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ICAST President and other figures predict ‘bounce back’ after short recession


Senior figures in the US angling trade expect any contraction in the market this year to be short-lived and for sales to bounce back so long as healthy participation numbers are maintained over the next 12 months.

There is general acceptance that angling will face a challenging year thanks to price inflation and high stock levels, but the feeling remains that angling is equipped to weather the storm and bounce back quickly.

As part of a special series of interviews in the January issue of Angling International, Dave Pfeiffer (pictured), the President of Shimano North America Fishing, said: “It is never easy to predict how severe of a recession we may face in the US and globally, nor can we reasonably predict how long it will last. What we can see and feel is that consumers are being challenged by a variety of unfavourable factors that likely will curtail the level of spending made on fishing over the last two-and-a-half years. The fishing industry also has to work through an over-supply of product across multiple categories. That will take time to achieve.” 

Glenn Hughes (main image, above), the President, American Sportfishing Association, agreed with the assessment, predicting that ‘fishing tackle sales at wholesale in 2023 will probably be soft relative to 2022.’ Hughes added: “In general, inventory at retail, from small ‘mom and pops’ up to the largest box stores, is very high and orders for new product this Fall for next Spring have been light. This has led to much higher inventory at many manufacturers as well. This funnel will need to be cleared for new sales to take place next year.”

But both expected a quick return to positive trading – provided that participation remained high. Hughes said: “Current data regarding inflation, cost of sales and interest rates leads most analysts to predict a recession into next year. Fortunately, fishing is a resilient outdoor activity and we still expect 50 million participants here in the US next year. The industry will bounce back for 2024.”

Pfieffer added: “Fishing remains a positive activity in times of both economic expansion and contraction. Additionally, people invested strongly in fishing during the COVID boom period and therefore we are hopeful many of them will stay with this activity as one of their primary choices.”

Meanwhile, the head of fly fishing trade body AFFTA, Lucas Bissett (below), sounded an even greater note of optimism based on the addition of new anglers during the years of the pandemic. Bissett told Angling International: “When our national and global economies pull out of this inflation-driven downturn, the fly fishing industry is poised to deliver hard and soft goods into the hands of our anxiously awaiting consumers.

“The fly fishing industry is optimistic about the 1.3 million new anglers who entered fly fishing in 2021 and the fact that 41% of those participants are women. Creating a more diverse user base will continue to strengthen the resilience of our industry as it continues to offer a welcoming space for all who want to participate in one of the greatest pastimes out there.”

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