Cheap. Cheap. Cheap. The editorial zeal shown by most media—including this one—for the best deals on gear or the least expensive, so-called great trips is beginning to sound like the noontime chorus at a chicken ranch. Maybe we’re overdoing it. I mean, what’s wrong with expensive?

Years ago, I paid my dues many times over sleeping in car seats or under polyethylene sheeting next to trout streams or striper beaches, which I fished with cheap tackle while having an absolutely wonderful time. In later years, I was able to fish from higher-end lodges, either by hook (my own money) or by crook (the kinds of freebies writers sometimes get). I have to say that a hot shower after fishing, followed by a Cuban cigar (where legal) and martini enjoyed while somebody else does the cooking is not a bad thing.

Obviously, not all can afford the high end. Neither can I, at least not often. My wife and I still camp out on many of our fishing trips, partly because we just enjoy the camping and partly to save money. And once in a great while we splurge on a higher-end trip. Expensive is not so much bad, I think, as it is an aspiration. If it weren’t for expensive, what would we aspire to?