An in-house analysis of the American Fishing Tackle Manufacturers Association's Super Outdoor Market held in California last month found that fishermen are becoming harder for manufacturers to catch.
The reason? In the simplest terms, it's money -- or the absence of it in the consumer's pocket.
After 10 years of rapid development in fishing gear, consumers apparently are less likely to buy the latest rage in reels, rods or electronics.
"You are going to see simplicity and quality on product coming back," Denny Stulc of Berkley Inc., said. "Product claims will be more carefully examined. Advertising has its boundaries. Some people have gone a little bit too far in indicating what a product will do for a fisherman."
According to AFTMA, a breakdown on trends seen in the market place:
* Reels: Feature development, such as multiple ball bearings and super lightweight construction, seems to be phasing out. Operational simplicity, good engineering and metal-alloy construction seem to be on the rise.
* Rods: Special purpose rods seem to be holding their own in the marketplace, especially those endorsed by well-known professionals. But analysts see this as a method of pumping the market.
* Lures: Rattle lures still are much in demand because they have proven to be especially effective for bass, and there is an attempt to adapt these lures to the walleye crowd. Lures with adjustable metal vibrators also drew much attention at the show, as did semi-soft plastic jerkbaits and softbaits impregnated with fish attractants.
* Electronics: This is an area where fishermen might make big gains because of the competitive mature of the market. Liquid crystal display sonar units are rapidly being improved and costs should be dropping as manufacturers fight for a share of the market. Loran-C navigational units may be hard pressed over the next several years to keep up with developments in Global Positioning System satellite navigational units. This is another area where prices may begin to drop into the range of the majority of consumers over the next few years.
* The DNR's fall outdoor adventure season is in full swing. On Oct. 5-6, the State Forest and Park Service has scheduled a canoe trip down the Potomac; on Oct. 12 and 19, one-day canoe trips are planned for the Pocomoke River; on Oct. 12, a fall colors hike will be held at Greenbrier State Park in Washington County, and on Nov. 3-4, a wind surfing program will be held at Black Walnut Point on the Eastern Shore.
For more information on these and other DNR outdoors programs, call (301) 974-3771.
* The Maryland Mountain Bike Championship will be held at Green Ridge State Forest in Allegany County on Oct. 26-27. Advance registration is $20 and must be postmarked by Oct. 23. On-site registration is $22.
All entrants must have a valid NORBA license, a one-day NORBA trial license or a USCF license. One-day NORBA trial licenses will be available on site.
Campsites with full facilities will be available in Rocky Gap State Park and primitive camping sites will be available at Green Ridge State Forest.
For more information and to register, call (301) 777-2345.
* The History of Waterfowling on the Chesapeake Bay exhibition opened at the Maryland Historical Society yesterday.
According to Henry Stansbury, decoy collector and chairman of the exhibit, the exhibit includes the best possible collection of Maryland decoys, carvings, paintings, prints, photographs and artifacts.
The exhibit is designed to allow the visitor to learn about the
regional styles and hunting techniques used in the Chesapeake Bay area.
The Maryland Historical Society, Museum and Library of Maryland History is located at 201 W. Monument St. and is open Tuesday through Friday (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.), Saturday (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m. to 5 p.m.).
The exhibit closes Feb. 2.