Outlook & Analysis: Tackle Preparation For 2022 - The Fisherman

Outlook & Analysis: Tackle Preparation For 2022

sea-bass
From tuna to sea bass, jigs are one of the most versatile lures, which also makes them one of the hottest commodities in local tackle shops right now.

How to properly, and quickly, navigate supply chain problems in the world of tackle.

Whether we like it or not, the pandemic has changed the fishing industry for the foreseeable future, and we will most likely not see a correction for quite a long time.

The pandemic brought our community closer than ever with many new anglers falling in love with one of the oldest pastimes in American history, fishing. It’s not just a way to provide families with a meal, but one that leaves memories that will last a lifetime. But whether it’s your first or second season or even your 50th, we all know that it has never been harder to get the supplies needed.

You may have read that and thought “wow, why would he say something like that, I can get what I need at any tackle shop?” It is because the harsh reality is there might be a day in the near future when those shelves are bare, and you’re stuck with what you have in your tackle box right now. Well, that’s if you don’t take the proactive steps that I’m going to recommend. The fact is that the supply chain is struggling, manufacturers are lacking supplies, and the customer is going to be taking the hit on the price tag at the end of the day. It is the rawest form of economics that we were ever taught; if demand is much greater than supply, the prices will likely go up.

Also, here’s just a little bit of insider information; if you’re thinking about getting a new reel or rod from one of your favorite brands, you might just want to think about doing it before February. I just figured I would let you know as a friendly suggestion.

Inventory & Service

The 2021 season has come to a close, and while you have plenty of time to now daydream about fishing, perhaps it might be a better idea to take an inventory of what you have and need for next year. As each season ends and we get into the dark months of the winter, I will take time to organize and see what I still have left from the previous season. I make a list of what I need and then without waiting till the season is in full swing, I will buy it while they still have inventory.

Everyone in the last two years has been in this situation at least once where they get to their local tackle shop to grab supplies and are told “unfortunately, we are not able to get that right now, but it is on order.” I can tell you for a fact yes, it is on order and no, we cannot get that right now or we would have it. Most tackle shops are receiving stock they ordered roughly 12 months ago. This time of year is when you can get ahead by going out to the shops before the season starts and buying what you need as soon as possible. While some shops may still have stock, please don’t wait, because let’s face it, your favorite lure isn’t a secret and other people are going to be buying it too.

Our local tackle shops are known for the services they provide. Almost every shop will spool your reel with line for you, yet reel service has become much more of a hot commodity. Of course, you could send it back to whatever company makes it, but good luck getting that reel back within the next six months. I cannot recommend enough that if you have a reel that is broken and it needs parts or just a general service, do not wait until the spring or summer to get it fixed.

For the most part, if you bring a reel to a tackle shop now, you can expect to get it back in four weeks. That may sound like a long time, but the number of reels that get brought into your local tackle shop to get fixed is astronomical. If you need parts for the reel, odds are the manufacturer might not have them and you’ll have to wait even longer. That has not been a big issue for people looking to get line on your reels through this whole supply chain crisis. You can find the most popular brands of braid or hollow-core, but I would still not recommend looking to get that done in season.

flea-market
From the looks of The Fisherman’s calendar of events for 2022, the regional fishing flea markets will return this year this winter offering a few post-pandemic options. Photo by Jim Hutchinson, Jr.

The Tackle Dilemma

The pandemic ultimately got us in this situation where supplies are short and waiting until the last minute is no longer an option. Let’s break it down on how exactly we got here. Everything was shut down when the pandemic hit, putting many people out of work. Once everyone returned to work, it was a matter of not having the materials to make what the consumer demanded since production was previously halted. Ultimately, we would see a slow movement of products into your local tackle shops.

The latest dilemma this past season was that we didn’t have enough means of transportation in the United States to deliver the product once they got to port, then leading to delays in unpacking in port. This would leave ships sitting off the coastline. Many of you who fished this past summer have seen the ships sitting close by waiting to go into port, which many didn’t move for weeks. The lack of available containers on the ships and the delivery cost has skyrocketed, making a single container aboard not an economical means of shipping.

Many major companies in the meantime, turned to ship the product via air freight which believe it or not, happened to be cheaper at the time. This is why you don’t see as much on the shelves with longer restock times despite significant efforts by local tackle shops. The prices of products change each year, but in 2022 you will see a great spike in prices across the board in almost every product due to the supply chain crisis. As time moves forward, we will slowly see a correction, but those prices most likely will never return to what they once were.

reel-seat
Izzy from the Reel Seat in Brielle, NJ helps Jerry Kaulius gear up before the holidays. This article’s author, also a Reel Seat staffer, suggests gathering supplies and having reel service done this month to avoid getting stuck at the dock to start the 2022 season. Photo by Jim Hutchinson, Jr.

What’s Hot For ‘22?

Based on the last season, there are quite a few items you’ll want to get this offseason due to the difficulty customers had getting them. These items will not be on the shelves come this summer and you are going to want to have them beforehand.

Jigs – Every year, pandemic or not, jigs fly off the shelf. From tuna to sea bass, they are one of the most versatile lures, making them one of the hottest commodities in a tackle shop. Each year manufacturers cannot keep up with the demand with the customers in the northeast. Small casting jigs, along with speed jigs, were the hardest to get your hands on once the season was in full swing. This is nothing new, so why wait and be stuck empty-handed?

Top Shelf Reels – Many different brands of reels remained out of stock for several months this past year. Amongst the hardest to get were top shelf, the most expensive reels. If you are looking to get a high-quality spinning reel time is of the essence. The same applies to top-shelf trolling equipment. If you have a particular brand you prefer, it most likely won’t be there come June. Not many reels remain being made in the United States, and even those companies who do, struggle to deliver supply. Reels were the hardest item to come by this past year.

Fluorocarbon – The most surprising item that most tackle shops ran short on this summer was fluorocarbon. It came down to a combination of a fantastic tuna bite very close to home and an already short supply of fluorocarbon. At the beginning of August, there was not much of a variety left. The popular line weights were 30- to 60-pound and 130-pound-plus for most of our tuna customers at the Reel Seat in Brielle, NJ, which on average only lasted a few days on the shelves.

My parting advice will be if you plan on getting in on the action in the 2022 season, start your prep now. Make a list of what you lack, and gather your supplies this winter so you aren’t stuck at the dock this season.

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