Merwin: Looking Into Thousands of Tackle Boxes

Getting a peek into other anglers' tackle boxes is sometimes fun just for curiosity's sake. Now Southwick Associates' [Angler Survey](http://anglersurvey.com /) gives us a look into thousands of them. After compiling more than 34,000 internet-based fisherman surveys in 2009, Southwick reported late last week on the top-selling general fishing brands for last year.

Note in the following that complete brand breakdowns by category aren't being publicly reported. And I happen to know that all categories aren't being reported, either. That's because Southwick sells marketing data to various fishing-industry insiders and isn't going to completely give for free that which he does for a living. What he does openly report is pretty interesting, though.

Shakespeare's Ugly Stik was the best-selling rod brand, accounting for 16.4% of all purchases. No surprise there. Ugly Stiks are inexpensive, and however clunky they might feel, they almost never break. Shimano, meanwhile, was the top-selling reel brand (23%). That's no surprise, either, since Shimano offers numerous spinning-reel models, for example, ranging in price from a measly $10 all the way up to $600-plus.

Various Berkley line brands, such as Trilene and FireLine, combined to account for 42.6% of all fishing line sales. Remember that when you look at the array of line brands in the fishing department of your local chain-discount store that Pure Fishing, which owns Berkley, owns most of the other brands, too. They are one of the most powerful marketers in all of fishing.

Eagle Claw headed the hook category at 34.5%. There are few things more traditional than an Eagle Claw hook. Among hard baits, the Rapala brand was on top with 30.6%, while Zoom lead the soft-bait category at 16.8%. I think both Rapala and Zoom, like Eagle Claw, benefit greatly from brand loyalty among anglers. Meaning that if a lure brand worked for me last year, this year I'm buying more of the same.

I also think one thing that can be ascribed to low-percentage categories is brand diversity. There are many different brands of soft-plastic baits, for example. And that seems to be why a particular brand can be a category leader even with only 10% to 20% of all purchases.