Talking Monster Tackle with Outdoor Pro Shop
Introduction: In between field tests and industry events we enjoy visiting retailers and e-tailers to
find out more about their unique businesses, and this week we did both in a
single trip as we traveled to
Outdoor Pro Shop near the heart of Northern
California wine country to learn more about the Outdoor Pro Shop retail store and
their new online store MonsterBassTackle.com.
The Outdoor Pro Shop was started
in Rohnert Park, CA by Ken Elie
We met the team from Outdoor Pro Shop at McCarran
Airport on the way back from the recent ICAST show in Las Vegas where Ken Elie, the founder of Outdoor Pro Shop
told us about his recent fishing adventures in Alaska and Mexico, and only after
describing his most recent Salmon and Halibut trip did he tell us about his
retail store which is located in Rohnert Park, which is about two hours north of
TT headquarters. Ken also told us about the company's fast growing online
e-tail store monsterbasstackle.com of which Tom Leogrande, one of our own
contributing editors is a web developer for. We decided to visit the retail
store and learn more about Ken's operation and see what is coming from the new
We crossed the Golden Gate to
travel North to the OPS Rohnert Park location
Zander and Cal head up to Rohnert Park across the
Golden Gate bridge to see firsthand what the Outdoor pro Shop had to offer. We
were met by Pat Elie, Ken's son, who is heavily involved in the business. The
best way to describe the store is a combination of tackle and specialists, there
is a separate section dedicated to bass, another for steelhead, one for
saltwater and long range, and another section just for fly fishing. After Pat gave
us the grand tour of the shop we sat down with him to learn exactly
what makes OPS unique, and what the team had in store for anglers with Monster.
Zander: Thanks for inviting us over to the
store Pat, let's start with the history of OPS. How did you first get into the
Pat: "My father Ken Elie, the owner of Outdoor Pro Shop, has a diverse
background in business working 10 years in corporate banking and 10 years as
owner of a large textile manufacturing company. In 1990 he sold the textile
company and spent almost 2 years in retirement at a young age, but boredom
overcame him and thus concept for Outdoor Pro Shop was hatched. Ken decided if
he was going to work 7 days a week it would be doing something he loved."
OPS stocks a ton of reels for all
types of fishing, a number of which are from more obscure brands outside of the
big brands just to offer consumers more choices
"When OPS first opened there were a handful of scattered tackle stores around
Sonoma and Marin County but nothing that compared in tackle selection and size
of what Outdoor Pro Shop was attempting to bring to market. What Ken envisioned
for his tackle store had not been done to the scale that he attempted. Outdoor
Pro Shop first opened in April of 1994 in a 5000 sq/ft space located in Rohnert
Park. After many years of hard work, we have expanded our store to over 7000
sq/f and opened a second store in Oakland. We now stock everything you need to
fish from Baja to Alaska."
A look at the baitcaster case
Zander: I'm always interested to find out if
those in the tackle business are actually fishermen. Do you and your team
personally fish, and if you do what type of fishing do you prefer?
Pat: "Everyone in our company fishes, if you don’t
enjoy fishing this will not be the job for you. All we do is talk fishing all
day long; sometimes having the same conversation with different guys for days on
end. If you don’t love it you could not do it every day. Our staff is composed
of a lot of different types of anglers. We’ve got fly, saltwater, steelhead,
salmon, bass tournament anglers all working in the shop. So we each have some
expertise in many different types of fishing."
The store had a massive wall of
line choices and five spooling stations
"This works well because
even though we are currently a bass only website in our stores we cover all
species from Baja to Alaska. Ken, the owner, is one of the best all around
anglers with a strong emphasis on salt water fishing. Ken has had the good
fortune to catch world class fish in almost every species you can think of.
(i.e. 375lb Yellow-fin. ) It is almost impossible for one person to fish for
every species all over the world so we like to have our employees be the experts
in different areas of fishing."
Pat spools up a new reel...
Zander: Can you comment on how the tackle
industry has changed over the years?
Pat: "The tackle
industry has expanded the technical aspects of fishing. Long gone are the days
of a bobber and salmon eggs and sitting on the bank waiting for a fish. Anglers
now want more ball bearings, spectra lines, fluorocarbon leaders, ghost crank
baits…. Everything we come to expect from our lures and gear today was almost
none existent just 10 years ago."
...which happens to be the new
Shimano Citica E
"Everyday in our stores,
(the main reason for our success) our employees are explaining every little part
of the fishing experience. Concepts like a fast action rod, reduced line twist
reels, castable lever drag reels, must be shown and explained to each customer
that comes in the door. Think about 10 years ago, could you have imaged a
$400.00 bass rod? I recall us deciding if we could sell $139.99 St Croix rod.
Those days are long gone. So today we must have the latest and greatest and
know how to use it."
Cal checks out the stock room in
the back, the store holds inventory for both the retail store and
Monsterbasstackle.com here so that they can ship the same day they are ordered
Section: What about Monster?