The Ties That Bind: Why Fly Fishing Retailers and Brands Should Rally Behind Their Trade Association

In the diverse world of fishing, fly fishing holds a unique, revered spot. Its elegance, precision, and the deep connection it forges between the angler and nature are unparalleled. As retailers, brands, and media catering to the fly fishing community, our role goes beyond merely selling gear. We are curators of tradition, guardians of ethics, and promoters of sustainable fishing practices. And in this capacity, we shoulder a collective responsibility that also necessitates supporting our trade association.

Trade associations act as the lifeblood of any industry. Trade associations are there to provide structure, advocacy, and a unified voice. For our industry, that is the American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA). When challenges arise—be they legislative, environmental, or market-driven—it’s the association that steps up, marshaling resources and expertise to address them head-on.

Trade associations are more than just advocacy groups; they’re hubs of expertise. They disseminate best practices, emerging trends, and invaluable market insights through workshops, seminars, and publications. By supporting our trade association, fly fishing retailers ensure they’re armed with the latest knowledge to serve their clientele better.

Data Tells a Story

A thriving independent retail sector has the ability to collect sales performance data from a robust and representative sample of store locations.

Through their partnership with TrackFly, AFFTA is creating an entirely new standard for accuracy and utility to build a better understanding of fly fishing specialty retail. This point-of-sale data will facilitate better retailer, vendor, & industry understanding of the specialty market processes and trends and help power the trade association to advocate for their members.

Data is reported by 80-plus fly fishing specialty retail locations across the US, and that retailer count will continue to grow every month.

Currently, the data draws upon:

• $140 million in retail sales**
• Over 4 million consumer transactions**

TrackFly identifies and analyzes category trends, brand market share, and top-selling product trends. Additionally, Trackfly is intent on assisting retailers, reps, and brands in interpreting that data and arriving at valuable insights. Of course, the data does not make decisions for anyone, but as a resource, it represents a powerful new tool to help engaged users make more informed, fact-based business decisions. And the more informed we are individually, the stronger we can become collectively.

AFFTA will now be able to leverage the economic power of our industry’s specialty retailers and brands to influence policies and programs that support fly fishing recreation and a healthy environment.

Organize, Convene, Community

There has been a seismic shift happening in the trade show world. National marketplace shows are struggling to find their past glory. Focused buying group shows in the outdoor verticals are disrupting the buy-sell process with their efficiency and impact. And rep-organized outdoor regional shows deliver high value to retailers. It’s essential to offer hyper-focused events, such as the 2022 Charleston Industry Summit and a new inclusive national industry gathering.

Collaboration Is Our Currency

Fly fishing retailers and brands are torchbearers of a rich legacy. By rallying behind and supporting our trade association, we ensure our industry’s growth and resilience and uphold the values and traditions that make fly fishing the cherished pursuit it is today.

By standing together under the banner of our trade association, we present a united front, amplifying our voice and influence. We may have varying opinions on the paths to take, but there is no doubt that our destination is the same. If we want to see our beloved sport continue to flourish, it’s imperative that we recognize and support the pivotal role of our trade association and give it the backing it rightfully deserves.

One thought on “The Ties That Bind: Why Fly Fishing Retailers and Brands Should Rally Behind Their Trade Association

  1. Trying the same sort of thing on here in Britain, chaps. In our own case, it’s more a case Save Ourselves, The Folk Who Effed-Over (and “-Up”) British Fishing / Angling (all disciplines and departments – fly, spin and bait, salt and lake-and stream-freshwater) – the mostly importers and stack-it-high and sell it as high as we dare, soulless metalshed floggers of you-probably-don’t-need-this gear and their performing, perma-smiling, social media monkeys – personalities, celebrities and self-styled experts – (let’s also hear it for the late to the last-gasp feast, the “What do I have to say / do for a freebie, guys?” Influencers), and you have a “Why does nobody under the age of, say, around 80 nowadays go fishing anymore?” goddam awful, almost solely self-inflicted, mess.

    Boote out.

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