The industry-wide buzz on fishing tackle right now is manufacturing cost. Tackle items from fishing line to soft-plastic baits are based on petrochemicals, so there’s one escalating cost factor. Transportation and related fuel costs are another. The cost of shipping a container load of goods from Asia to the U.S. has nearly tripled in the last 10 years, for example, and that includes imported reels and rods.

Labor is another reason. The developing Chinese middle-class is now demanding shorter work weeks, higher wages, and benefits (who can blame them?) so labor costs at a Chinese rod or reel factory aren’t the bargain they once were.

One way or another you’re probably going to be paying more in 2009 for everything from plastic worms to imported fishing reels. The actual price might be higher, the product might have been cheapened to keep the price the same, or what used to be a 7-pack of soft-plastic grubs will have turned into a 5-pack at the same price.

One answer is to buy right now whatever you might need for next season. Look for fall close-outs on fishing tackle at major mail-order outlets, for example, where you can still get deals on 2008 pricing. Come January, whatever it is will be more expensive.

And don’t say I didn’t warn you.