This week the Angling Times tackle team jetted off to Fox International’s headquarters in Belgium to visit its warehouse where all the new products for 2009 were being showcased. This gave them the perfect opportunity to get their hands on the gear before the rest of the angling press.
Jonathan Taylor reports…
Getting up at 3.30am to catch a plane came as a bit of a shock to the system and, as I sat in the airport with Fox marketing manager Steve Cole, I started to question why on earth I had agreed to meet up at such a ridiculous hour.
He seemed as vacant as me and both of us lacked the energy to spark up any meaningful conversation. Then he broke the silence with unexpected enthusiasm:
“Just wait until you see our new alarms and hangers. They’re better than anything else on the market. You’ll really be impressed.”
I looked at him in sheer disbelief. My only thoughts were for the bed that I had left behind, yet in front of me stood a grown man whose eyes visibly lit up as he described the intricacies of Fox’s latest design. I was left with two thoughts. Either the lack of sleep had left Steve slightly delirious, or they must be something really special.
A few hours – and a few coffees – later we stood inside the main warehouse.
The set-up was eye-opening – a vast stockroom piled to the top of its 60ft high roof with boxes of tackle spreading as far as you could see.
We were then whisked off to the showroom where all Fox’s products were on display.
Like kids in a sweetshop, Mark and I separated to scour the shelves in pursuit of the most interesting new items, before being hauled back and guided around by Steve.
Hanging from one of the walls was a complete new range of Warrior specialist luggage, nearly all priced at under £70. It looked to be well made, with strong, reliable zips.
Three new fully-assembled bivvies covered the centre of the showroom. These were the new top end domes from Fox. They are made from Ven-Tec, a new material that Fox claims doesn’t sag with age and is more waterproof and breathable than past products. All are priced between £330 and £430.
Although not present for our visit, rumours were also rife that a new Evo bivvy will soon be launched.
We were shown the new additions to the carp, barbel and pike rod ranges, as well as the complete selection of Fox Match Warrior rods, which are in the shops now.
Then, with a grin on his face, Steve guided us towards a row of glass shelves, illuminated by spotlights.
On the glimmering surface sat the new alarms and hangers that he had talked about with such excitement back at the airport. Initially they didn’t look very different to past offerings but, on closer inspection, the hangers had a totally new device to secure the line.
Something called a Spring-Lok holds it in place and when you pick the rod up, the neat mechanism is pulled back by the chain and the line is released.
The new NTX alarms also impressed. Fox has gone back to its roots and instead of compromising on reliability to produce a small nifty bite alarm, the team has tried to create one that will function correctly and prove reliable to anglers. It’s not cheap, though – expect to pay around £200 per alarm!
While the carp and specialist side of things all seemed very exciting, the match range was lacking in terms of numbers of new items launched. A range of seatbox accessories will be available later in the year, alongside a new version of the MSB seatbox called the Euro. It has a similar design to the current model, but features sturdy round legs instead of square offerings and has a slide-out footplate.
Other than that, the only product the match angler would be interested in was the new range of Santos reels and, although branded under the Fox banner, they will complement the rest of the Fox Match range perfectly.