I’ve just got back from a brilliant trip over to meet the men and women behind European fishing tackle brand, SPRO. Based in the Netherlands, I travelled with the UK’s distributor of the brand, Stewart Lister (Stewart’s Angling Services).
I’m lucky in a way that I’ve known Stewart for a lot of years, having matched fished together around Cornwall. And now that he has control of the SPRO brand across the UK, it’s super convenient having him based just up the road. No waiting on the post – I know if I need something SPRO I can just go and get it!
The brand itself has been available in the UK for a long time. It’s one of those European ones that I think has sat on the side lines a little but though – while anglers more familiar with Shimano, Daiwa et al stick religiously to what they know. Across Europe however (particularly in Germany and Holland) the SPRO brand is massively popular, and continuing to grow fast!
Mention “Gamakatsu” in the UK and most anglers will be familiar with the almost elite status that the brand has. Did you know that Gamakatsu actually own SPRO and that there are huge similarities between their product ranges? While Gamakatsu have that respected air of greatness about them, Spro are perhaps yet to find their feet as a mainstream brand in the UK. It will come though – or at least massively deserves to! The products are obviously designed for the European market (while Gamakatsu is more Japan orientated), and the result is a range of high quality products, produced at very reasonable prices, and specifically designed for the venues and fish that we target here.
Until this year (or next year – from now on), we’ve not stocked a huge range of Spro equipment. The jigheads have always been the best value out there, and their ultra-light travel rods have always been out best value, best sellers, but on the whole their range has been too freshwater orientated for our shop. Being based in Cornwall and surrounded by sea, obviously that is where our main customer base lies. Their 2015 range however, fills in literally all of the blanks! If I had said to them last year (and they were willing to listen) that we need “this”, “this” and “that”, what they have come up with is exactly what my list would have contained! Longer, more powerful rods for a start (to suit our bass anglers)! And longer, lighter rods too to suit the growing number of both light saltwater anglers and freshwater anglers looking for a 8 footers rather than 7’s. These types of rods crossover hugely well now between fresh and salt water.
I’ve been visiting a lot of trade shows during the latter part of this year. As a result, it’s been really nice to compare tackle across different brands. To be honest, I’ve mostly been looking at coarse fishing kit (a past and present love) but naturally I’ve seen a lot of lure stuff too. It’s been a huge benefit to me in that I’ve seen both a lot of kit that I expected to love even before seeing it (and did); a lot that I expected to love (and hated); a lot that I expected to hate (and loved!) and a lot of stuff that I just thought ‘d never give much of a look or thought (which I’ve been completely blown away by!). As far as stocking the shop goes, it’s probably saved me a fortune in buying duds, but it will also lead us in to 2015 with ranges of tackle that I can be superbly confident and happy with. Obviously our range will include far more than just SPRO, but this report is obviously about those products.
Back to the trip, we took a long thirteen hours to get over there. Once settled though we spent one and a half days meeting the guys involved (in Europe and
Japan), playing with pretty much the entire range of tackle that is permanently on excellent display in their showrooms, and seeing just how massive their warehousing departments are! Anybody who had any doubt about the place of SPRO in the market (as a big player) needs just to see the enormity of the operation they have there – with regular truckfull’s of fishing tackle arriving and leaving every single day! It’s an extremely professional operation.
On the way over I think we discussed items we particularly wanted to see. Like any anglers, Stewart and I are immediately drawn to what catches our eyes personally. This is always a nice starting point when it comes to stocking the shop, as it seems that most people think in just the same ways. Above everything else, I think the new “Addiction” range of rods and reels was high on the agenda, as well as the “Custom” reels and new models of their “Mobile Stick” travel rod series. There was just too much to list to be honest.
I’ll keep the exact details of some of the standout products for the further four reports to follow. This is the introduction obviously. Then we have:
- Part 2: Rods.
- Part 3: Reels
- Part 4: Lures
- Part 5: Other Stuff.
For today though, I’ll leave you with a few more pictures. They don’t quite show true enormity of the place, and for security reasons I can’t show anything of the huge warehouses, but hopefully these will give you an idea of where we were….
Rod report to follow in a couple of days. Did I like them?! Yes I did!