BassWestUSA - November/December, 2009, Page 71

the short circuit

the worst Of times...

Maybe?

it

terry BrowN

time around. People who had the better paying jobs were laid off and the job that replaced it paid $10.00 an hour. While gloom and doom is still here, things are starting to brighten up a bit. In recent weeks news like increased license sales, and tackle companies talking about banner years, point to a small light at the end of the tunnel. Gander Mountain, a large outdoor retailer, even went back to being a private company and that should be better for our industry too. They can be lighter on their feet, do more for fishing and that is ultimately better for all of us. Another good thing that may come out of this mess is we could see more rea- sonably priced boats and motors. Do all of us really need a 22 foot boat with a 300 horsepower motor when an 18 footer with a 150 will do the job? Can we get the same enjoyment out of the smaller boat? I believe we can. Boat and motor companies alike need to put on their re- spective thinking caps and see if we can get the amenities without the size and cost restrictive price tag. We are seeing 25 hp trails all over the country. When it comes down to it, it’s really about the fish- ing anyway. Something else we may see is more folks fixing up their old boat. I bet we will soon see a new company start up that ret- rofits old boats. Take a look at tinboats. net or bassboatcentral.com, you will see what I mean. Anglers are a smart lot and love to tinker. There is no question that boat conversions/upgrades could be a great business. This may indeed seem like the worst of times. We look at it as a challenge, a pothole, a big bump in the road but we won’t give up nor will we remain silent and take a beating. We are engaged, here for the long haul and won’t be outworked. It may not be enough but “ By George ” it’s all we can hang our hat on. We will come out of this and we will survive. It’s not much fun but we still have fishing. The worst of times…it may be, but hopefully the best of times is around the corner! bw

November/December 2009

wasn’t that long ago things were rosy, sales were up, new dealer- ships were doing well and just about everyone who was a die hard angler had a boat - that was then, and this is now. Today is different, recreational purchases have taken a back seat to keeping the heat on and gas in the car. The economic mess was on its way, we just didn’t see it. Banks were loaning 120% to value on houses, credit cards were getting maxed out, and we were spending more than we made. Economists said “Americans are spending too much and not saving for a rainy day.” At the same time self-serving politicians were clamoring around working on their bank accounts and making sure pet projects passed. In the past, the American people HAD jobs that kept the flow of cash mov- ing. Then recently word came that banks were in trouble, automakers needed more dough and big business was in the tank. A call was sent in to the government ask- ing for bailout money and a new phrase “STIMULUS Cash” was invented. Quickly, the days of free commerce were over and now the government owned everything. Steaks turned into peanut but- ter and the new boat got put on the back burner. Gone are the days that you could get a loan because you were a good guy and always paid your bills. Now it takes 50% down or more to buy a car; want a new boat…you have to be kidding. Floor plan companies cut the purse strings and deal- ers went into the trash. Sorry little fella, we have bigger fish to fry. One thing that didn’t change was CEO’s pay. They got bonuses! What? You drive a company straight into the moun- tain and you get a bonus? I want that gig! At the same time Fort Knox was buy- ing out all of these companies the job market went into the tank. Previously, when recession reared its ugly head the car companies helped with the recovery. People with money spent some of it and we recovered. The scenario is different this

»

71