Catching the Wave of the Inshore Fishing Market

For those retailers who live within a reasonable driving distance of the coast, you obviously have noticed the recent return of interest in the Inshore Fishing market. This new wave of inshore fishing has shocked many within the community because for so many years the emphasis on offshore fishing left little space for the inshore market.

What has fueled this recent re-emergence of interest in fishing close to the shore once more? One of the biggest keys has to be due to the rising cost of petroleum products across the board. Whether your client’s boat is running on gasoline or diesel, they have felt the pinch at the pump. They have felt the pinch in not only fueling their watercraft, but also in just getting to and from the marina. Let us also not forget to add in the rising cost of oil to keep everything running smoothly. Your angling customers are also feeling the pinch in their paycheck, and will continue to do so.

One other leading reason so many anglers are returning to the shallow waters is the increase in fishing due to the great conservation efforts that have been going on for so many years now. With more anglers practicing catch and release, along with the tighter restrictions on both recreational and commercial fishing we are experiencing better inshore fishing.

Are your customers a part of the inshore wave, or have many held fast to their offshore fishing patterns? Many retailers and marinas are reporting that they still have anglers who are going offshore, but those making the trips have severely lessened their trips. This sudden decrease in offshore fishing is understandable due to the cost of those trips, but it is also decreasing your business. If you feel there is nothing you can do about it, you are wrong. In fact, you and your store may be one of the biggest influences on converting more anglers into inshore junkies.

What are the biggest reasons many don’t fish inshore? Crowds; there are more anglers fishing inshore due to the cost of offshore fishing. Locations: More novice anglers stay inshore because of their lack of boat knowledge and lack of offshore fishing knowledge. Many offshore anglers may stay offshore because of their lack of inshore knowledge after all of the years spent offshore. Gear: while much of your client’s gear will remain in use for inshore fishing trips, they may also need new rigs and lures.

This need for knowledge and equipment is where you, the retailer, need to become a big part of the fishing equation. This time of the year is considered the off-season or slow season for many retailers and marinas due to the winter weather. Have you ever thought of having a pre-season sale or pre-season seminars? You do not need to be one of the big box stores to host a few seminars each season. You can contact some of your dealer reps for product information or see if they can connect you with other retailers in the group who have done similar seminars. This would be a great time to push new products that have come out since last year, and also move some lures that did not sell as well as expected last year. A small seminar will cost you a few dollars, but will pay off in the end. You can use your social media outlets to invite your key clients, and to help spread the word. You can also have special deals for these clients that RSVP via social media.

Whether you embrace the inshore fishing craze or not, it is here to stay. Anglers are looking for a reliable source for knowledge and equipment. They will find a retailer that will offer both; the question is, are you going to be the retailer that helps them ride the inshore fishing wave or will it be your competition?

Don’t think if your store isn’t located within the tidal flood zone that you cannot be a leader in the inshore fishing craze. Most retailers who are located inshore have larger retail locations and can offer a variety of goods that those located on the water cannot. The majority of saltwater anglers also travel a distance on land to access their favorite marinas. How many of them are within a half-hour or less of your store? Why not become the preferred retailer of those anglers who live nearby, keep their money local in your shop.

I am certain many of you have other ideas on how to capitalize on this latest wave of inshore fishing in the market place. Feel free to share your thoughts or ideas with us on our Facebook page.