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Opinion

Rob Carter: Is fishing’s luck likely to last?

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Here at Angling International we’ve been wondering. How do you take advantage of short-term opportunities while also planning for long-term gains? It’s a classic business question, which I am sure you have attempted to answer plenty of times before. But it’s one that has been given additional focus by the quite remarkable situation that the angling trade finds itself in right now.

I can think of few industries that have fluctuated so wildly between zero consumer activity one month and near record-breaking demand the next. For angling, is a remarkable turnaround. And from conversations I have been having with our advertisers, people in our industry are making an incredible effort to honour orders placed before the lockdowns and, on top of that, meet the added demand brought about by angling’s sheer good fortune of being the perfect leisure activity for our time.

In countries all over the world, long-standing anglers are fishing more often; and new anglers are signing up like never before. It’s a golden opportunity to claw back the huge losses incurred during the second quarter of the year. But, it’s more than that. It’s also a golden opportunity to secure the future for a whole generation of industry professionals.

Product developers, pro-staffers, brand managers, sales teams, warehouse managers, retailers, media professionals, guides and those people organising the affairs of our trade associations. We all stand to win if we fully capitalise on the opportunity that has fallen into our laps. We’ve got lucky. Sales are booming right now. But that luck won’t sustain us forever. The question is, how are we going to convert these short-term advantages into long-term gains?

It is the most pressing question of our time. I would suggest that right now, answering it is more important than dealing with conservation issues or plastics and pollution or access to fishing or any other huge topic that has been vexing our industry these past years.

And I say that for two reasons: firstly, if we don’t answer it soon, the question won’t even be there to answer. Its time is now. Like it or not, circumstances are dictating that new anglers are receptive to our messages today and for a very short time after today. They won’t even be with us at all if we don’t reach out to them in the next weeks and months.

Secondly, with extra numbers of participants comes added political power. We will be stronger and have more influence as an industry if we have more economic might. And that might follows from having more active participants spending cash and being engaged in the issues that matter for the long-term survival of recreational fishing. Build the numbers now and you will protect angling for the future.

 

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