ORLANDO, Fla. — Neil Young isn’t searching for a Heart of Gold; he’s scouting out fishing products to supply stores in his homeland.
Although it’s spelled the same as the famed musician, this Neil Young works for Tackleworld Australia out of Coolum Beach, north of Brisbane. He was browsing through the New Product Showcase at ICAST (International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades) last week looking for items to stock the land Down Under’s biggest tackle store chain.
“We’ve got 44 stores,” Young said. “We’re a buying group. I’ve come over to have a look at different products, see if there are any we can take back — find some supplies here. I’m just coming to have a look at the new products, see what everybody’s doing.
“I happen to know the guys from American Tackle, so I’m coming to see some of their products and see what we can do with them in Australia.”
Tackleworld Australia is the largest independent group in that country, with all of the stores individually owned and offering different products based on the species in their regions. Young is with the head office buying products to stock their shelves, and he has to consider saltwater and freshwater.
“We have all sorts of fishing in Australia, from big game right down to bream and trout,” Young said. “We’ve got so many species in Australia; it’s such a diverse fishery. It’s really hard to find enough products that we can sell in multiple stores, let alone individual stores, because the fishery from store to store varies.”
It’s not just based on the amount of brine in water. He said, for example, the methods to catch mackerel are different north and south of Queensland. So tackle on the continent requires a lot of innovation, Young said, especially for competitions that include Australia bass, bream and flathead derbies as well as big marlin tournaments.
“That same sort of gear for bass works for a lot of our fisheries,” Young said. “We can even catch trout on many of the lures, right down to bream, whiting. So the same small lures we’re using for bass, we can catch a whole series of estuary style, bread and butter fish.”
Getting the international look on things is fine, he said, because they’ll take ideas from anglers around the world and apply it to the Aussie fish. He said they buy lures from around the globe, like Finland, the U.S. and China.
“It’s interesting, some good stuff here,” he said of ICAST. “It all depends on where you are. At Tackleworld, we have tons and tons of store owners who are really keen fisherman, as opposed to the big chain stories who just employ young guys to work there.
“We try to get more people fishing. I suppose that is our motto. We have a range of gear for beginners right through to the ultimate stuff.”