Tag: Angling Trade

Fly Rod Warranties: Not Really Open for Discussion

A few weeks back an independent trade magazine for the fly-fishing industry, Angling Trade, published an editorial on fly rod warranties penned by the proprietor of a fly shop. The piece, which you can find via web search using the term “rod warranties anglingtrade”, does not merit linkage1. It is in my opinion muddled diatribe which attempts to foist blame for a struggling business model at the feet of fly rod manufacturers.

That editorial generated a significant amount of commentary, over several days, which as someone interested in the subject I monitored. Opinions were, at the outset, supportive. Then several more saavy consumers, as well as what appeared to be some “industry insiders”, chimed in and the comment thread turned negative. Some retailer/manufacturer economics were exposed; several customer-types even declared outright they simply would not buy a premium fly rod that didn’t have a lifetime warranty.

Uh oh. Disagreement. Discontent. Then the comments were gone. Deleted.

The manufacturer penchant for offering lifetime warranties on fly rods has long been a source of controversy. Some opine that separating warranties from the rods (or eliminating them altogether) would result in lower prices and therefore more sales. Others say that if fly rod warranties go away, so will the finer brands, as the high cost of getting that [inevitably] damaged rod repaired will drive purchasers down to the low-end “disposable” bracket of the market. I’ve yet to see a rigorous analysis, steeped in manufacturer cost structures and supply/demand curves, supporting either point of view. Certainly the above-referenced “editorial” didn’t come close.

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Deep discounts hit premium fly gear makers, unbeknownst to even them

In what could surely be the opening chapter in a novel that eventually includes law enforcement agents and gunships patrolling prime fishing waters along the Florida Straits, Angling Trade uncovers the story of how premium fly-fishing gear covertly wound up in the hands of Costco:

Since March 26, 2011, sixteen Costco locations in the west have been identified as stocking and heavily discounting selected Simms and Sage products. The products appear to be limited to five varying models of popular Sage Z-Axis fly rod and Simms G4 Pro Stockingfoot waders. The knee-jerk reaction Is to wonder if Simms and Sage sold direct to Costco. But, in the words of ESPN College Game Day commentator Lee Corso, “Not so fast, my friends.” It turns out that neither company sold anything to Costco. In fact, they appear to have been victimized.

As noted, nothing illegal was perpetrated there. And while revising title transfer terms comes to mind as a possible preventative measure, doing so with shipping agents is a sticky process. Ownership begets insurable interest, and the last thing anyone needs is truckloads of merchandise disappearing without recourse.

Read the whole thing here.