Prices slashed to just 99p for one pint
Signs that the credit crunch is filtering through to the tackle shops emerged this week after some outlets slashed the cost of a pint of maggots to just £1 in a move that could spark a petrol-like price war.
Findings from a nationwide Angling Times investigation showed that while fishing shops in Hull were able to boast the cheapest maggots in the country, some in and around London were still charging as much as £3.50.
Danny Elm, owner of Anglers Corner, in Hessle Road, Hull, has reduced the price of a pint of grubs to just 99p in light of the financial crisis and because he has been undercut himself by competitors.
He said: “It all started when one shop here started getting maggots cheaper from a bait farm because they helped them out when they were in financial difficulty. I used to charge £1.80 per pint, but came back from holiday to find two neighbouring shops charging £1. I started losing customers, so I cut my own prices to 50p for a few weeks.
“I’m paying more for maggots than I’m selling them for. It’s all got a bit ridiculous. It needs to be resolved as it’s not helping the tackle shop trade here, although customers are benefiting.”
Gerry’s of Wimbledon, in Greater London, charges £3.50 per pint of maggots, and shop manager Clive Doughty said that the price reflects the quality of bait.
“People don’t realise the work involved in getting hold of good bait, cleaning it and keeping it, 365 days a year. We would never get involved in price wars or go down as low as £1 per pint because our customers know that they can get excellent bait here,” he said.
Roger Clifford, of Eurobait Ltd, the UK’s largest breeder and supplier of maggots, claims that such price wars can occur at this time of year when many maggot breeders find they have overproduced.
“This excess bait is dumped into the shops as it’s cheaper than paying for its disposal, hence the low price. I don’t think charging £1 per pint is sustainable.
“The average retail price of around £2.50 per pint is probably at the lower level of sustainability. The retailers have their own costs and these are obviously regional, hence the North/South price differentials,” said Roger.