Every year I evaluate the fishing industry and the economy from a domestic and international prospective. I’m a Bassmaster Elite Series angler but I’m also an industry businessman. I was a business and economics major in school and I own Missile Baits. We make soft plastics, jigs and have a line of clothing. For the fishing industry as a whole, the immediate future looks bright.
There are various reasons for this. The national economy has been slowly making gains. Conditions for business have been changing for the better since the first of the year and we are all seeing it in the markets. The fishing industry has also been positive the last few years and many companies and retailers are seeing strong sales in 2017.
There are only a few conditions holding back the fishing industry right now. Gander Mountain went through a bankruptcy. That left a condition where many fishing companies that were owed money got pennies on the dollar. Gander will be back but some damage was done.
Another situation that’s affecting us in a negative way is the Proposition 65 situation in California. Without going into all of the details, it has to do with having the proper warnings on products that contain chemicals that are on “the list.” This list gets amended and updated every year. Companies have to stay on top of it if they sell their products in California. The bottom line for fishing companies is that the situation will cost pretty much every company selling lures in California some amount of legal fees and we all know those can add up.
There is a third condition that entraps much of the fishing industry. Details are best left out but it could see another condition where many fishing lure companies get shorted sizable amounts of sales revenue. Some companies would be harmed more than others. Some companies will go out of business. Some will just have a small percentage of sales written off. The only reason to mention this condition is that my company is one of the many involved in this deal. I am doing all I can on this but we will make it through either way.
The business consolidations that are taking place should not affect the consumer much. The truth is that many sectors of the American economy are seeing consolidation. Some companies can operate more efficiently as one unit. Some companies take advantage of their size to change market conditions in their favor, not the consumer.
In a huge way the Internet has changed much of the marketplace. Consumers, including tackle junkies like me, buy their goods online in addition to brick and mortar outlets. The Internet will help protect against the negative effects of any business consolidations.
Looking at the big picture, the net effect is that the American economy is trending upwards and so are fishing related businesses. The more money a company is generating in revenue, the more research will be put into products and the more unique, never seen before, lures will be available. We all like that.
That’s the business side of things. On the fishing side it’s even more positive in my opinion.
We see more and more anglers fishing recreationally and joining local clubs to fish tournaments. High school and college programs are on fire. The Bassmaster Elite Series is seeing record crowds at the weigh-ins and a record number of people watching Bassmaster Live while tons of other fans are following tournaments through social media.
Top level bass tournaments, namely the Bassmaster Elite Series, drive much of the fishing industry trends and sales. Countless lures have been sold out because of B.A.S.S. tournament wins and high finishes. This phenomenon is as strong now as ever, mainly because of Bassmaster Live, and its effect isn’t just on recreational anglers. It makes me go buy lures, too!
Bassmaster Magazine and B.A.S.S. Times are important, too. They have a large number of readers and are legendary for disseminating useful bass fishing information. The ability to explain the why and how of a technique can’t be replaced. B.A.S.S. media still drives a lot of the trends and helps anglers catch more bass.
Websites like this one are a critical part of the equation, too. The information on them helps guys catch bass and it also drives sales. Where better to get top-shelf bass fishing advice than from an Elite Series pro?
I don’t see any of the media slacking off, including the media outside of B.A.S.S. If anything, it’s getting bigger and better. Anglers read and watch the media. They buy products, learn more techniques, and catch more bass.
The business profits from their purchases drive more research and sales. In turn, that puts more bass in livewells and makes for more purchases. It’s all positive as long as business or general economic conditions don’t hold us back.
The bottom line is that many fishing companies are in a positive, if not perfect, financial situation. We should be in a position to keep churning out great new lures that’ll help us catch more bass.
Things are pretty good.