Fishing & Hunting Gear is Expensive!

Fishing & Hunting Gear is Expensive!

It’s always easy to say, “I remember when such and such only cost this much or that much.”  But, I do… When I was a kid you could buy a regular-sized chocolate bar for a dime.  And, I remember, every Tuesday, KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken back in those days) would have their snack box on special for .69.  Half the kids in my fourth grade class would run like hell to get there and bring it back to the gymnasium, which doubled as the lunch room.  There was a certain cool factor that came with having “Kentucky Fried Chicken” for lunch back then.  The uncool kids had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a bruised apple… and yes, that was me some of the time.

Thinking back to when I was 13 or 14, I would go into Laurentian Trading Post in Ottawa and buy a basket full of fishing tackle for $30.  That would have been back in ’75 or ’76.  Today, if you go into any sporting goods retailer, big box or independent, you wouldn’t get much at all for thirty bills.  Last week, I was in a well-known fishing and hunting store in Minnesota and I dropped $400 and believe me, I really didn’t buy all that much stuff.  One rod I bought was $170… then there were a handful of lures, a couple spools of line, a fillet knife, along with a few other small time items.  Holy shit!

It’s not only fishing tackle, but hunting gear also seems to be very highly priced these days.  Some things, as in fishing gear, aren’t too pricey, but OMG, what the hell is happening with the prices these days of your everyday hunting and fishing gear?  The cost of the licences has gone up a lot in recent years, but the cost of rods, reels, terminal tackle, line, bait buckets, and the various gadgets that go along with all of it… ridiculous!  Sure, you can buy a rod and reel combo for $20… but it’ll probably vaporize while bringing in your first fish with it.  A 375 yard spool of a regular, name brand monofilament fishing line was $27 in one of our local stores last week… $27 for a spool of friggin’ line?  I was in shock, so I asked the kid if he knew why the spool of line was so highly priced.  He even thought it was a bit high… so he checked to see what the store had paid for it, thinking maybe there was a mistake and it had been priced incorrectly.  They paid $19 for it.  So, based on that, their mark-up wasn’t ridiculous.   It was the manufacturer with the insane wholesale price, in my opinion.  You cannot tell me with a straight face that it costs that much money to make a spool of fishing line (which is likely made from recycled nylon or old line) when I can buy a goddam DVD player for $27, the same price as the line.  And, I can buy a brand new coffee maker or a toaster for $12.00

And, how can it cost $800 or even $1000 for a high-end fishing rod when I can buy two brand new lap top computers for that much?  I could also buy one hell of a flat screen TV for half that… not that I would, mind you, but I could.  So, how in the hell can a fishing rod cost a grand?  Does it somehow scratch your balls for you while you’re reeling in a fish?  I really don’t care what name is on it either.

Have you checked the prices of popular lures like crankbaits and minnow baits recently?  $12 for a small one?  And, a package of scented soft plastic baits… wow!  The thing that drives me nuts is a lot of the hunting and fishing gear we pay stupid money for is made in China for peanuts.  If you don’t believe me, the next time you’re in a sporting goods store and you see a killer ground blind for $399, look at the label and I can almost guarantee you’ll see “Made in China” on it.  Chinese industry produces good quality stuff, but the point is they do it for a lot less money than it would cost in Canada or in the USA.  So, why the heavy retail price?  In my opinion, greed.  Companies will typically charge as much as they think people will pay… regardless of profit margins.

I believe this causes a backlash and it’s already started.  I know a lot of people who have recently stopped fishing and hunting altogether.  They simply can’t afford their hobby any more.  And, I know a few who can easily afford it but they just got sick of getting screwed at the till.  I know for a fact if the prices would come back down to earth on some of this stuff, more people would buy it.  More people would take up fishing and hunting and the whole industry would reap the benefits.   I know that the fishing industry is in a slump right now and has been for about a decade.  A lot of hunters I know packed their hobby in too.  This is one of the reasons why I stopped producing my fishing and hunting show… it’s all about sell, sell, sell and I just wouldn’t do it.

Sad, really.

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