A couple of comments on my last post about the Van Staal spinning reels got me thinking about what I know is an emotive subject for some anglers - where your fishing tackle is actually made. Not designed, but actually manufactured. It is important to note that there is often a difference between where fishing tackle or gear is thought of and/or designed and then actually put together or made. But does it matter where the fishing tackle we use is actually made ?
Working in fishing I naturally get to hear a lot of different stuff, and to be quite honest, a lot of it is complete rubbish. Some of the "conspiracy theories" that I hear from time to time just make me giggle, but what does strike home is how much easier it is these days to be well-informed. On the flip side though it is also a whole lot easier for rumours to start, spread like wildfire, and then create supposed "fact" that is way off the mark. Information moves so much faster these days, and we can get our hands on so much more of it - but is this always the best way ? I stand on both sides of the fence here..........
So let's take a product like the Van Staal VSB100 that you can see above - I have heard all manner of rumours that because the production of these tanks has apparently moved from the USA that the quality must surely be lower. But why ? If indeed these reels are now being made or assembled in say China, does this really matter one bit ? The only thing that matters is the quality and the reliability of the end product. Most of us are using a lot of fishing gear that is made in a country like China, and it usually works just perfectly for us. All countries make good gear, and all countries also make a lot of rubbish gear. The fact that a rod or reel might or might not be made in an English or non-English speaking country means nothing. You would not believe the amount of high-end fishing gear that comes out of places like China and Korea, even though we might naturally assume that all the high-end fishing tackle from that part of the world must surely come out of Japan. And we would be wrong to assume that all fishing gear sold as being "made in Japan" is actually made in Japan............
I do agree that in a perfect world we would all be using fishing tackle that is designed and built in the UK, because this would be providing much needed jobs and increased dosh into our economy. But the world is far from perfect, and we are naturally going to look for the best quality we can get our hands on for the lowest amount of money possible. That's simply a fact of life. I am not in one camp or the other here, I am just an angler who wants to buy and use good fishing tackle. And if you are into your "modern bass fishing", a lot of the time you are simply going to have no choice but to buy fishing gear that is both designed and made outside of the UK - even if you are a staunch "buy British" angler. But that's more a mix of other markets being more developed than us and also the fact that stuff is generally cheaper to make overseas.
One aspect that I do really sympathize with the tackle companies about is the "my mate heard this such and such rod breaks for no reason" or "I've got a mate who's got a mate who says that this line keeps snapping" etc. - the rumour mill grinding away full bore. Now of course anything can go wrong from time to time with an item through no fault of our own. I have snapped a few rods for no apparent reason before, but it's very rare. I have actually got to the bottom of a few "this rod is rubbish because it snapped" stories in the past, and virtually every single time it can be traced back to angler error. But the angler does not want to admit it, of course not !! The rod might have been dropped hard on the rocks or it could have been seriously high-sticked into a snag etc. The problem is that rumour spreads fast, and truth mixes with fiction to sometimes create completely unfair "fact" that does damage to good gear.
One of the best ones I heard a few years back was an angler who delighted in telling me that a certain mainline I was using and abusing to great effect was in fact rubbish because it kept breaking on his leader knot. But I knew how good this line was. I let this guy go on and on until I eventually got to the bottom of it - he was actually using what the tournament casters call a "blob knot" for his fishing. A "blob knot" is an incredibly weak shock leader knot that works great for casting because it is so small. I used to use it for casting myself. But never for fishing. It breaks far too easily. The bloke wouldn't have it though. "Rubbish line"..............angler error more like. But how many anglers believed the guy rattling on about having problems with his mainline ? It is human nature not to like admitting when we are wrong.
I am not sure it matters one bit where your fishing tackle or gear is made - ok, so I would love it if the world was perfect and I could buy everything British all the time. But I live in the real world. "Designed here", "made here", "thought of here, pieces made here, assembled here" means nothing when all that you want is as much quality as possible for the money you have available. I am sure we have all used and abused some truly awful fishing gear before, and we have also had the pleasure of using all manner of awesome stuff as well. And I bet that some of this gear was made in the UK, and a whole lot was not. Don't believe all the rumours you hear. Get to the bottom of things if you can. Always remember that works well for one person does not necessarily mean it will be perfect for you - and stuff that does not work well for one person might actually be just what you are looking for. If the world was perfect we would be able to try out all the fishing gear before we went out and thrashed it to death.................but what did I say about the world ?