Advantages of online tackle shopping
Must say I feel a bit like I’m sitting in group therapy and I’m about to make a confession. “Hi, my name is Blikkies and I’m a shopaholic…” Shopping isn’t something that you would normally associate with a guy, it’s more a chick thing. But I absolutely love a bit of retail therapy, especially when it comes to fishing tackle (come on, admit it, you’re a bit like me). I’m also a tackle junky (Hi my name is…) and can’t help myself when I see new fishing stuff.
I don’t buy shoes, earrings and unnecessary things like the fairer species. I buy crank baits, stick baits, plastic baits, chisel nose plugs and spinner baits of every colour, shape and size. If I don’t buy new lures, ill buy accessories like new skirts to dress up old spinner baits. I just have to have the newest, baddest and maddest lures on the market. There is so many these days. Mark Zona said a while back after testing the umbrella rig that he thinks we are about one lure away from catching ET. I also buy reels and rods and line for my reels and bags to keep them safe. I buy hooks, sinkers and swivels of every size, shape and weight. Then there is the books, DVD’s, fishing hats, buffs, shirts and pants. I might have a small teenie weenie problem…
The obsession with fishing equipment can be quite costly sometimes if you don’t know the WWWH(What, When, Where and How) of shopping. I find the internet to be a very helpful tool and if there is one kind (yes there’s more than one kind) of shopping that I love, it must be online tackle shopping. I guess you can say, I’m hook line and sinker, every pun intended. Like everything in life fishing for tackle online has its advantages and its disadvantages. I believe however that it certainly has more advantages.
One of the disadvantages is that you don’t have any personal contact. For instance with your favorite stores owner or sales personnel. It’s not as if I can ask anyone from an online store in the US of A if the Galjoen has been biting. Sometimes you just want to have a bit of a chat about “ditjies” and “datjies”. Apart from the fishing info, they are usually also a great help with other things like knot tying for example. When I’ve been struggling to make certain knots (bimini comes to mind) it just took one look at how the local guy does it that made me see the light.
Another downside is the cyber sharks. With my first purchases I was a bit skeptic of typing in my credit card details into a unknown webpage and then hoping that my money doesn’t disappear within a second. But I have to say that until now I haven’t had any bad experiences or disappearing tricks with my hard earned cash. Be careful though and only trust the best known sites. If you are uncertain, ask a few questions on fishing forums like “sealine” or “boatfishing”. Believe me, you will get reaction if someone was taken for a ride faster than you can say barracuda!
Another downside is that you can’t fit and feel the products. Personally I like to fit shirts before I buy them. Different brands, have different sizes and even within the same brands, sizes differ. This however is easily overcome by physically going to a shop and fitting the shirt before buying it online.You would say that that sort of defy the purpose of online shopping, but believe me you quickly start to learn exactly what you’re sizes are and what shirts fit. Also you might want to get a “feeling” of a particular rod or reel pairing before swiping online. A reel might look great, but before you actually pick it up, you won’t really have an “idea” of the reel. Of course you can always borrow a mates to make a few casts if you want to be totally sure.
Then there is the advantages, can I get a Whoop Whoop (Sorry I get a bit carried away)!
It is cheaper. Generally because online stores don’t have the overheads of any standard business they can afford to sell items at better prices. You can also compare different prices within seconds. Prices can differ quite substantially from shop to shop. At some shops reels are cheaper than their lures and vice versa.
It is convenient. Where else can you go and shop while at work for fishing stuff (don’t tell the boss)! I often browse the different sites looking for new equipment or the odd special (in my lunch time, of course). Its kind of a twentieth century version of window shopping and I love it. By having the merchandise delivered to your work is just magic. You don’t have to rush to your local store after work and hope & pray it has stock.
Delivery times has improved tremendously. Only a couple of years ago things would take very long to arrive. These days however if its door-to-door it can be delivered within 48 hours (avoid post office delivery). Sometimes there is a premium to having things couriered overnight, but the choice is yours whether you want to pay it or not. Yes, if you buy something in a store you have it immediately, but if you plan better the saving is worth the wait.
Its easy to compare different equipment and specifications. Shimano for instance has a big range of saltwater spinning reels. Your budget is only Rxxx and you want the best deal for your dough. You can easily compare things like, weight, bearings, line capacity and drag. With this info its easy to draw a conclusion and see what reel will suite you best. You can also compare reels in the same size category of different manufacturers and quickly see witch is the best buy.
Most sites have reviews of products that are listed. Given, they may be fake… “I wouldn’t know who dick_woodcock69 is… but he sure loves Kway!” However reviews can be informative and will give you an good idea of the product. If you don’t trust the reviews on the site search the many online forums for reviews. Those guys don’t take nonsense from any one and will call a spade a spade.
There is no pressure sales online. Sometimes you just want to walk into a store and hang with the bucktails and spinners for a while. You just want to hold a Aerocast for a few seconds and drool without being interrupted. You don’t need every second guy standing around asking you if you’re OK or if you would like this or that. “Nee dankie, die oom kyk net, hoor” is usually my answer.
You can also order from all over the world. I found that the overseas sites are a great tool to find products that you can’t get in SA. I wanted a decent fishing backpack but couldn’t find one in SA. I ended up buying one from Cabelas that is absolutely amazing, the quality is much better than anything else I’ve seen here.
Most sites have an excellent returns policy and as long as the equipment is in the same condition it was, sellers will gladly except them back with a full refund.
To wrap up. I have been buying online for a couple of years now and I have been very satisfied most of the time. SA still has a way to go before our online stores is world class but we are catching up quickly. Online tackle Shopping is the future!
In part 2 I will focus more on the How.