The ballots have been tallied in the hunt for the Worst Website in Fishing. Over the course of four weeks, Fishing Tackle Retailer and web design firm Metal Potato collaborated to seek out and destroy the worst website in our industry. With dozens of entries and personal stories to sift through, web designers at Metal Potato have whittled the list down to one grand prize winner.
That winner takes home a free website redesign valued at $15,000. Additionally, one other winner in our Top 5 Worst Websites was also the benefactor of a random drawing for a second free website rebuild. With a grand total of $30,000 in web design on the line, these are the Top 5 Worst Websites in Fishing.
VIP Adventures – Grand Prize Winner
VIPAdventures.net takes the crown as the Worst Website in Fishing. The 30-year-old guide service caters to kids and adults, and features hand-built lakes by founder Marc Deschenes.
“I started fishing when I was a little boy” Deschenes told Metal Potato. “I always loved the idea of teaching people how to fish. After college, I started a karate studio, but always had the fishing bug. I finally found several small salt ponds that I converted to fishing holes. I added cover in the form of brush, blowdowns, etc,. then added baitfish — shad and crawfish. The lakes — 10 of them — are all prolific, and even Bassmaster Magazine came down to do a shoot and article.”
“This one is truly awful,” says Metal Potato web developer Andrew McDonald. “It’s not really a website. It’s a few pages full of mess with no real design. Let’s not even discuss mobile. The website couldn’t be further away from ‘VIP’ if it tried. We received some truly bad designs throughout this content, but this website lacked a design at all. I’m not sure how it could get any worse than that.”
For its plight, VIP Adventures is going to take home our grand prize — a free website redesign from Metal Potato.
2. Lucky Lure Tackle
McDonald calls Lucky Lure Tackle, “just plain bad.” A non-responsive website with a logo element that resembles a banner ad, and a quality inventory that outclasses the web design make this our number two pick.
“Their one saving grace is that their content appears to be well-written,” McDonald adds. Lucky Lure Tackle offers a bevy of useful services to anglers, but many of them — like lake levels, weather and giveaways — are almost hidden within the site map.
3. QuickDrops Sinkers
This website hasn’t had a refresh in over a decade. That really is a shame, as QuickDrops has a nice, essential product to sell.
“It’s basic and functional,” McDonald says, “But it is not responsive, and making it so would be valuable to the business. For a site that was built 10 years ago, it has aged well, but no modern website should remind me of the Apple homepage in the early 2000s.”
4. Fish Heads of Stuart
Stuart, Florida, is a known mecca for saltwater anglers nationwide. Yet you wouldn’t know that by visiting fisheadsofstuart.com. If you know you’re looking for a tackle store in Stuart, you might convince yourself that one exists on Saint Lucie Bouleveard by visiting their homepage. But who can be sure? A random list of product offerings and a hidden About page lead to a great deal of confusion. Buried inside of this homepage is a robust eCommerce store—but you have to look hard to find it.
“The website itself could be fairly easily improved if the owner didn’t want a full redesign,” says McDonald. “Just ditching the black background and green menus would smart things up, but it still lacks focus.”
5. Light Lines Guiding – Random Drawing Winner
Allan Butler’s Massachusetts-based guiding service has the underpinnings of a good website. Quality content and a design with limited clutter could be adapted into a modern, workable website. But Light Lines Guiding scores negative points for an unnecessary and pink eye-inducing background, as well as low resolution imagery and a bizarre homepage layout.
“I can see the owner understands the need for a clean website with minimal clutter,” says McDonald. “He’s done a good job of getting it this far. Now he’ll have the opportunity to work with us to get it to the next level.”