How Your Cost to Start Fishing Can Be Less Than $50

By Debbie Hanson

Mar 08, 2021

Find out about the cost to start fishing, learn how to get the freshwater basics for under $50. Keep fishing costs low, get out to go fishing on a budget

If you’ve been wondering about the cost to start fishing, you might be surprised to find out that you can get your fishing license and the gear basics for $50 or less. In fact, fishing can be a very affordable way to enjoy time in the outdoors. Use the following tips to learn how to start fishing at a low cost.

Cost of a Fishing License

Annual fishing licenses generally run in the $17-$20 range for residents, depending on the state you live in. However, keep in mind that if you go fishing on a state-designated free fishing day, you can try fishing without having to purchase a license.

How Much Does Fishing Gear Cost?

Fishing costs associated with tackle, gear, and bait can also be very reasonable. You can buy a freshwater spinning or spincast rod and reel combo that comes pre-spooled with line for as low as $20. You may notice that many fishing clinics or derbies that focus on fishing for beginners use these basic rod and reel combos.

Hooks in sizes 4 or 6 are ideal for those who want to start fishing as a hobby for fish species like bass and panfish. A package of hooks will generally cost around $5, and you don’t need to worry about fishing costs associated with bait because you can always dig up a few red wigglers or earthworms from your garden or compost pile for free.

Once you have a spinning or spincast combo and hooks, all you need is a package of split shot weights for $1.99, a plastic bobber that you can buy for under a $1, and a pair of long nose pliers for removing fish hooks for $2.

To sum up, the cost to start fishing can be as low as $49.99, or even lower if you go fishing on a free fishing day. Spring is almost here, so it’s the perfect time to get the budget-friendly gear you need to have fun while catching a few freshwater fish in a lake or pond near you.

Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.