This is definitely a special time of year. Not because of the crazy weather, not because of some upcoming holiday, but because of what just keeps coming in the mail. It seems like every time I open the slot on that magical box at the end of the driveway, there is another catalog in there.
No, it is not some clothing catalog, or one to accessorize my home, but I’m talking about the most coveted of all catalogs – the newest fishing catalog.
Ever since I was a little guy and spotted my dad’s giant spring tackle catalog, I have enjoyed browsing through the new issue every winter. There is something about it. The cover is always emblazoned with some sort of giant fish hooked on a sparkly lure that is jumping out of the water. The weather looks warm and the skies are blue. Sounds good about now, doesn’t it?
When I am done admiring the front of the catalog I turn all the way through, page by page, until I get to the back. Everything from boats, to rods and reels, tackle, lures and anything else that possibly can help you catch more fish is jam-packed between the covers.
The real reason I am interested is to see what is new. The lifeblood of any manufacturer in the fishing industry is to come out with new products each year that stimulate sales and keep things fresh. These products are first unveiled to dealers at the ICAST show in Las Vegas every summer. This show is not open to the general public, though, so for most folks, the arrival of the catalog is the first time these new products might be seen.
I always enjoyed walking around the ICAST show from booth to booth, but usually I was there selling stuff and couldn’t spend much time peeking at competitor’s offerings. But even if I would have had the chance to do just that, there is something about kicking up your feet in your recliner and browsing a catalog at your own pace that is special.
I’ll be honest, most new products are just repackaged or slightly re-tweaked versions of an older model. Every once in a while, though, something new and innovative hits the market that really has the potential to be a game-changer. Those are the things I am looking for.
These items hopefully catch fish at an amazing rate, but lots of them are even better at catching fishermen. This is quite obvious when the product has been on the shelves for a full year. Do other manufacturers copy it and offer their own versions the following season? If so, you just witnessed a big success. A lot of times this copycat mentality is most obvious in the color options that are available on lures.
I do find, though, as I look through this new catalog, I seem to always check out certain brands in-depth. Anglers are typically an extremely brand loyal group of people. When a person has success with a certain brand, they are quite likely to buy more of that product from the same company.
I also catch myself looking at all the new boats. It is interesting to see what amenities the new model year will offer. Some of these rigs are more comfortable than any car I have ever owned. I suppose they should be considering they cost way more than most cars.
These catalogs offer us the opportunity to daydream. They give us the chance to think about warm summer days, relaxing and casting for that elusive bite that keeps us coming back time and time again.
Be patient. The weather may be cold now, but sometime this winter stranglehold has to let loose. The days are growing longer and spring will show itself.
Until then, kick your feet up and enjoy your latest fishing catalog. I know I will.