Commercial fisheries are killing our fishing tackle shops

‘Over 50 per cent of high street tackle shops will be gone within 10 years.’ That’s the chilling prediction of former fishery boss Terry Knight as two of the country’s biggest commercial waters set a trend by opening huge on-site tackle shops.

Gold Valley Lakes, in Hampshire, and Lindholme Lakes, near Doncaster, will soon join the growing list of fisheries boasting fully-stocked tackle shops once developments allow them to introduce unique, new services at their existing on-site stores.

Both will be backed by some of the biggest tackle manufacturers, boast pole and bivvy showrooms, and give anglers the opportunity to test all the latest gear on their multi-award-winning lakes before buying.

Former world champion and co-owner of Gold Valley Lakes William Raison could soon be offering anglers advice on purchases, while Lindholme will employ a full-time ‘big name angler’ to help in its new tackle shop.

Such changes mean anglers no longer have to use their traditional high street tackle shop, provoking Terry, former owner of the popular Burton Mere Fishery in Cheshire, into making his bold, but believable prediction.

“There’s no escaping the fact that many small shops are going to go under because they just can’t compete with the services larger, popular commercials can offer,” Terry told Angling Times.

“I opened a small tackle shop at Burton Mere about 10 years ago and, in just a few years, my turnover went from £3,000 to £120,000 without even trying, proving just how much demand there is for this kind of service.

“This transition is no different to what’s happening on the high street with the small corner shops and huge chains like Tesco. Anglers want to be able to buy everything under one roof and high street tackle shops will be the casualties,” he added.

Work will start on both the new shops next year and the two fishery owners insist they’re not looking to take business from the high street, but instead give their customers what they want.

“The industry is evolving and any commercial fishery owner would be foolish to ignore the demand from their customers,” said Neil Grantham, owner of Lindholme Lakes.

Those sentiments were echoed by Neil Stockton, manager of Stapeley Angling Centre near Nantwich, Cheshire, who recently opened up another shop at the popular Cudmore Fisheries complex in Staffs.

“Our Cudmore shop allows customers to try before they buy,” explained Neil.

“Having a shop on a big, successful commercial enables you to carry out tackle demonstrations and instruct customers on how to get the most out of their purchases.

“It wasn’t about taking business from smaller shops, but more an effort to interact better with our customers and get more people fishing more often,” he said.