Iconic isn’t a word normally used to describe an outdoors shop, however, based on longevity and service, this status can be applied to the Darwin-based Fishing and Outdoor World.
Opened in 1972, Fishing and Outdoor World, which is situated on the corner of Cavenagh and Knuckey Streets, Darwin, has continued to trade through a cyclone, pandemic and strong business competition.
In southern States many businesses were forced to close due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Among the least affected businesses were outdoors-related businesses. This was also the case in the Northern Territory.
Fishing and Outdoor World (FOW) boss, Ronald Voukolos, says the Covid-19 pandemic that raged across southern States didn’t have a huge impact on business.
“Tourist sales were affected, but reduced tourism and Territory restrictions resulted in sales moving in another direction,” he said.
“Most affected by the interstate and international travel restrictions were tourism operators, fishing tour operators and hotels and the like.
“We were lucky as the government took a common-sense approach. We might not have been able to go to gyms, movies or dine out in the Top End but we could fish.
“And Darwin locals made the most of the opportunity, this included many Aboriginals who went bush and fishing, so overall it was positive.”
And when it came to fishing Ronald had nothing to complain about: “Big barra were being caught in Corroboree Billabong at night, and the bluewater options made up any differences; we experienced a good run of jewfish and goldies, and with a La Nina forecast, we are expecting a good Wet. Overall, the fishing was okay, and the outlook positive.”
When we talked to Ronald, he praised some of the NT Government initiatives in 2020, including the Million-Dollar barra campaign. He said it was an incentive for anglers to know they could cast a line and perhaps pull in a barra worth $10,000.
And the piscatorial success of the Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) this year showed his support for the program was not misplaced. Ronald said the FADs, located at Lee Point, Dundee, and North and South Gutters, were great additions to bluewater fishing around Darwin.
Regardless of what is going on elsewhere in terms of pandemics and travel restrictions, FOW continued to flourish, as it always has. And customers are never short of sound advice when it comes to firearms or fishing tackle. In the store, everyone has knowledge of fishing or shooting, or both. And everyone wants to talk to Ronald’s father George (who founded the store in 1972) or Ronald. Most of the eight full-time and five part-time staff are family-orientated, so they know what will suit customers’ needs, whether chasing barra, hunting geese or reloading.
FOW has one of the most diverse ranges of lures of any store in Australia. This is not surprising given the store’s long long history of association with some of Australia’s most innovative lure makers. And while George may be something of a legend among anglers, he is was responsible for setting trends, such as introducing Australian anglers to Nilsmaster and Vibrotail lures.
FOW supports local product. Lure makers like Chris Hurt made barra and mackerel lures exclusively for the store for more than 40 years while master lure maker, Rob Gaden, sought George’s advice during the design stages of some of his lures. It was George who brought Rob Gaden and John Millyard together when Rob designed the Classic lure, for many years the number one barra lure in the country. It may still be.
Yeti products were a shining light in sales. “It is an expensive product but offers the ultimate in performance,” Ron said.
“The company puts performance and quality ahead of price, and this is reflected in sales. Yeti has gone from strength to strength; we were the first store to have Yeti, now everyone wants the product.”
FOW is a one stop shop for shooters, anglers and anyone with a bent toward outdoors pursuits. And Ronald explained, “We have to make sure we are keeping up with new product because people are always looking for new product that might give them an edge.”
And therein is perhaps the toughest issue: getting product. Fortunately, FOW has plenty of stock and the staff are ready and willing to serve you or impart some local knowledge.