If I was fishing with Dad and the boat was sinking, and he had to choose between saving me and his tackle box… I’d like to think that I’d be rescued, but the grief I’d catch for playing a part in his lures turning into rusty treasures might not be worth keeping my lungs water-free. Then again, there’s a good chance the vessel damage would be related to the weight of his tackle box. It would be a blame draw.
Yes, fishermen and fisherwomen covet their tackle boxes–organizing, cleaning, hoarding, filling drawers and plastic bins with proven warriors, experimental tools, and one time wonders that will surely land the big catch again some day when the perfect conditions realign (during a solar eclipse, between four and five in the morning, the third week of May). Of course, maintaining a tackle box is never so much fun as when you’re adding new stuff. That’s where the startup MysteryTackleBox.com enters the water.
Mystery Tackle Box is an online subscription service that launched earlier in July. Each month, the company sends customers 3-4 unique lures and tackle on average. New tools come with accompanying instructions. At the moment, bait is geared toward freshwater bass fisherman. If the company fills its net, anglers might expect to see gear for catching different freshwater and saltwater species in the future. Products are first tested by tournament fishermen.
A monthly subscription starts at $15. Save a few bucks by signing up for longer subscriptions, in three month increments. A year subscription includes one month’s worth of free goods. There’s no additional shipping fee, and sales tax doesn’t apply (in most states).
It goes without saying that every fisherman is an expert, but Mystery Tackle Box hopes to keep those mind-hooks sharp by offering the latest in quality baits and teaching customers how to increase their hauls using them. The company also thinks it can save anglers money. Store runs and impulse buys have leached many a fisherman’s beer fund. A monthly mystery to look forward to might calm that need for shiny new things.
Reeling ‘Em In
In its first week, Mystery Tackle Box snagged 200 subscribers and $3,000 in revenue. They’re fishing in a well-stocked pond of some 40 million anglers in the U.S. Of course, they’ll have fight for the good spots with the likes of Bass Pro Shop and Dick’s Sporting Goods. The founders are optimistic.
Ross Gordon (founder of Craftjack and Tribe9 Interactive) came up with the idea for a fishing subscription when his “Bass Fishing Favorites” Facebook page scored 80,000 likes. He felt confident that he could lure the traffic to a profitable site. Too busy with his other companies, however, Gordon found a CEO in Jeremy Gwynne. Gwynne brought managerial experience and a tech background to the table after working for years at a large IT consulting firm. And he brought passion. Gwynne started fishing in Florida when he was just five years old.
Ordinarily, founders who wouldn’t mind selling out to a larger retail outfit, like Gordon, might make a customer question commitment to product development or customer service. In this case though, an openness to being gobbled up by a Dick’s Sporting Goods is reassuring–who would trust another fishermen that wasn’t eager for more time on the water?
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a cooler to fill and rods to assemble.