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Merwin: Study Says Most Women Don't Like Pink Fishing Gear

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May 24, 2010

Merwin: Study Says Most Women Don't Like Pink Fishing Gear

By John Merwin

Last fall, I wrote about all the pink fishing gear and clothing being marketed to female anglers. I said I thought pink gear was tasteless and idiotic, insulting to female outdoor types who might want to be taken seriously as hunters or anglers. The only exception would be the use of pink to enhance breast-cancer awareness--certainly a worthy cause--but even at that I wish a different color had been chosen.

As usual, some agreed with me and some didn’t. Then last week I was talking with Rob Southwick, a resource economist and statistician who runs both Angler Survey and Hunter Survey to collect information on the preferences and attitudes of sportsmen and women. It turns out he had surveyed color preferences--including pink--among hunters and fishermen.

Among hunters and target shooters, 62% of males and 60% of females preferred camo patterns over any other color. Black, green, and brown were also popular. Only 15% of women would choose pink (if unrelated to breast-cancer programs).

For fishermen, the most popular color was black (52% of males; 38% of females), with only 16% of women preferring pink.

Some makers of outdoor gear (fishing and hunting both) promote pink in hopes of capturing more female customers. Is this marketing condescending--insulting potential customers instead of capturing them? Some 46% of males and 50% of female anglers said yes, it was insulting.

So I’m not the only one who thinks pink fishing rods or pink boat boots are just horrible-looking things. While a pink Barbie rod might entice little girls or fishing columnists (since I own a couple of Barbie outfits), the color pink for adult female hunters and anglers turns a lot of people off. Again, with the exception of breast-cancer awareness programs.

I really wish major makers of outdoor products would concentrate on making functional gear for women and well-tailored garments in sensible colors that fit well. This would make my wife very happy. She hates pink, too.

Comments (22)

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from Koldkut wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

Why not post some stats on the percentage of total gear sold and percentage of that that is pink......I'd be willing to bet that less than 16% is pink, in fact I'd bet that less than 5% sold is pink.....

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

BTW, I'm sure you don't have those numbers.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bryan01 wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

I don't like the pink gear either but I can't see how giving the consumer an additional option hurts anything - the way I see it, if you don't like it, don't buy it - I don't think I, or anyone else, has a right to impose their aesthetic tastes on others.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bella wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

No Pepto Bismol colored gear for this girl, thank you very much! But I am partial to Black (black is beautiful you know...)

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from NorCal Cazadora wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

I'm with you on this.

I don't mind it being out there as an option - I know at least one woman (Keli Van Cleave) who absolutly loves pink and incorporates it into her camo as much as she can. And every once in a while I'm involved in a women's hunting event where we have pink hats or polo shirts, which I need to wear to be part of the team.

But pink for me in the field? Blech. My favorite color is orange, and I think blaze is a lovely shade.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

I think my daughter would like a pink reel but she's really not serious into fishing. It would be more of a fashion statement then anything. She'll want to look good while she is fishing.

Good to hear from you Norcal.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from deanlikes2fish wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

Well women may not like pink, but my girls (8 and 6) sure do. so i have pink fishing poles made by shakespeare in my house that get used quite frequently, so maybe dont flood the market, but dont get rid of all of it cause, little girls, and maybe some big ones too, like pink.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from squirrelgirl wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

my opinion (I'm probably gonna piss people off but oh well)chicks in pink camo look silly as hell

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

my girls like the pink fishing rods and can use them if they want. if they grow out of that phase, i'll get them another color. to each their own.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from countitandone wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

Hey JM, here we are, round two on the pink stink, but this time with statistics to back up the obvious trend. So, thanks for the follow-up reporting on this pink stink subject! The color is as out of place in the field as paisley tablecloth in an Italian restaurant.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Levi Banks wrote 3 years 46 weeks ago

You can like pink or not, but the fact remains, since they're still making pink hunting and fishing gear somebody's buying it. My wife doesn't hunt, but loves to fish, and given the choice between a pink reel and any other color she would pick pink, if everything else is the same.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 3 years 46 weeks ago

15% is still a significant number. I also have to wonder how many of those 15% actually buy pink gear, though. If the marketing people suspect there is an advantage expect pink to be around awhile. Being realistic, color can make a difference (Chevy kicked Ford's "any color as long as it is black" butt way back when).

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jim in Mo wrote 3 years 46 weeks ago

I wondered about that myself, for little girls yes but big girls tend to be big fishermen er women.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Big Country wrote 3 years 46 weeks ago

My wife has a pink Shakespeare spin rig she uses for crappie and other light duty tasks. I don't think that it's all that bad, it's not all pink just has some pink highlights it's mostly black I think.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ckRich wrote 3 years 46 weeks ago

A little pink mixed in here and there won't hurt anything, but it doesn't need to be on everything. I used to date a young lady that wanted EVERYTHING that was related to hunting and fishing and could be found in pink. Note how I said "used to date".

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 3 years 46 weeks ago

I can understand the psychology. I know a woman that built a fly fishing co. for women around the color pink...pink vests etc...Donna Teeny. But I would think women, engaging in a sport, do not want to be identified with being the less physical sex. They want to be a member of the fishing fraternity participating on equal grounds I would think. Unless, of course, they aren't after fish, but after anglers instead. Makes me wanna wear my polished buttoned waders.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MPN wrote 3 years 46 weeks ago

I saw a pink .22 at Gander the other day. That looked stupid.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 3 years 46 weeks ago

MPN..wouldn't have looked stupid if it had been next to a purple .22.. Gander has just gotta do a better job of dressing up those gun displays. :)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Kinzuakid13 wrote 3 years 44 weeks ago

I always thought girls fishing with pure pink on was kinky and fake. When I see a girl fishing in camo, i think " that's a true fisherwomen".

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jehnifer Quinn wrote 3 years 33 weeks ago

I would fall on the side of not wearing pink. It's true most of the time I avoid it. What's really frustrating though are companies not making womens sizes an option in some of the best and essential gear. For example in Alaska ice fishing temps can be 25-35 degrees below zero. I need gear especially footwear that is warm. Cabelas Jeff king boots are bar none the best boot you can purchase and they don't come in womans sizes? I'm going to try to make a mens 7 work this year.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jrok6661 wrote 3 years 5 weeks ago

I actually bought my wife a pink rod and reel combo last summer in the hope that she would go fishing with me more. No luck. It has become my oldest daughters. I guess I should count my blessings that my 4 girls like fishing, since I have no boys I need to take advantage of what I can.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Kelli Beltrand ... wrote 42 weeks 3 days ago

I love pink and purple fishing gear. Been fishing my whole life and generally out fish most men. Fishing skill has nothing to do with the color of your gear. My guess is that most woman don't bother taking surveys about fishing. My tackle box is pink (yes it's the breast cancer tackle box) and its full of pink and purple fishing tackle. I have been looking for a pink Muskie tackle box for months. My guess is that there are a lot of woman that fish that would love to see more pink fishing gear. Girls don't be afraid to fish with pink.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Bryan01 wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

I don't like the pink gear either but I can't see how giving the consumer an additional option hurts anything - the way I see it, if you don't like it, don't buy it - I don't think I, or anyone else, has a right to impose their aesthetic tastes on others.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

Why not post some stats on the percentage of total gear sold and percentage of that that is pink......I'd be willing to bet that less than 16% is pink, in fact I'd bet that less than 5% sold is pink.....

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

BTW, I'm sure you don't have those numbers.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bella wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

No Pepto Bismol colored gear for this girl, thank you very much! But I am partial to Black (black is beautiful you know...)

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from NorCal Cazadora wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

I'm with you on this.

I don't mind it being out there as an option - I know at least one woman (Keli Van Cleave) who absolutly loves pink and incorporates it into her camo as much as she can. And every once in a while I'm involved in a women's hunting event where we have pink hats or polo shirts, which I need to wear to be part of the team.

But pink for me in the field? Blech. My favorite color is orange, and I think blaze is a lovely shade.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from squirrelgirl wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

my opinion (I'm probably gonna piss people off but oh well)chicks in pink camo look silly as hell

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

my girls like the pink fishing rods and can use them if they want. if they grow out of that phase, i'll get them another color. to each their own.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ckRich wrote 3 years 46 weeks ago

A little pink mixed in here and there won't hurt anything, but it doesn't need to be on everything. I used to date a young lady that wanted EVERYTHING that was related to hunting and fishing and could be found in pink. Note how I said "used to date".

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Kinzuakid13 wrote 3 years 44 weeks ago

I always thought girls fishing with pure pink on was kinky and fake. When I see a girl fishing in camo, i think " that's a true fisherwomen".

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

I think my daughter would like a pink reel but she's really not serious into fishing. It would be more of a fashion statement then anything. She'll want to look good while she is fishing.

Good to hear from you Norcal.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from deanlikes2fish wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

Well women may not like pink, but my girls (8 and 6) sure do. so i have pink fishing poles made by shakespeare in my house that get used quite frequently, so maybe dont flood the market, but dont get rid of all of it cause, little girls, and maybe some big ones too, like pink.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Levi Banks wrote 3 years 46 weeks ago

You can like pink or not, but the fact remains, since they're still making pink hunting and fishing gear somebody's buying it. My wife doesn't hunt, but loves to fish, and given the choice between a pink reel and any other color she would pick pink, if everything else is the same.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 3 years 46 weeks ago

15% is still a significant number. I also have to wonder how many of those 15% actually buy pink gear, though. If the marketing people suspect there is an advantage expect pink to be around awhile. Being realistic, color can make a difference (Chevy kicked Ford's "any color as long as it is black" butt way back when).

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jim in Mo wrote 3 years 46 weeks ago

I wondered about that myself, for little girls yes but big girls tend to be big fishermen er women.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Big Country wrote 3 years 46 weeks ago

My wife has a pink Shakespeare spin rig she uses for crappie and other light duty tasks. I don't think that it's all that bad, it's not all pink just has some pink highlights it's mostly black I think.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 3 years 46 weeks ago

I can understand the psychology. I know a woman that built a fly fishing co. for women around the color pink...pink vests etc...Donna Teeny. But I would think women, engaging in a sport, do not want to be identified with being the less physical sex. They want to be a member of the fishing fraternity participating on equal grounds I would think. Unless, of course, they aren't after fish, but after anglers instead. Makes me wanna wear my polished buttoned waders.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MPN wrote 3 years 46 weeks ago

I saw a pink .22 at Gander the other day. That looked stupid.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 3 years 46 weeks ago

MPN..wouldn't have looked stupid if it had been next to a purple .22.. Gander has just gotta do a better job of dressing up those gun displays. :)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jehnifer Quinn wrote 3 years 33 weeks ago

I would fall on the side of not wearing pink. It's true most of the time I avoid it. What's really frustrating though are companies not making womens sizes an option in some of the best and essential gear. For example in Alaska ice fishing temps can be 25-35 degrees below zero. I need gear especially footwear that is warm. Cabelas Jeff king boots are bar none the best boot you can purchase and they don't come in womans sizes? I'm going to try to make a mens 7 work this year.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jrok6661 wrote 3 years 5 weeks ago

I actually bought my wife a pink rod and reel combo last summer in the hope that she would go fishing with me more. No luck. It has become my oldest daughters. I guess I should count my blessings that my 4 girls like fishing, since I have no boys I need to take advantage of what I can.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Kelli Beltrand ... wrote 42 weeks 3 days ago

I love pink and purple fishing gear. Been fishing my whole life and generally out fish most men. Fishing skill has nothing to do with the color of your gear. My guess is that most woman don't bother taking surveys about fishing. My tackle box is pink (yes it's the breast cancer tackle box) and its full of pink and purple fishing tackle. I have been looking for a pink Muskie tackle box for months. My guess is that there are a lot of woman that fish that would love to see more pink fishing gear. Girls don't be afraid to fish with pink.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from countitandone wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

Hey JM, here we are, round two on the pink stink, but this time with statistics to back up the obvious trend. So, thanks for the follow-up reporting on this pink stink subject! The color is as out of place in the field as paisley tablecloth in an Italian restaurant.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report

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