Float your boat

About the author

Kevin VanDam

Kevin VanDam

In the world of professional bass fishing, Kevin VanDam is at the pinnacle and arguably the best in the world.

Everyone in the fishing industry is concerned about the boat market. It's true, fishing boat sales are down nearly 50 percent during this recession. That's not good news. Concern is not panic, however. The trend is upward. Sales in the second half of this year are on a pace to exceed those in the first half. Things are getting better.

Now, that doesn't mean every company will survive. Our economy is based on capitalism. That means some companies will fail. Success is never guaranteed. Nevertheless, enough of them will survive to make good, high-quality boats that'll help us catch fish. Boats will get better, too, as competition forces companies to improve their products.

I just returned from the Tracker/Nitro Convention where we talked about the upcoming year. I have to say I left the meeting encouraged. We're on the right track. We'll be one of the ones that survive and prosper.

Let's look at the consumer. He's cautious, looking for value. Gone are the days when "give me one of those" is commonly heard on the sales floor. He's checking things out carefully and making sure he's getting all he can for his money.

But that doesn't mean he isn't buying. One thing I know about is fishermen. They're going to fish. That means they'll need a boat, a motor, electronics to go with them and at least some of the other bells and whistles that are found on modern fishing rigs.

Tracker and Nitro are working hard to meet the needs of the modern angler. We have a line of new rigs coming out that we think will get the job done. They're priced right, are durable and will fit into almost any angler's system.

Many of them are multipurpose boats such as V-bottom rigs that'll double as crappie, walleye and bass fishing platforms for those of us who live in the northern part of our nation. We also have designs that'll do the same thing for anglers who live down South.

They've been designed to include the accessories that'll help everyone catch more fish. And, because they're wrapped into complete packages, they offer great value.

All this doesn't mean we've neglected the serious tournament angler, however. We have top-shelf offerings for them, offerings that meet their specialized needs.

I've always said one of the things I'm most proud of is my association with Tracker and Nitro. They give me the kind of fishing platform I need to perform at the Elite Series level. I can't tolerate recurring problems or frequent repair issues. Dependability is critical. I get that with Nitro.

What I'm saying is that there are bargains and good deals out there if you can take advantage of them. If you can't, hang on for a while until things get better. The boat industry will be around when you're ready.

Remember, it's all about the attitude.

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