This is the time of year to get great deals on outdoors gear

Published: Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013 11:49 p.m. CDT

As the New Year unfolds, I can’t help but think about the upcoming fishing season. That’s right — it’s cold, blustery and the lakes are getting some serious ice starting to form, but my mind is on the warmer days of spring. This is also a great time to start perusing the tackle shops.

Retailers are starting to get itchy about last year's product that is still sitting on their shelves. The back storage rooms are starting to fill up with the latest and greatest, and space needs to be made.

In the fishing industry, the buyers for all the major retail shops start filling their orders out in late summer or early fall. I know when I was selling fishing gear for a living, most of the manufacturers I represented wanted me to have all of my orders in within that time period. The very latest orders had to be in by Nov. 1. 

I was doing an even better job as a sales rep if I could get these retailers to take shipment of the new product by Dec. 31. It was a frantic race to get product booked and shipped, but that’s the way the business side of fishing works.

The orders that were filled out were often substantial in size. A retail store does its very best to make a large initial order that covers everything they think they will need and then they write smaller restocking orders as the fishing season moves along. The whole industry moves a few months ahead of the actual fishing season.

What does that mean for you, the angler? In the coming months, there will start to be substantial discounts on items that are still sitting around. January and February are good months to see the clearance bins fill up in the tackle aisles. 

You will also start to see nice price drops on high dollar items like rods and reels. Just this week, I was strolling the reel bar at a local shop checking out baitcasters with my sons. I noticed that one particular model had a bright yellow sale tag on it. It was marked down $50. I happened to know that particular model quite well.

It was last year's model. This version was red, and the new one sitting next to it was a more hip silver design. If you don’t get all hung-up about color, that particular reel was a great bargain. It’s still brand new, carries the same warranty and fishes just fine. It’s a simple need for more space.

In the retail world, the worst thing that happens is for product to sit on the shelves for an extended period of time. The word “turns” is a popular phrase. How many “turns” can a peg of product have in its prime season? The more the better. If a product doesn’t turn over, it is destined for the discount rack.

As someone who has worked in all facets of the industry from product development, manufacturer sales and retail sales, it is amazing to me what happens in the discount bin.

Some anglers flock to these areas and scrounge to find a good deal. Yet droves of others walk right past these sale items assuming they are “junk.” Yes, sometimes there is junk in there, but more often the products that are in there work just fine and will catch fish. It was just some weird reason that it didn’t sell.

I have witnessed factories take a product that didn’t sell real well one year, place it in a new package that is more contemporary and it sells well the next year. Strange, yet it happens.

In other words, be savvy as you go shop. Look for the deals. If a product looks like it has been sitting around for a while and is not marked down yet, there is a good chance that it will be in the next several weeks.  

I hope that you find some great bargains. You will be saving some money and the retailers will be gaining much needed space for the new products that are starting to fill their shelves. Happy New Year and good shopping!

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