Here is to the next ten years...
||Many over the
past 10 years|
the Editor: It
is hard to believe that ten years have gone by so quickly, what started out as
nothing more than an hobby site has turned into a huge community of anglers from
across the globe that share a passion for fishing and the tackle we employ in
Ten years ago I was spending every
minute I could fishing for bass in Northern California Reservoirs, that Norman
crankbait is still one of my favorites
The beginning: The real beginning of TackleTour started long before any
html code was ever inputted, it started when JIP and I used to escape the
monotony of inland living and head to the Northern California Coast to go
fishing. We were in high school back then and from the very first surf perch I
was hooked for life. Back then I was driving a 1978 Ford Fiesta and it was a
harrowing adventure just to get over the hill, there were times when we had to
push start that car just to get home. Mid year while making a U-turn the
steering shaft snapped leaving me turning a free spinning steering wheel….bad
JIP and I hiked deep into
backcountry fishing for trout back in the day
But like an unexplainable
magnetic force we were constantly drawn to the ocean and it really didn’t matter
if we caught anything, it was just a delight to be out fishing. I owned a
whopping two spinning combos back then, one was a Shakespeare two piece rod that
had half of the inserts missing, and the other was a Daiwa trout rod which I
used for fishing everything from trout to stripers (the latter of which was a
very bad idea).
We combined JIP's love for
photography with my love for writing...
When JIP and I graduated
from High School we both went on to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to pursue our
majors. We took a break from fishing, as we got distracted by other time
consuming activities including mountain biking, golf and let’s not forget
dating. Still fishing was never far from our minds.
...toss in my sweet ride and we
were in business
The Site is Born:
Fast forward a few years later to the year 2000, and by now I was focused almost
completely on my new favorite species... largemouth bass. It was in September
when I was sitting in front of my computer desperately searching for information
to compare products and other than manufacturer pages there really wasn’t a
whole lot of information that I found that explored the tackle in as much depth
as I desired. Most of what I read was nothing more than straight regurgitation
of press releases. I wanted experiences focusing on the tackle just as much as
the fishing techniques themselves.
In the Fall of 2000 we started
coding the site and populated it with a number of reviews that I'm embarrassed
to read when I look back
It took about a week for
me to begin writing about the tackle I was fishing at the time starting with my
go to plastic, the Yamamoto Hula Grub, and a few weeks after that to put
together a structure for a site where I could share that information with others
who might have an interest. I never wanted to tell people what to buy, just to
share data and experiences so they had more information to make their own
decisions if the product made sense for their unique applications. We didn’t get
much traffic for the first two years, but I enjoyed buying tackle and writing
about it, and as time went on we further defined our testing methodologies.
JIP quickly gravitated towards
the second year I started to get serious about trying to get more information
about the tackle before it was released. Manufacturers for the most part ignored
us so I decided to drive to Las Vegas after work and attend a tackle show I had
heard so much about….ICAST.
Two years into the site I made my
first trip to ICAST
I dragged my wife along to
help keep me awake during the eight hour trek and while she caught up on some sleep I
went to the Las Vegas Convention Center and found that I didn’t qualify as
accredited press. I didn’t work for a printed publication after all and trying
to explain that I owned an online tackle review site wasn't going anywhere. I went to the
business center and printed out a few articles I had written and came
back to registration where I was finally let into the show.
Four years in Cal joined us...
I was like a kid in a
candy store, here I was presented with tackle months before they would actually
be released. It was an absolute dream come true, until it became a nightmare of
sorts. There were a few supportive manufacturers but most banned me from taking
pictures, some spent more time ushering me out of their booths than talking to
me. I heard “Who are you?” I’ve never heard of TackleTour.” a lot that day.
...with his first review, the
Purple Powerhouse... the Daiwa Alphas
I’ll never forget one Tier
1 reel manufacturer which pulled me aside and issued a stern warning that I
wasn’t allowed to take pictures of their booth or products and made me delete
all my images one by one. They literally stood over me making sure I had nothing
on my 2.4 megapixel camera. It was quite an experience. Though I left that show
with very little content I was filled with determination. These days a show like
ICAST can fill 80 plus pages of content, that day I wrote three, suffice to say
it was a long drive home.
We've met some great people along
That year I bought more
tackle and wrote more than I ever have before, and JIP started the forum on the
site so we could have a back and forth dialogue with our readers. By year’s end
traffic had quadrupled, something had changed….it was you. You, our readers,
came out in full force. Not only were we receiving article requests daily, the
support from readers from all over the world was nothing short of inspiring.
Both JIP and I went to school at
Cal Poly with Rich Zielenga, founder of Tackle Warehouse, and we hooked up with
Rich at El Salto and have been working together ever since. Rich is hands down
one of the best guys in the industry.
Over the next two years we
continued to grow over 100% year on year as more and more readers came to the
site. We had another surge when we brought a passionate new editor into the
fold, you know him as the “dark lord,” our Enthusiast Editor Cal. A frequent
contributor on our forum he brought a unique perspective (or sickness if you
want to call it that) centered around enthusiast class JDM tackle starting with
his first review of the “Purple Powerhouse,” the Daiwa Alphas.
A year ago Tom Leogrande joined
the team, not only does he also run Monster Fishing Tackle but is a kicka$$
angler on Clear Lake
Cal added a thrilling new
element to the site and built up a community of die hard enthusiasts in the
process. Cal started out as member on our forum, moved on to become a full time
editor and I now call him a good friend.
One of the most respected outdoor
writers in the business is our friend and Contributing Editor Terri Battisti
with Pro Angler Gary Dobyns at Lake Pardee
Along the way we have made
a lot of friends including our readers, professional anglers, forum moderators
and some really great people in the industry itself.
Jonah Li of Hi's Tackle Box in San
Francisco showed me a lot of things I didn't know on Clear Lake earlier this
Today I can honestly say
that TackleTour is more than I ever thought it would be. It is a place for
everyone who loves to fish, anglers that want to seek out information and a home
for self proclaimed tackle junkies like us.
From all of us at TackleTour,
thank you... our readers, and here is to the next ten years!
These days I like writing
just as much as I enjoy testing tackle and fishing (okay almost as much), and
I’m thankful that there are those of you that still want to read what we write.
TackleTour simply would not and could not exist today if it were not for the
most important ingredient of all…. and that is you, our dedicated readers. So as
we move into this New Year, here is to all of you, the heart and soul of
TackleTour. Thank you all for joining us for the ride thus far, we look forward
to the exciting journey that that will be the next decade. Bring on the Search