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updated: 2/15/2012 6:42 PM

Get real, and don't bite on all the fishing tackle hype

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I am told competition is good in the business world.

My mentors have explained that in many cases, companies have a tendency to improve their market position and share simply because competition forced them to take a better look at their strategic planning.

I have also been told competition is very good in the fishing and outdoor business.

For example:

The more marketing dollars a company has available to feed the public relations pipeline, the stronger the possibility that the company's product will do well at the retail level, especially when the product line is produced in a foreign country.

Take the SchmorkaTackle Company (a fictitious name). They're the new kid on the block and they've come out with what the company calls a new and revolutionary casting reel.

This baby has 25 titanium ball-bearings, all working in conjunction and supposedly offering the angler the smoothest retrieve since Buick came out with the Dynaflow auto transmission.

I will never forget the evening when business associate George and his wife came for dinner.

After coffee, I showed George my latest acquisition, a new casting reel from a major Japanese company that figuratively felt like butter when put into retrieve mode.

George was amazed. He was also flabbergasted when he engaged the reel's anti-reverse, and then commented the system was the best he'd ever seen.

And to top it off, the casting reel was jam-packed with enough ball-bearings to keep a large battle tank rolling forever.

I still use that reel to this day.

But the marketing pitch was about the smoothness and "castability," which some anglers look for despite the price tag.

And when the pros were signed up to endorse the reel, members of the fishing public were supposed to swoon and lay their credit cards on the counters across America.

Here it is, 2012, and nothing has changed.

The competition factor in the fishing business is so keen that sometimes these members of the fishing public have far too many choices to examine when looking looking for something to buy.

Take the new bass hooks that hang on pegs in the tackle shops.

All one has to do is watch 10 minutes of weekend fishing shows on the tube and witness a marketing bombardment from the guys who are high up on the tournament leader board.

A new hook product crossed my desk this past week. It came from a company that made its appearance on the market with a rather extensive line of crankbaits.

Now, the company that is manufacturing the hooks is none other than China.

Surprise, surprise.

But I must say this item has some merit, even before the PR blitz cranks into high gear. The hooks come with a bunch of miniscule soft, twist on and off tungsten weights.

This is one product I could like.

But let's get real for a moment or two.

We can walk into just any tackle store and suddenly become hypnotized by the massive display of plastics, crankbaits and spinnerbaits, hooks, sinkers, and framadoodles.

Our eyes become glazed over, and our breathing suddenly becomes labored. You look in one direction and you spot a lure with a price tag that resembles what you used to pay for rent when you first got married.

And then the drooling starts. What's an angler to do?

You could adopt an attitude like panfish maven Chuck T., who claims he hasn't bought a new fishing rod in almost two decades.

During his on-stage seminars, he used to preach that today's fisherman didn't have to buy anything new, especially rods and reels, in order to catch fish.

That modus operandi may have worked for him for a lot of years, but it's doubtful the president of the Schmorka Tackle Company would think twice about spending a buck or two to take this guy out for a quick burger and a day on the water.

• Contact Mike Jackson at, and catch his radio show 6-7 a.m. Sundays on WSBC 1240-AM and live-streamed at

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