The ‘Tackle & Guns’ show, held at Stoneleigh Park, wss the first proper ‘trade’ show I’ve had chance to visit this year. I went along on the first day (Sunday) to see what all the fuss was about…….
The show was situated across two huge halls within the exhibition area, and was split fairly evenly between tackle and guns (yes, really!). It’s an opportunity for the manufacturers, suppliers and agents to show off new lines for Christmas 2010 and beyond into the new season. The show is attended by thousands of potential customers, who are there to place orders for their retail operations, the angling media, to publicise the innovations that anglers have to look forward to, and various other interested parties. Unfortunately, the general public were not allowed in unless they had some connection with the trade, and this resulted in a completely different atmosphere to that of other fishing shows I’ve attended. In spite of the current financial climate, there were an awful lot of deals being done!
The big names were present at the show; I spoke to Kevin Nash, who I’m sure would have rather been fishing as he paced about the Nash stand at high speed, and I also met Ian Russell for the first time, as he enticed customers towards his sponsors’ products. Roy Marlow was overseeing the Marukyu Baits showcase, Bob Nudd was doing his thing to make buyers welcome, Neil Wayte and Lewis Read patrolled the excellent Gardner Tackle concession, and Eric Bristow took on all comers at the Harrows exhibit. I have to say my favourite ‘celebrity’, who I was very pleased to stand in the lunch queue with, was the affable Johnny Kingdom, who stars in his own nature programmes soon to begin a new series on November 1st. I will be watching! Johhny was there on behalf of clothing supplier ‘Jack Pyke’, who had a great new line in camouflage wear.
There is some serious tackle to look forward to next year;I saw some things that are simply superb, some that were blatant copies and some that were so unusual and so innovative, I’m not sure I would know how to use them! Trakker had several of their new bivvies on show; The ‘Colossus’ is the biggest bivvy I’ve ever seen, and came with a matching hefty retail price of £799.99, but, designed for long trips abroad, you could get the wife, kids, dog and neighbours in it! Absolutely massive, weighing in at around 30kgs (if I remember correctly), it really is the ‘daddy’ of them all. Trakker have really got the quality bivvy market cornered, so the products I examined did, as expected, hit the right spot every time.
Nash Tackle displayed the relatively new ‘H-Gun’ range, which is aimed squarely at the newcomer to the sport, offering outstanding quality to suit a tighter budget. Consisting of luggage, bedchairs, nets, mats, pods and everything else needed to get into carping properly without breaking (or robbing!) the bank, the ‘H-Gun’ line, carrying the Nash logo, with understated colour scheme, and using top notch components, is sure to be a huge seller.
Nashbaits were available to sample in huge quantities; for an angler, it’s like going into a sweetshop! All colours, flavours, sizes and shapes were present, pellets, dips, glugs and boilies and whatever you need, Nash have it.
One of the most striking products I got to see close up was a completely new hook pattern from Paul Smith at Global Tackle. The ‘Easy-2-Hook’ is marketed as exactly that; easy to attach, change or replace in seconds without having to strip a hook link or break down any other tackle. Unlike a normal pattern, Paul’s hooks have a small nodule on the back of the shank and a twist rather than an eye at the top. Doubling the hook length, looping it over the nodule then wrapping around the shank before passing through the twist is all there is to it. The hook is attached, the line maintains its strength and integrity, and having tested 25000, there is little chance of it failing. The sales pitch emphasises just how quick this method is, and Paul was on hand with his staff to demonstrate it. Take a look at www.easy-2-hook.com to find out more about this product.
An exciting new range called ‘Hybrid’ is the latest line from the Browning (Zebco Sports Europe) stable. The innovation behind the new stock is that the line between match and specimen angling which is becoming ever more difficult to define. Many anglers are now targeting carp as match winners, and need beefed up tackle that will allow finesse and good presentation. Designed to bridge that gap, ‘Hybrid’ seeks to achieve both, and does it very well. I checked out some of the rods under the guidance of the Browning staff and was surprised to find progressive punch and power within a well designed, nicely finished and tremendously slim blank. The rods form only a small part of ‘Hybrid’, with matching reels, luggage and terminal tackle to follow to ensure a balanced but potent alliance. The series is finished in distinctive livery and again, is constructed from quality elements to provide a sound combination for any match/specimen angler. When this released, my feeling is that it will do an outstanding job for Browning/Zebco, and an even better one for the angler. Watch out for this one, it will sell loads of units…..
Gardner Tackle concentrated heavily on their newest hooks and mono/braid links aimed at the carp angler. I have reviewed some of the ‘Covert’ collection, and have to say I am impressed with the attributes that each item shows. All the hook patterns were razor sharp, with good shape, premium grade carbon wire and attractive packaging., and the materials used in each link suited perfectly the job it was designed to do. Neil and Lewis were doing a fine job extolling the virtues and uses of each individual article, comparing and contrasting and demonstrating just how the ‘Covert’ system fitted together; all good stuff! www.gardnertackle.com
The show wasn’t just for the major retailers, but also gave plenty of scope for the smaller operators. I had arranged to meet Stuart Baxter of independent retailer ‘Fishing4Reel’ over coffee at the show. Stuart wanted to discuss launching a new media column in a Bolton based p
ublication and was also there to place his orders for Preston Innovations latest output. Stuart has recently opened his shop on Keasley Road in Bolton as another outlet for his successful bait creations distributed under the ‘1Toner’ banner. Instant orders for the bait resulted in Stuart needing a ‘proper’ unit from which to trade, so if you are in Bolton, pop in and see if Stuart can help out. Give him a ring on 07935005903.
The second hall featured a vast array of shooting and hunting stock. From catapults and bows through to air guns, shotguns and some stunning full bore weapons, there really was everything to tickle a target shooter’s delight. I didn’t get much of an opportunity to view much of what I wanted as there was just so much to see and sample. I looked at rifles that wouldn’t have been out of place in a war zone, field target tools worth thousands, and more camouflage clothing than you could shake a (shooting) stick at. Every discipline of the sport was represented with prestigious brands such as Beretta, Ruger and Browning to name but a few, and, if you have an appreciation for weaponry, there were some stunning new guns coming out soon.
In summary, the show gave me the chance to meet up with friends old and new, sample some of the finest fishing paraphernalia going, and see what the angling world has to look forward to. It would have been impossible to see everything on the day I was there, but I tried to get a ‘feel’ for as much as I could. The event was very well organised, marshalled and controlled, ran like clockwork and is obviously one to look forward to next year; I’ll definitely be going back!
Clint Walker 2010 ©