Skip to main content

Five Ways to Save Money for Spring Fishing, Turkey Hunting

This is the fourth of a series of articles detailing essential outdoor skills to learn before the warm winds of spring arrive in Kentucky

Five Ways to Save Money for Spring Fishing, Turkey Hunting
February is a great time to shop for new gear for spring fishing and the spring turkey season as major outfitters and department stores offer clearance and closeout sales. It is an especially beneficial time to upgrade fishing gear.

Although the price of a gallon of gas is lower than at any time in recent memory, not many folks have extra money to burn.

This is especially true for non-essential things such as fishing reels, shotguns, hunting clothing or fishing waders. Adult commitments, such as your mortgage, must be paid before any money goes toward a new spinning reel. Obtaining quality hunting and fishing gear inexpensively is a useful skill for outdoors enthusiasts to learn.

Here are five ways to save money on gear for the upcoming spring fishing and turkey hunting seasons.

1. Hit the clearance sales to upgrade fishing equipment: February is the best month to buy new fishing equipment, especially if you want to upgrade to a higher quality rod, reel or finally retire the shop worn waders you’ve patched 10 times.


Manufacturers debut their new models at this time of year. The large catalog outfitters and the sporting goods section of department stores often offer significant discounts on older models of rods and reels to clear space for the new. This is especially true with fishing reels.


These discounted reels or rods are still new and were the cutting edge a year or two ago. Model changes are often cosmetic and the performance afield is exactly the same from older model to new.

If you are still wading with hot, sticky and leaky neoprene or coated canvas waders, February is the time to upgrade to breathable waders. New fishing catalogs from outfitters are now arriving in mailboxes around the country. Their websites often contain closeout prices on older iterations of breathable fishing waders. This is a great time to get comfortable, breathable waders at attractive prices.

2. Hit the clearance sales to upgrade hunting clothing: After the waterfowl seasons close in late January, department stores and the big retail/catalog outfitters often place cold weather hunting gear on clearance, where savings can be 40 percent or more off the price the previous fall. This is an especially good time to save on waterfowl hunting clothing or coveralls and jacket/bib combinations for deer hunting, both of which aren’t cheap. They often clearance leftover lighter weight camouflage shirts and pants as well, perfect gear for the coming spring turkey season.

3. Inquire with friends and relatives about buying their old outdoor gear: As you progress in the outdoor arts, it is normal to upgrade to newer gear every few years as financial circumstances allow. This leaves outdoors enthusiasts with a conundrum: their older gear is too nice to throw away or donate, but they don’t use it anymore. They may gladly sell this gear reasonably to a friend or relative and be thankful it will be used and appreciated by someone they know. In the case of outdoor clothing, it may be given to you.


4. Clean and lube a spinning reel to make it new again: If a spinning reel feels like it is slowly filling with sawdust or develops an annoying catch on the retrieve, it is likely not completely shot and needs replacing, but just dirty and starved for lubrication. Old grease and oil attracts dirt and grit over time. This gunk builds up and impacts the reel’s performance.

Remove the reel spool and wipe down the spool shaft and apply a light coat of reel oil. Oil the roller bearing on the bail that lays line on the spool. Remove the handle and the screws that hold the side plate (some reels have a decorative plate that covers one of the side plate screws). Gently pry open the side plate. You’ll see the main gear in the middle with a roller bearing on top of it. Remove the roller bearing and drop it in rubbing alcohol to dissolve old oil, grease and accumulated crud. Clean the main gear, the drive gear in front of the reel and the worm gear along the bottom with an old tooth brush and hot soapy water. After drying, apply a light coat of reel grease to the gears and apply a few drops of reel oil to the roller bearing. Reassemble the reel and it should sing like new.

5. Buy a used pump shotgun for spring turkey hunting: A turkey hunting shotgun is a utility gun, not a pretty over-and-under for wing or trap shooting. Gun stores often have used pump shotguns for $150 or less. A friend or relative who’s hunted for years often has an old pump they would let go of at little cost. Online auction sites have used pumps for bargain prices as well. As long as it functions, the appearance matters little since the first step is covering the gun with camouflage tape, making sure not to interfere with its action in the process. At this price, you can afford to add a red or green rear bead sight. Now, you have an affordable and perfectly functional turkey hunting shotgun. A 12-gauge that can chamber 3-inch magnum shells is best.


Use these tips to save much needed cash in getting the outdoor gear you need. The warm winds of spring are just around the corner.

Editor’s Note: Author Lee McClellan is a nationally award-winning associate editor for Kentucky Afield magazine, the official publication of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. He is a life-long hunter and angler, with a passion for smallmouth bass fishing.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Minn Kota Raptor

Minn Kota Raptor

Associate Brand Manager Adam Knowles, from Minn Kota, talks with Rob Neuman from In-Fisherman, about the all-new Raptor shallow water anchor.

New from Old Town: Sportsman Autopilot 136 and Discovery 119 Solo Sportsman

New from Old Town: Sportsman Autopilot 136 and Discovery 119 Solo Sportsman

Brand ambassador Ryan Lilly highlights the features of the Old Town AutoPilot 136 motorized kayak and the Discovery 119 Solo Sportsman canoe.

How to Rig a Fishing Kayak

How to Rig a Fishing Kayak

Outfit your 'yak for summertime angling in 6 easy steps.

Daiwa Saltiga Lever Drag Saltwater Reel

Daiwa Saltiga Lever Drag Saltwater Reel

In this ICAST Fishing Gear Guide video, Mark Mills with Daiwa and Florida Sportsman's Jeff Weakley talk off-shore fishing gear.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

As most catfish anglers know, blue cats, channel cats and flatheads will eat darn near anything that fits in their mouths.5 Ways To Catch Catfish on Lures Catfish

5 Ways To Catch Catfish on Lures

Keith Sutton

As most catfish anglers know, blue cats, channel cats and flatheads will eat darn near...

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews of smelly ingredients often used to catch catfish. How To Make Your Own Catfish Dough Bait Catfish

How To Make Your Own Catfish Dough Bait

Keith Sutton - August 04, 2015

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews...

Who needs live bait when the big 'gills are so eager to strike these lures?5 Great Lures For Bluegills Other Freshwater

5 Great Lures For Bluegills

Stephen D. Carpenteri - March 10, 2011

Who needs live bait when the big 'gills are so eager to strike these lures?

Sight Savvy: Different styles of bow sights each have their strengths—and weaknesses.How to Pick the Right Bow Sight for You Bows

How to Pick the Right Bow Sight for You

Tony Hansen - August 25, 2020

Sight Savvy: Different styles of bow sights each have their strengths—and weaknesses.

See More Trending Articles

More Stories

Actions speak louder than words when sharing the passion for hunting, fishing and the outdoors.Outdoors Perspective: The Power of Paying Forward Stories

Outdoors Perspective: The Power of Paying Forward

Keith Sutton - November 12, 2018

Actions speak louder than words when sharing the passion for hunting, fishing and the outdoors.

There's no reason you can't be prepared if you catch a state-record fish.Think It's a State Record? Now What? Stories

Think It's a State Record? Now What?

M.D. Johnson - March 26, 2020

There's no reason you can't be prepared if you catch a state-record fish.

When an angler has thinking time—like now—interesting thoughts come to mind.Sheltered in Place: I Miss My Boat-Ramp Friends Stories

Sheltered in Place: I Miss My Boat-Ramp Friends

Tory Mansfield - April 10, 2020

When an angler has thinking time—like now—interesting thoughts come to mind.

As wintertime takes hold, power plant lake bass fishing heats up for anglers that focus on a lake's optimal water temperatures.For Wintertime Power Plant Bass Lakes, Water Temperature is Key Stories

For Wintertime Power Plant Bass Lakes, Water Temperature is Key

Lynn Burkhead, OSG Senior Digital Editor

As wintertime takes hold, power plant lake bass fishing heats up for anglers that focus on a...

See More Stories

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now