It's nearly that time of year again. The fall fly fishing
tackle show in Denver. This retailers show has been going
on for a number of years, under different names and in various
cities. But the reason for it has not changed.
It is where manufacturers display their goods and shop owners,
(retailers) see the newest, the latest and greatest. Some
retailers place their orders for spring at the show, many
however take notes, make their lists, then go home and match
their available space, stock on hand and budget with the new
goodies they have seen.
For manufacturers it is an expensive proposition. Shipping a
booth, the stock, paying the bills for airfare, hotel, food,
entertainment and the salaries of those working the booth is
not cheap. One of our Sponsors who no longer does a booth at
the show told us just his shipping costs for the show in Salt
Lake two years ago was over $6,000. Just to ship the booth!
Some of the manufacturers have very elaborate booths, I can
only imagine the cost.
We've been told by many of the manufacturers they cannot
possibly recoup the costs of this show. It goes in the budget
somewhere as advertising and marketing, and the little guy who
buys product is the one who pays as an increased cost of product.
For the shop owner who does attend the show, there is an
advantage in that they do get to see most of the new products
in one place at one time. On the other hand, eventually a
rep from most of the companies will show up with the new
products right at their shop. I suppose if one were so
inclined to have the newest, latest and greatest you would
absolutely have to attend the 'big show'.
But it's not cheap for the shop owner to fly to Salt Lake or
Denver to attend the show either. We've attended several
over the years, and while we have been able to bring you
news of what's happening in the market place, it has always
been an expensive thing for us to do. (And since we aren't
selling anything, we can't raise our prices to cover it.)
I do have some thoughts about the folks who do make money
on this particular show. It's the people who put the show on.
When it is all said and done, I suspect they are the only
ones making money on it - and that is exactly what their
business is, making money by producing these shows.
Okay, so you are a manufacturer and you are going to attend
the show as a manufacturer. How do you get the most possible
attention for your company? A few years ago a major eastern
fly fishing company came out with a "revolutionary new concept"
in a rod. They advertised it, and advertised it some more.
When it came time for the show there was over 40 identically
dressed people all touting the wonderful new rod. The rod
was junk, and they revised it a couple of times. I'm not
sure if it still exists. But some bought it.
Years ago the unveiling of the new model year of any given car
was a major event. Car dealerships went through all kinds
of hype, until the big day when that particular new model
was introduced. It really was a very big deal. Nothing
like it left today.
Well, that's not exactly true. It is to a lesser degree for
sure, but it seems like each of the major companies (and
some of the minor ones as well) must come out at the show with
a new, wonderful, revolutionary rod, line, reel, widget which none of us can live
It is true that from time to time there can/may be some really
new introduction of materials or perhaps taper created or
discovered by a rod company which results in a truly new
and superior fishing rod. But in truth I believe that is
rare. What we have is a juggling of existing materials,
tapers and cosmetics. We do not have, as yet at least,
anything really new in fly rods in the last five or six
years. And if you are into bamboo, I wonder how long
it's been when there was something truly new there either.
How many new fly boxes are there? How many new reels?
Carry it on through. . .how many do we really need?
Does the acquisition of all these new goodies improve our
fishing - or do we just hope it will? Do we try and substitute
new stuff for the acquisition of knowledge which might really
improve our fishing? Or improve our casting skills? Nothing
wrong with being a consumptive fly fisher, just as long as
you can afford it and realize it isn't going to catch more
or larger fish.
Unfortunately the cost of promoting and advertising new
product does have a bottom line. It is the cost to the
consumer. Those companies who advertise heavily to have
their name out in front of the parade do become the 'name'
companies - and their products are also the ones with the
highest price tag.
Fly Anglers OnLine does need Sponsors since we don't sell
anything, nor do we charge our readers to access this website.
It becomes a two-edged sword because we want to see more people
get into fly fishing - yet the price of equipment is a shock
to those making the switch from spin or bait fishing to fly
fishing. We try and balance who is a Sponsor here by inviting
companies who produce good equipment at more than one end of
the spectrum. But I fear the cost of attending the big shows,
the amount of advertising necessary by manufacturers to gain
any market share is so expensive the cost to fly anglers will
continue to go up.
Perhaps instead of each of the manufacturers competing for a
piece of the same pie (market share) they might instead spend
more of that precious advertising dollar into bringing more
new people into fly fishing. It strikes me that the
efforts being made elsewhere don't seem to be working.
Supporting Fly Anglers Online would be a nice step in
While we want to be able to bring the best information about
all aspects of our sport to you, we have made a decision not
to attend the 'big show' in Denver this year. We communicate
with our Sponsors on a regular basis, and we will bring the
new goodies to you - some actually in advance of the Denver
retailers show. Stay tuned, we'll have some interesting
things for you to see. ~ LadyFisher
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