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Southwick: high school fishing is generating extra tackle sales

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Rob Southwick, President of Southwick Associates, believes high school anglers are influencers, who have significant sway on tackle choices.
↑ Frank Peterson, President and CEO of the RBFF – one of the agencies that commissioned the survey.

High school fishing clubs in the US are generating extra sales for tackle companies, according to a new report.

It shows that in the 12 months after joining a fishing club, 23% of members spent more than $1,000 on tackle and equipment, while 7% spent between $700 and $1,000.

Average spend in 2018 for club members was $658, almost double the average spend by non-club members at $332.

Conducted by Southwick Associates, the study also reveals brand preferences, with 42% purchasing Lew’s rods over the course of 12 months, followed by Abu Garcia (32%), Shimano (23%) and St. Croix (22%). Fifty-eight per cent chose Lew’s reels, 46% Shimano and 40% Daiwa.

There were also favourites among clothing brands, including Huk (62%), Columbia (50%) and Under Armour (37%) over the 12-month period.

Southwick carried out the study for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF), the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society, Fishing League Worldwide and the Student Angler Federation.

The report also provided insights into participation. “We had a hunch that high school fishing clubs were valuable to the industry, but likely weren’t driving participation growth,” said RBFF President and CEO, Frank Peterson.

“This research supports that, as 99% of participants already fished prior to joining a club. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t opportunity here. We see a tremendous opportunity to encourage clubs to help recruit a more diverse membership and turn those new members into lifelong anglers.”

Southwick Associates President Rob Southwick believes the biggest opportunity to tap into these clubs may be among retailers and manufacturers.

“High school anglers are early adopters and have spent more money on fishing gear than their non-fishing club peers,” he said. “High school anglers are influencers, having significant sway on the fishing tackle brands chosen by others of their age.”

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