Records tumble at Carp Zwolle as European shows blossom
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February is one of the biggest months of the year for European tackle shows and strong turnouts in France, Italy, Holland, Hungary and Ireland have boosted the industry as the new season approaches.
In Holland, Carp Zwolle sent records tumbling once again with more exhibitors and more visitors than ever before. Just under15,000 people packed into the Ijsselhallen in Zwolle for the two day event – an amazing 20% up on the record set last year – giving credence to Zwolle’s claim to be the biggest carp fair in Europe.
Anglers converging on the show caused traffic jams on the nearby motorway and post-show talk among the 140 exhibitors, drawn from eight different countries, was of record tackle sales.
With carp fishing still on the rise in Europe and the show celebrating its 20th year, a healthy attendance was anticipated. But even organiser Mick Paine admitted to being surprised by the scale of the show. “It was crazy. I have run this show since it began, but I have never known anything like this,” he told Angling International.
“We had 7,800 people in the hall on the Saturday and, although Sunday is usually quite well down, we still had another 7,100 through the door. I’m stunned by the turnout I can’t see anyone not wanting to come next year.”
Paine attributes some of the show’s growth to investment in social media. He hired an outside media company to put together an awareness strategy that saw up to 2,500 people following Zwolle on Facebook, and 4,800 responded when show tickets were on offer.
Keen to increase German participation in the show, Paine also advertised in German magazines, and added German and French to the English and Dutch languages on the Zwolle website. Tickets were made available online for the first time and accounted for 3,500 of the overall ticket sales.
Salon des Pêches en Mer, France’s biggest sea fishing show, was another event to attract strong consumer support last weekend. The three-day show, held at the Parc des Expositions in Nantes, is arguably Europe’s best saltwater show and was further boosted this year by the inclusion of a scuba diving exhibition.
EFTTA CEO Jean-Claude Bel was in Nantes and was impressed by what he saw. “It was absolutely packed on both Saturday and Sunday, despite the terrible weather,” he told Angling International. “The new hall, which was only completed a few months ago, was very impressive.
“Shimano, Pure Fishing and Rapala were not there, but it made no difference to the consumers, who had plenty to see and to try. Scuba diving is a closely related market and was a benefit. It was a very good show.”
Irish Angling Expo
The Irish Angling Expo attracted its first-ever Chinese exhibitor at the weekend. Jerry Fishing Tackle travelled from Weihai to Dublin and was rewarded with a great response to their products.
The appearance of the lure manufacturer was the latest milestone in the growth of the event, which this year attracted in the region of 10,000 visitors over two days.
Blue chip brands including Daiwa, Loop, Tubertini and Sonik were among other top companies who took space in Dublin’s National Show Centre, situated close to the city’s airport. Grace McDermott, of show organiser Mara Media, reported a “very optimistic trading mood” on the show floor.
“The crowds were spending and the show was rocking,” said McDermott. “The feedback I have heard is that everyone made money. Although we are a consumer event, a lot of trade business is also done and that was certainly the case this year.
“This was the best show in the six years I have been involved with it. Some companies, like Daiwa, were not selling off their own stand but were pleased to showcase their brands and then direct customers to the appropriate supporting retailer to buy product.”
The show was a triumph in more ways than one. Bad weather on the eve of the show meant delays for exhibitors booked on flights and ferries, with some arriving with little time to spare.
In addition to a strong trade presence, attractions at the show include a fly-tyers row, a lure demo tank, casting demonstrations and a number of top fishing personalities.
The show covers coarse, sea and game fishing and collaborates with the Irish Specimen Fish Committee to present tackle awards at a special ceremony (award winners will be posted on the Angling International web site in the near future).
“We have some really exciting plans for next year and a lot of exhibitors have already said they want to double their booth space,” added McDermott. “We have almost sold out already.”
Buying patterns at Carp Italy, which took place in Gonzaga, Milan, at the weekend, sent out some encouraging signals for the country’s tackle industry, according to one of its top distributors.
Fabio Boscolo, owner of Big Fish Fishing Products, told Angling International: “The best results were with products from the most iconic brands. We had a very good response to Gardner, Taska, Solar, Century and Leon Hoogendijk, which is a signal that people are not searching for no-brand, cheap products, but want to spend their money on something reliable and backed up by after-sales support.
“Italy is for sure going through tough times, but Carp Italy left almost everybody with the hope that our market, which has been ruined by heavy taxation and lack of financial aid, can find a way to remain viable.
“Some of the companies from other countries commented on how much enthusiasm there is about product in Italy, while in other countries the public is much more indifferent.”
Though official figures were not available, Boscolo said that attendance at the show had been good and that young people were especially in evidence. “Tackle sales have been good but the average spend has been lower than usual for many businesses,” he added.
Founded in 1999, Carp Italy is held in the Fiera Millenaria in Gonzaga and attracts manufacturers, distributors and retailers. Brands represented this year included Pure Fishing, CC Moore, Fox International, Korda Europe, Milo, Paioli Sport, Rekord Fishing and Imperial Fishing.