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‘We realised we needed to start from scratch.’ How Energofish filled a gap in the night fishing market

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Solid research, total faith in its tackle developers and a tried-and-tested roll-out programme have taken the iBite indicator from smart idea to profitable product in key territories across Europe – and there is more to come, says Product Manager Sándor Sujkó. “We are ready to reach as many markets as we can.”

Charting the development of the iBite brand uncovers a classic case study of how to take a product from concept to successful sales across international markets. Hungarian company Energofish began the process by identifying the need for more smart technologies for night fishing and, in particular, bite indication. Market research revealed a big demand for advanced light emitting diode products (LED) for night fishing. But no one had a good solution for feeder tips. And floats currently on the market were poor, explains Product Manager, Sándor Sujkó.

“We realised that we needed to start from scratch if we were to successfully fill this gap in the market,” he says. The challenge for Energofish was to develop a luminous, water-resistant product with a self-contained power source – one that could be the basis not just for one product but for future innovations. The secret lay in a tiny, long-life battery capable of powering an LED, but it quickly became clear that the most difficult problem was in balancing the float in the water, a task entrusted to the company’s experienced engineers and planners.

“It took two years of planning, experimenting with materials and repeated testing before the first generation of iBite products finally appeared on retailers’ shelves in 2017,” says Sujkó. As with most of the Energofish portfolio, the first step in sales was taken in its domestic market, followed by Romania, Serbia and Slovakia, a process that gives the company almost immediate feedback on which to make forecasts for other markets.

The launch of iBite was, however, a little more complex. “We realised we needed to make a more detailed plan,” explains Sujkó. “We conducted further research before finalising the range. This not only clarified what the markets needed, but also identified the best marketing platforms to use to reach customers. As a result we produced additional models, sizes and colours and built a marketing strategy accordingly. Now we are ready to reach as many markets as we can.”

Exposure of iBite at the 2019 EFTTEX trade show in Brussels and trade advertising in Angling International magazine attracted further interest from additional markets like Germany, Scandinavia and Benelux. Although designed for freshwater, the idea also attracted interest from the sea fishing sector. Crucially the concept can be transferred across other fishing applications, increasing the long-term return for both manufacturer, distributor and retailer. Currently, Energofish is focusing on two methods – feeder fishing and float fishing. LED feeder tips and DIY Feeder Tip Guide Kits are the best-sellers in Eastern European markets, while further afield, iBite floats are in most demand. “Loaded wagglers, which are a completely new idea, have recently become the best sellers and allow match fishing at night,” says Sujkó. “In feeder fishing, the DIY Tip Guide Kits are most popular because anglers can easily change any tip to an LED glow tip when it gets dark.”

Looking ahead, Energofish is reluctant to reveal too many secrets, but hints that items for carp fishing may also be included in the iBite range.
So how has iBite changed the classic glow stick market? “Sales of glow sticks in the Energofish range are still massive,” says Sujkó. “Interest in single-use sticks is still high and it will be a long process to change that. But smart LED products are a good addition or alternative to chemical glow lights. There is a lot of scope for further development.”

iBITE – The three key concepts

  • Following traditional methods is important, but not without innovation.
  • Compact products are essential. Big won’t work.
  • None of the above works without reliability. It’s the only way to compete with Far East products.