This blog post won't make much sense unless you watch this short, 3 minute promo video from the Japanese lure fishing tackle company MegaBass, and this post follows on from something I put up on my Facebook page the other day that then went all over the place as a "discussion". There was some really good stuff on there, but along the way I was also accused of a number of different things that I am not quite sure had much to do with my original question, buy hey-ho, it's a part of this working in fishing life!!
The question I asked in relation to this promo video was this : "Can you imagine a UK fishing tackle company ever making a video like this MegaBass one? I am not commenting on the quality/editing/music etc., rather the content and the message they seem to be conveying. For years I have believed that there is so much more that can be done with fishing here in the UK, but any plans and ideas have tended to fall upon deaf hears to be totally honest. One day or dream on?"
Now one thing I am not doing is having a pop at the UK fishing tackle trade, because I will leave the various conspiracy theories to the uninformed. You may well go fishing, love going fishing, and quite justifiably have zero interest in how the sport of fishing is marketed to us, or thinking about how we in the UK help to promote this sport and in various ways I suppose try to build and safeguard its future. I go fishing and I love going fishing, but I am also fascinated in how the sport of fishing is presented, both to anglers and to the non-angling world in general. Sure, I work in fishing, but it's way beyond that and always has been, and it fascinates me how we go about selling fishing tackle, the image of fishing, and at the end of the day, the desire to go fishing.
What are the feelings, if any, that the short MegaBass promo invoke in you? Do you feel in some way that this Japanese company is exploring the heart and soul of the simple act of going fishing, while using MegaBass gear of course - at the end of the day I must assume this short film is a marketing exercise, but doesn't it interest you how they have gone about it? And I must then ask - could the UK fishing tackle industry do a whole lot better with marketing fishing as more of a lifestyle thing that then creates more of a "longing" to be a part of it? We want to go fishing, so why not help increase that desire in us via marketing?
And I refuse to believe that this general lack of what I refer to as "inspirational marketing" comes down to a lack of cash. Sure, it's not as if it's been the easiest few years in economic terms, but why is it that marketing seems to the thing that is often cut back the most when the creation of image and desire surely is what helps sell fishing tackle and bring people into fishing? Why make really good fishing gear but then not put the same kind of energy and resources into telling people about it in a way that inspires? That MegaBass video I can bet you was put together pretty damn cheaply, as in the resources we have at our fingertips these days are staggering when compared to only a few years ago. You only have to look at some of these short fishing films appearing on the internet these days to see what can be done with talent, hard work and vision.
Why then does that not seem to be translating to the UK tackle industry, or is this whole blog post grossly unfair on my behalf? As I said, I am not having a pop at the industry because I work within it and I am immensely proud to do so, but in some respects, yes, it frustrates the hell out of me that we seem so reluctant to push fishing as what I believe it is or at least could be - "cool", sexy even. Desirable. Inspirational. Healthy/bloody good for youngsters to be encouraged in to (and away from those wretched computer games, and please don't go telling me that sitting indoors and playing them is in any way, shape or form remotely good for anybody). Fun. Social. A potential way of life that teaches respect, humility, dedication and a connection to the natural world that crap like computer games and other such drivel is never going to give anybody.
But what the hell do I know? I have no qualifications in marketing and I am simply a fishing writer/photographer who works on his own and probably thinks about things too much. I have sat in any number of marketing related meetings over the years with people and companies, talking and planning about fishing tackle, books, TV etc., and whilst I have met some great people along the way, I have also spent plenty of time beating my head against a brick wall and wishing that I could be somewhere else. I accept completely that my belief if you like that fishing should be an inspirational thing is either me being a dreamer, my lack of big business experience coming out, or quite simply wrong, but I stand by my beliefs at least. It's far too easy to be cynical in life and simply lash out at any number of perceived injustices in the tackle trade, but it's a business at the end of the day, albeit a business that centres around what for many of us is a lifestyle choice. We fish because we need to. How hard is it to feed into that?
Anyway, tomorrow I am spending the day at the rather good Chesil Bait'n'Tackle shop - check my blog post from Monday here. Have a good weekend all of you, hope to see some of you tomorrow, please New Zealand spare us a complete battering with this ridiculous scheduling that is the first Test, and may a few good fish crawl their way up your line.