SCRANTON, Pa. — Selling his fishing gear on a Facebook Buy and Sell Group spawned an idea for Jose Rivera to start a new website.
“I had some equipment I wanted to get rid of, so I started a buy and sell group and it started growing really fast on Facebook,” said Rivera, a member of the New Jersey B.A.S.S. Nation Loaded Livewells club. “It got to around 40,000 members, which was one of the largest buy and sell groups on Facebook.”
The success of the Facebook venture prompted Rivera and Bassmaster Northern Open competitor Tony Dorman to create a buy-and-sell auction website, the Fishing Flea Market, that also features an interactive mapping system, live webinars, how-to videos and blogs.
The program for the mapping system includes 75,000 lakes and allows users to customize the maps by adding contour lines and marking fishing spots. Rivera noted some of the bloggers on the site are B.A.S.S. Nation anglers, including his club’s president.
Rivera, 50, was introduced to bass fishing in the early 1990s.
“I went fishing with a friend back then, and the first fish I ever caught was a 5-pounder,” he said. “I’ve been hooked ever since.”
When a co-worker told him about B.A.S.S., Rivera joined the Jackson Bassmasters and started fishing the New Jersey B.A.S.S. Nation tournament trail. When the Jackson club disbanded, Rivera joined the Great Falls Bassmasters and last year moved on to the Loaded Livewells club.
His B.A.S.S. Nation accomplishments include making the New Jersey state team and competing in the 2012 B.A.S.S. Nation Mid-Atlantic Divisional. Rivera also helped the B.A.S.S. staff introduce children to fishing during the Adventures NYC event at Central Park in New York City this summer.
The retired corrections officer who now works part-time for Piedmont Airlines has dabbled with websites in the past. Rivera invested in an online lure company, Pro Edge Baits, but eventually sold his half of the business.
Two years ago, Rivera started www.bassfishingmedia.com, which is devoted to product reviews and filming fishing events.
“People send in their product and we take it out on the water to test it and then do a product review,” Rivera said of his website. Rivera also attended the 2015 Bassmaster Classic and posted several videos of the event on his site. Staff for the site includes Dorman and Ed Cowan, a longtime B.A.S.S. Nation angler and former Bassmaster Classic qualifier.
Rivera said he hopes to eventually turn his website ventures into a full-time business with a little help from his fishing friends.