OK. This is going to need a big disclaimer before we go any further. No matter what the situation I try to find middle ground and look at both sides of the story. I am really not comfortable with extreme views of any sort whether they be political, religious or other. I always try to look for other pieces of information that give a more complete picture. Unfortunately, the internet and most especially Facebook have a way of polarising things to the extreme. If you aren’t on one side you must be on the opposite. My intention here is merely to add a few more things to think about when you come to your own conclusion. Not all of the things I will mention are necessarily my personal point of view. They are simply ideas to add in the mix while I play “devils advocate” for both sides of the fence in the hope that anglers might come a little closer to the middle rather than marching towards the other camp with pitchforks and flaming torches. I am also most definitely not going to name any specific person or company and just so we are fair I am not going to add any images either.
So with that long intro, lets talk about lures being copied.
This discussion has been smouldering away for a while now but lately it somehow seems that small flame has been fanned into a vitriolic bonfire. A few Facebook posts have garnered cricket score numbers of responses. HOLY CRAP PEOPLE! How do you follow any kind of coherent discussion on a Facebook thread when you have to tap “view previous comments” about 20 times. It’s hard enough following these kind of discussions on a well laid out forum on a computer. Trying to follow it on Facebook on your phone is next to impossible. It usually has a couple of decent responses that then become lost in a sea of “dogs” or “maggots” sprinkled with a few people tagging their mates to come see the big argument. There’s really not going to be a whole lot of good, constructive discussion coming from that.
First things first. What is a “copy” and where is the line in the sand? Look at a spinnerbait. Spinnerbaits companies pop up all the time. They are all pretty much the same design. Does the first company to market a spinnerbait have a right to be pissed with every company to make spinnerbaits since? Single tail grub plastics and blades are kind of the same. Does the first person to come up with them have a right to be the only one to sell them? How long should they have this right?
This brings me to point two. Innovation. There is something to be said for innovation. Without it we’d still be throwing sharpened bones or sticks at fish. But in Australia there are only a handful who have truly tried to make something just for Australia. People who have spent money and more importantly time to come up with something unique, that doesn’t just follow but tries to lead but that list is VERY short! A company can rename something Barra-this or Bass-that or Bream-the-other but the fact is it was most probably designed for an angling purpose in Japan or the USA and the company distributing that product didn’t put a damn cent towards its development.
Thirdly, some lures are not “innovated” for anything. Some lures are simply made to be picked out of a production catalog or from a bunch of rough samples, then painted in the colours a company decides and put into that companies packaging. Sometimes there may be multiple manufacturers with the same mould who happen to sell it at about the same time to two different companies. Did company A “copy” company B?
This “copy” genie was also let out of the bottle with a little help. What if there is a popular lure but stock levels are always appallingly low and the law of supply and demand pushes the price up, and even then anglers still can’t get their hands on it? One of the first rules of business is try and fill a consumer demand. If there is a large demand that is not being filled it is a smart business that fills that demand.
Is anything that has been done so far illegal? As far as I know, no. Because I’m sure we would have heard about it by now if there was anything illegal happening rather than just Facebook rants to rattle up the pitchforks and torches we have had.
Finally, and this is about the only solid opinion that I will claim as my own in this piece, is to take any company regardless of how big or small it is upon the merit of what it does for the Australian fishing community as a whole. Are they supporting the Australian fishing industry by sponsoring events, sponsoring anglers, advertising and magazines and online because the dead set truth is that the whole fishing tackle industry would be going backwards if companies were not putting anything back into the industry. Support the companies that support the industry. Not every company can be a tier 1 company like Daiwa or Shimano but there are plenty of smaller companies that do their fair share for their size.
As I said at the start, hopefully this will give Aussie anglers more to think about so that they can have more constructive and informed ideas than they may have had before and understand a little more about our industry.