorry for your loss. I feel ya. I still have a mess of family up there, all God fearing, good peep’s. Several guides on the Kenai. Was your guide’s last name John’s?

        Did i ever mention my little old lady fan club? Well, i got one. Like 12 of them. Powerful prayer warriors. Some of them been at it for 4 decades now. Boy, let me tell ya. Aint nothin get pass them or by them. Every day they pray for me. Always have a “hedge of protection ” around me and mine. Full Aromor of God. I mean these are hard core intercessor’s.

        Anyway, i got my eyes on 3 different “fish” in mind. They are just comming out of the wood works, im tellin ya.

        1 paltinum Queen Salmon, i nicnamed Blessed 1, a country gal, A beautiful asian coy which i nicknamed NMs thang, also a country gal and a stunning tuna, city gal i nicnamed Ms.Divine part 2.

        I just as soon settle for one of hot little country girls, a good truck, a hell cat, couple acres, decent country home, mess a tricycle motors and doggie with a yard full of chickens.

        Is what it is. *shrug. Guess we shall see.

        My daughter turned 13 today. Aka The Princess Ninja Kitty. Momma Bear got her eye on her all the time. And trust me. I wont even do battle with her. Ha ha ha ha she will rip your guts out and light them on fire while smiling and being pleasant and christian like. Ha ha ha ha ha

        Have a good day y’all.

      • P.S. a few people accused me of missed opportunity’s. For not taking enough risk’s lately. Lol

        Playin it smart aint stupid. ,

    • “Put a price on that, please. :)”


      I have litterally seen 3 Lamborghini ‘s 3 days in a row! 2 black ones and a white on3! Honest to God! They must be on sale or sumthin. May be givenn em away?? Perspective i guess.

      I definitely want won. They are total Epic Badasery! :)

      ‘Crank’ it up!

  4. There is nothing better (OK, maybe sex) than sipping a few pints on a boat or on the shore, enjoying the beauty of nature while legitimately covered with the ‘fishing’ excuse. Who cares if you catch anything? Those who profess that they do are either lying or are seriously misguided. Fish and beer – both have 4 letters. Coincidence? I think NOT. WARNING: do not fish and drive!

    • I get you there W/H….. I had a seventeen foot flat bottom canoe.. and a basket stringer.. would fill it up with adult beverages instead of fish go out and just sit there read a book and sip cold suds…
      you can do that on shore to.. just not as much fun as dangling your feet in the water….my ugly old man hat on.. feet in the water a good outdoor chair a great book and a cool breeze…under a shade tree… hmmm.. that is almost as good as sex.. not there yet but dam close..
      the big problem was getting enough time to use it.. the same thing with the kids.. I bet.. not sure just the figure I had put on it.. someplace around a hundred grand in boats.. not to mention the campers.. then figure the licensing.. sure they have good jobs and actually get weekends off where the vast majority end up working swing shift and maybe gets one weekend a month off.. but.. calculate the fuel to haul it.. license it.. you could spend your weekend every month at a motel and rent the boat.. and most of the boats they have sit in the garage or storage garage..( oh the rental of the storage garage as well)

  5. I lost interest in boats, when I priced stuff and discovered I could buy a nice, used Porsche for the cash I’d have to shell out for a frickin’ outboard motor…

    • Now an old checker cab sounds more enticing to me than a Porsche.
      You can enjoy hot kinky monkey sex or get a decent … well you get the idea.. in a checker cab…where a Porsche is more like riding in a fancy go cart that you have to roll out of to get out.. give me a big car with comfortable seats and plenty of legroom so I can enjoy myself.. instead of some fancy overpriced fiberglass go cart with foot paddles to close together..

      • In a checker can enjoy the reverse cow girl in the front seat and still have legroom to squirm around lol..
        Just saying when you get old enough to have to take care of business when the opportunity arises..never pass in p the moment.. you might not get that chance again for a while…

      • Ha ha ha ha! *tips hat. In my early 20’s i actually drove cab for LA (another data point) checkered cab. Not long after the riots. Mine was an old Dodge Dynasty cop car had the 360 with the police package still in it. Picked up this guy from the Red Onion B&G in Redondo and dropped him off at the Long Beach pier. Gave me $100 tip.Then picked up the dude who did all the sound effects for Lucas studios, reall cool cat, took me on a tour of the studio.left him and picked up a stripper from LAX Triplle X, first time i had ever seen a tounge ring. Ended up spending the night at her condo in palos verdes. Helluva good time. ;)

        I was so young back then. Bought a brand new 1993 Mustang 5.0 and took a 2 year road trip round the US, living in hotels and working joba like selling cars, driving cab, being a server, bell hop, pizza guy, stuff like that. And some grifting, this guy taught me and my budd when we were in vegas for 4 months. Even spent 3 weeks in Tj. Drinking mescow, eating the worm, god knows how many working girls and a boat load of dirt weed. Ha ha ha ha

        Worked at Uno’s pizza as a waiter across from Disney world. The day it opend. ;) soooo fun!

  6. At one point on time. I had 12 routers… I had a router bit set worth a lot.. I had four lathes and a legacy mill..( I was going to make four poster bed and some stair rails)

    Then my grandson wanted to make a dresser.. I sent him to get the router bits and he came back with the good set.. I said oh no I have an older set I use these are my good ones..
    That’s when he said something profound..who are you saving them for…
    The kids have two speed boats a bass boat and a fancy duck boat..hmmm. I wonder who they are saving them for.. unless you use them they’re worthless..I downsized my tools to just what I use.. got rid of the rest..
    Now the tools left here are for the kids.. I could sell them and get a fraction of what their worth but frankly I’ll get more enjoyment out of watching the grandkids build something.

    I totally get your position George.. like a time share..once you pencil it out you can stay at a five star resort and still save money.. the fish you could buy a ton of fish for the cost of an expensive yard or garage ornament.

  7. George: I good old northern WI. A 25k Bass Boat is 5yrs old and beat.

    Think 25K for the boat 4K for the trailer 25K fora (300hp Supercharged Merc outboard) plus 2K 10hp kicker or elec troller and then add 5K for electronics and 3k for gear.
    Thats 69k and no licence and no gas.

  8. George, Unless my math is way off, your third column should be $62 per pound NOT $123. Looks like you divided by 10 trips instead of 20.

  9. Its never about dollars per pound. Just ask George how much he has spent filling that shop of his, doing projects that might have cost more to farm out, but either way, will never get a return on any of it, neither the tools or the fruits of his projects.

    Or a car, which sits empty more than 90% of the time.

    It’s the American way. If you can get your car in the garage five years after you have been living there, I would demand you say the pledge of allegiance before I would spend any time with you.

    If you have to have a second building, then you should get a medal for being a good American. Americans are notorious hoarders. Unfortunately, in the last 15 years it has become mostly the cheapest chinese crap to be found.

    If you talk to a Chinese manufacturer, they will tell you they can match quality with anyone in the world. The only problem is, Americans no longer have the money to buy quality. Do you think the wealthy chinese billionaires have homes filled with cheap chinese crap? Can you afford to buy a toaster that will eventually be used by your grandchildren?

    • “Can you afford to buy a toaster that will eventually be used by your grandchildren?”

      Yes. I have four Sunbeam Automatics (the finest toaster ever made): A 1950 T-20 which I’ve used daily for 30 years, and a T-20 and two T-35s which I bought to refurb and sell. New price was ~$50 at a time when the average American family was living the middle-class life on $100/wk. Current price for refurbs is in the $220-$420 range. New price for the newest model is ~$200. It is still the finest toaster you (or a Chinese billionaire) can buy, and [it is] utter junk, when compared to its vintage ancestors…

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