Al Campbell, Field Editor

September 10th, 2001

Al's Pick of the Fly Fishing Retailer Show,
Salt Lake City, 2001
By Al Campbell

I always seem to be the bargain hunter at the shows. After all, I'm usually there looking for the best values to offer to my customers. Considering the thousands of items to look over, and all the people who want to show me everything they have to offer, that's often a big task. Trust me when I say that not everyone who claims to offer a product that has a lot of value for the dollars spent is telling the truth.

It seems everyone has a new gizmo, gadget or garment to offer at the Fly Fishing Retailer show. There are more new reels and rods and lines than the mind can comprehend. One company will try to overwhelm you with technical jabbering when you ask why their product costs twice as much as a similar product down the aisle, while another company will just say theirs is the best. Whew, it's always a pleasure when you find something of value that doesn't cost at least ten times what it's worth.

This year I studied and probed and looked for the best values. I was almost successful in avoiding the hooks of those who wanted to lure me into their booth so they could molest my time and sensibilities with another product nobody needs and most of us don't want. I even found some good bargains that I think my customers will enjoy without having to choose between steady meals and another new gadget.

When a trusted manufacturer asked me to look at a product he thought I would like, I followed him based on that trust. When it turned out to be another personal pontoon craft company, I nearly walked out of the booth having seen dozens if not hundreds of similar looking craft for sale just down the aisle of the show. I even expressed my doubts that I would even stick around for the discussion because I was sure their product was another pontoon craft in the $800 plus category. (It looked like it was in that price range.)

I nearly fell over when the manufacturer pointed to four of his pontoon boats fully equipped with oars and added accessories with price tags under $400. I'm talking about welded frames, one which was aluminum, foot bars, cargo racks, fold down boat seats, take-down oars and other nice features for prices that start at just over $330 for the models with 8 or 9ft pontoons. Did I mention I was shocked?

Al congratulates Water 
Skeeter President and designer Bob Myers Water Skeeter isn't exactly new to the market (they've been around for slightly more than a year), but they are new to me. Something else that's new is a manufacturer who looks for ways to provide more bang for your hard earned buck without sacrificing any features or safety. Bob Myers, president of Water Skeeter, says he decided to start the company because he was convinced he could build a better pontoon craft and sell it at a price much lower than the other products on the market.

The Water Skeeter pontoon boats I looked at were every bit as nice, had more standard features, and cost much less than the other pontoon craft just down the aisle of the building. In fact, I would say that feature-for-feature, Water Skeeter pontoon boats are half to one fourth the price of any similar boat on the market. I'm impressed.

deflated main bladder

My show pick last year was another type of pontoon craft. I was hesitant to pick a pontoon craft again, but I couldn't find a better value for the money required to buy it. There just wasn't anything that provided a better price reduction for the quality available, than this company's boats. They even have a U-shaped float tube (called the Day Tripper) with pontoons under it that will float a 250 pound person after all the air has been let out of the pontoons and float tube. Will your float tube do that? Will it do it for less than $240 retail?

I'm not going to pick a single item; I'm going to pick a company this year. Water Skeeter pontoon boats and float tubes are my pick of the show. There were other true bargains there, but none that I saw provided more value for your hard-earned dollar than Water Skeeter pontoon boats and float tubes.

Camo version pontoon craft

For more information on Water Skeeter pontoon boats and float tubes, contact:

Sports Innovations, Inc.
2701 E. Hammer Ln., #110
Stockton, CA 95210
Ph: 209-951-8662
Fax: 209-951-9311

Or visit their web site at : . ~ AC

Previous Al Campell Columns
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