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The future of the fishing tackle industry?

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  • The future of the fishing tackle industry?

    I have been thinking recently about how much our sport has changed over the last 10 years and constantly getting new members join the Talk Angling site saying things such as "I have been out of fishing for 15 years and cannot believe how much it has changed since I was last involved in the sport". Many of these people are guys who drifted away from angling when 'girls' came along and now that perhaps they have young sons of their own they are looking to teach their lads about the great outdoors.

    Yes there have been significant changes over the last decade which lead me to wonder what most anglers would consider the biggest things that have affected the sport.

    Nowadays 'The Great Outdoors' however now might consist of a puddle in the middle of a carpark! Ok that description is more than a little unfair on some venues but when farmers began cashing in our sport and digging 'holes in the ground' a big shift occured. A very long time ago when I was growing up, as I am sure is the same experience of many anglers of my age and older, I spent my time on the riverbank! What are the percentages of youngsters these days that get to experience nature properly as I did - sadly very few I imagine, well compared to my day anyway. In the early 80's I spent my weekends stalking chub on little rivers often fishing without another angler in sight let alone earshot, we had some great days catching big roach on tares on the river Wey, evening matches on the Thames and when the weather was bad we went on the canals. I fished the Surrey winter league against the top anglers in the country on rivers such as The Mole, Thames, The Wey and many of the local canals - those types of Winter Leagues are long gone in most areas of the country and the few areas that do maintain what I would call a 'proper' winter league are struggling to keep their leagues together through ever dwindling numbers. The numbers are going to the commercial fisheries - people want to park behind their pegs, I must admit I did hate dragging a trolley half a mile to a peg where I expected to catch maybe 5 or 10lb and the convienience of being able to draw your peg then buy your bait and breakfast on site cannot be beaten.

    All that said there is a fundimental problem with 'commercials' because they threaten the whole tackle industry. There are so many commercials these days and most sell bait and tackle on site, this means that numbers of anglers visiting their local high street tackle shop are diminishing year on year and concequently many shops are going to the wall - never mind the harsh economic climate of the last two years.

    These on site commercial based tackle shops are not really anything like a proper shop, the range of tackle is often very limited perhaps to one or two manufacturers and specialised to the venue. Also you will probably not be offered a cup of tea and a chin wag! When I was a regular at Davies Angling in Staines more than 10 years ago it would be impossible get out of the shop in under an hour and often more than that... tea, chat, play with some new rods that were just in or discuss the latest tactics for the next days venue etc...all that time spent in the shop by anglers translated into more spending - those things just don't happen any more and the whole industry is suffering as a result.

    Couple the 'rise of the commercial fishery' with the 'rise of the internet' and you have a receipe for disaster for your local tackle shop.... it's not good! Prices on the internet for anything can always be cheaper - trouble is we are living in a cluture now that means youngsters are brought up on the concept of 'go to the shops and inspect the goods' then 'go home and buy it cheaper online'..... tackle shops are not just a showroom for manufacturers but that is where we are now. Manufacturers need to wise up and start to support the independant retailers and the only way they can make that work is to give advantageous pricing to in store sales, where the salesperson has demonstrated the product there is added value and the manufacturers need to recognise that. Wether they will or not is another matter!

    My other point relates to the tackle shops that are fishery based and the fisheries themselves. If we are to make the sport grow and prosper then these facilities need to be so much better - Commercial angling is here to stay and I believe there is a need for a next generation of commercial fisheries, with more space between pegs meaning better fish welfare, on site organised angling coaching, better fully stocked tackle shops and more organised social events for the regulars etc.... ok these things are coming and I hope that people will migrate from the hole in the ground fisheries. The current crop of commercials should take heed and think on about the future - stand still and prepare to be overtaken!

    Food for thought.... I would welcome any comments and thoughts on the future of our sport!
    I go to my local tackle shop every week and buy my bait and tackle there.
    I go to both my local tackle shop and buy bits and bait at venues tackle shops as well.
    I only buy my tackle and bait at a venues tackle shop.
    I buy my tackle online and only really bait at shops.
    Last edited by Oneabung; 12 November 2010, 12:56 PM.
    Simon Young
    Talk Angling UK fishing chat and tackle
    web design Doncaster - Limitless Digital

  • #2
    The rise in commercial fisheries with onsite shops and the internet is having a major impact on traditional tackle shops especially those that rely on a relatively small number of customers to keep the business going, each one of them are competing for many of the same customers and for many of the tackle shops their share of the pie is getting smaller while I expect their tackle sale related running costs are probably the highest of the three.

    Best case for everyone would be reduction in Taxes and VAT giving us more money to spend on our hobbies a more profit for all the tackle sellers and fishery owners.

    Maybe the answer is that all sellers of tackle must have a physical shop that is open to the public regardless of if they sell on the internet or not (not including those that make and sell their own handmade floats etc) and that on site tackle shops at fisheries are affiliated with a nearby tackle shop.

    As for next gernation commercial fisheries, although there is a place for them creating them would cost a lot of money and the the amount of land available to create them is getting less and less, if you used existing fisheries you still have the problems of lack of space in many cases and if it was a new venuse you have the problems of planning permission and the high cost of the land to contend with, so it's not likely that many new fisheries will really be created maybe just more existing ones improved.

    It will be interesting to see what changes occur in the next 10-15 years.


    • #3
      Well mate, i have to agree with almost every thing you say.
      Just turned 54, and the sport as we know it now bears little resemblence too the sport i knew 40+ years ago when i started.

      You had 2 choices then, river or canal. There was the odd lake/pond around, but too be honest you very rarely bothered with them.

      Tackle wise its like chalk & cheese. Fibreglass or cane/glass rods were the norm. If you could afford one, the Abu Mkv was the weapon to have.
      I remember paying £62 for my first Carbon rod, (1978), 2 weeks wages, Normark, endorsed by K.Ashurst. Must say it put the old Abu in the dark.

      But before i get lost in nostalga, lets not blame everything on the commercials/ on site shops/ internet.

      Commercials serve almost if not all you want for a day there. Once on site its all available without too much effort.
      Im not knocking commercials, but i feel that it has led to a lot of " instant anglers".

      How many of them have had a 78 peg walk, as i did once on the Trent.
      There are locally some very good anglers, who have never fished a river & probably wouldnt know how to start.

      Each to his own though.

      Most people today have, literally everything they want at their fingertips. No more in the shop for ages on a friday on the way home from work, spend ages, as you say just yapping or looking at bits & pieces as we used too.

      But dont you think that some, not all tackle shops are their own worst enemies?
      People knock the internet & e-bay, but most tackle shops use them as a outlet while moaning about the effect they have on trade.

      Quick example, i recently asked about a new seat box in my local shop." Dont have one in, if we get one, are you going too have it" ?

      Went on e-bay, saw the seat box, £140 cheaper than the local shops price.
      I expect you have guessed, but the "seller" was none other than a TACKLE SHOP in Yorkshire.

      £140 saving for 5 minutes on the laptop from the comfort of my home. No brainer i believe.

      Team fishing / winter leagues are sadly a thing of the past. Surely even the top teams only survive due to the very genorous sponsorship deals that they have secured.

      As for the future of angling, not all that many younger anglers about in our area. Too many other options that are a lot easier & maybe cheaper to get involved with.

      As for the tackle industry, who knows how far it can go ?

      Let me finish by asking you a quick question,

      Did you ever think that you would see a time when seatboxes are nearly £1000, reels £400+ & poles in the 1000s.?

      Sorry if its turned into a rant.

      cheers graham.


      • #4
        Graham, its part nostalgia and part wanting the sport to take a slightly different direction for me. Its progress in some ways with commercials as I hate to think where the sport would be without them now! I would just rather see a much better standard at commercials but like you say they are businesses and people got to make a living - I just think it could be done better....

        I look at the current crop of commercials and see 95% of them as the equivalent of 'Pay and Play golf courses'..... its about time we had some serious 'Augusta or Wentworth' style ones as well!!!! Heres to the future - may it be a bright one!
        Simon Young
        Talk Angling UK fishing chat and tackle
        web design Doncaster - Limitless Digital


        • #5
          How popular do you think a 'serious style' Commie would be? Presumably one where you weren't guaranteed a few bites and/or had a nostalgic 2 mile walk to your peg?

          I suspect the place would go bust inside 6 months.


          • #6
            To me many leagues on rivers are dwindling because the older anglers choose to fish the commercials instead (fair enough keeps them fishing) and there are no where near the number of kids coming into match fishing and so you can see the pool is reducing.

            I grew up fishing in (yes I mean in!) streams, and then on the Bristol Avon. My parents were not scared for me to walk off on my own with my small amount of gear to the steep sided banks of the river. I also spent most of my evenings out with my mates on my push bike. My street rarely has kids chatting / playing on it (and I have lived here for 8 years) and my two girls want to spend most of their free time behind a computer. I see very, very few kids in match fishing these days, I see very, very few kids fishing the river, but when I go to a commercial I do see a fair number of kids.

            When I was a kid in the 70's/80's there was nothing to do on a Sunday, with everything closed it was do some colouring read a book or go out, and it was literally boredom that pushed me into finding hobbies. Now Sunday is like any other day of the week and kids have loads of things to do (cinemas, bowling, etc) and lots of computer games to play!

            Let's not blame everything on the changes in "entertainment" though. From what I have observed in the Bristol area, it is the dissapearance of what I would call proper angling clubs who used to run junior sections that is a big issue. I think legislation stopped many individuals / clubs continuing and has therefor not given anywhere for kids to mix and grow up in fishing.

            Like most things, I think you can attribute many factors to the changes. But without a lot of new young anglers coming into the sport the tackle industry will shrink.


            • #7
              i reckon tackle shops are on the way out,with times getting harder and people having less spare cash people are shopping around more and for team fishing i think it,s going the same way as football but obviously on a smaller scale.most team anglers know each others abilities and it seems to me the best are joining ranks to create super teams! take my old team OSSETT,(by the way i don,t blame them)when we formed in division 5 we all came from ossett or the surrounding area,the present team come from a much bigger area and probably better i say i don,t blame them this as to be done to compete with other top teams doing the same but the point i,m really getting at is the rest of us get fed up of been also rans and team fishing is a bit of an elite league of top class anglers,hence smaller and smaller leagues!!as for the match scene in general i think people are trying to stay more local to cut costs and concentrate on 1 or 2 venues only to give them a chance against the big far as new kids coming through the sport is facing massive competition from the enormous choices kids have today from other sports ,computers,games,etc in our modern world!!!!


              • #8
                The one fact we need to think about very carefully though lads is ,would you let your lad and a mate go to say he Trent on their own nowadays ?
                I can remember our mothers packing enough sandwiches to last 5-6 of us the whole week ,think they were hoping we just might go for that long before we came home ,but yeah i kow i'm dreaming but in reality it is safer for them on commies .Trouble is thats the only way they know how to fish ,how many times have lads come on and asked "whats a centre pin" or "how do i go on in running water " things that were second nature to us" its not their fault and please dont ask me what could be done about it ? the obvious thing that comes to mind is "set up a club" well thats how we/it used to be but i cant see those days returning i'm afraid ,sad but true me thinks .


                • #9
                  Gandhi once said that 'there is more to life than increasing its speed' but with easy access to most things now, the thought of lugging kit along a river bank or waiting and working [to hard] to catch any fish just does not sit with the way 'modern' life is evolving. Combine these factors with parents concerns about 'what might be out there' most outdoor sports will suffer. But it is more than just these factors, if you look at the media that young people are exposed to, particularly modern films, it is all about action, danger and adrenaline, none of which sit with coarse fishing. (although playing a decent fish on double no6 classes as action for me!). I've seen kite surfing and landboarding grow year on year for the past 7 and it's still attracting more young people everyday as it is a sport that catches peoples attention. I've never really seen many people stop and watch someone fish (unless they are landing a fish at that moment in time). In my view, fishing does not seem to offer young people the type of identity they want to create for themselves in the 21st century....


                  • #10
                    Dont know about the industry BUT im glad that we have the internet does wonders for my buying power..Wouldnt want anyone to go bust as a result of it though however most of the ebay sellers for example are shop owners as someone pointed out in this thread...........
                    Me i buy local and the internet or from a commie shop no matter as long as they got what i want at the price i want to pay..Mind u to be honest when i walk into a tackle shop i bet u would never hear the owner saying this guys having it hard so i will give him a break and lower my prices.....As in he gets a bit ,i spend a bit and still walk out with a bit NO they think for them selves and over here anyway its ALWAYS TOP PRICES.................. Just google poles on the continent and see the difference .Why the same pole in the uk can be half the price with a bigger spares packet ,is a mystery to me!!!Yeah i asked them they come with some overheads story like they dont have them in the uk or me for that matter..
                    Nothing changes but Nothing remains the same!!!


                    • #11
                      strange how things change over the years used to love me friday or saturday visit to the local tackle shop cup of tea of coffee good old chat regarding certain venues and a look round to get what i wanted now im lucky if im in there 5 mins only to get maggot as they hardly have anything in there and my pellet is got from the pet store or on line like most of my tackle regards john rhodes


                      • #12
                        I am always amazed when I read about people being offered a cup of tea and a chat in the local tackle shop. When I was a kid, they couldn't wait to get you out of the shop. Even today in Wexford there are two small tackle shops, well one tackle shop and a bike shop that sells tackle. To be honest I have never been given any great advice about fishing in the locality in either shop. When I asked once about a discount, I was told the price is on the sticker, take it or leave it. Just take the money, thank you and good luck


                        • #13
                          When i first started fishing,(late sixties) the tackle shop was also the barbers,so it was short back n sides,or a basin cut,and a pint of mags,we used to call the owner barber Brylcream Bill..


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Mickangler View Post
                            When i first started fishing,(late sixties) the tackle shop was also the barbers

                            Good jobs PVA bags weren't available then, that could have led to some serious dissapointment, on many levels!

                            Half man, half Octoplus, half bean wannabe test pilot.


                            • #15
                              I completely agree with your comparison between commercial style fisheries and pay n play golf. But are more people fishing these days because of the convenience of commercials?

                              This type of fishery opens up angling to the very young and old, as well as those less mobile where disabled facilities can be provided. Coaching days for groups of kids, angling academies, buddy pegs, Indoor facilities for lady anglers and onsite cafes for the draw and payout for matches.

                              I agree, you cant beat running a stick float down a stretch of remote peaceful river, but that is a bit like an exclusive ‘members only’ golf course. Not everyone can walk the distance required & feel confident when they got there.

                              More people fishing means more tackle being bought and sold by the ‘industry’ whether it be local shops or one man bands making a few quid out of their garage on auction websites and car boot sales.

                              Surely a good shop run by a good shopkeeper will always have its place if they keep the prices reasonable and move with the times. I worked in a local tackle shop in the mid 80’s when I left school, we had a list on the wall with all the regular customers tea requirements. Milk 2 sugars etc etc, and we always gave advice and help.
                              But even then we made very little money selling rods and poles (didn’t sell enough of them to compete with large midlands based stores who advertised in A/Times) and the margin on bait was slim (but you wont be buying 2 pints of maggots mail order anytime soon) it was the bits n bobs that made the money. Hooks, line, metalware (bank sticks) the sort of things you need a few of every weekend but the postage buying them online means its cheaper to buy local.

                              Personally I tend to shop around for large items but buy local for bait and ‘sundries’. I probably average £30 to £50 per month spend in the local shop and ‘£far too much’ online & mail order !

                              What I would really like to see is a change in the stocking of commercial fisheries, with a few more silvers only lakes. Some of the best matches i have ever fished saw the top ten anglers split by ounces with all of us catching roach and skimmers for 5 hours solid.