The continued growth of Fishing and Outdoor World has been built on providing the best-possible customer service with quality products at a competitive price and with the best possible advice.
Fishing and Outdoor World on the corner of Cavenagh and Knuckey Streets (look for the twin barras) has been servicing the needs of the Northern Territory’s fishing, camping and shooting aficionados for more than 50 years.
Store manager Ronald Voukolos says last year the Territory endured a poor wet season, close to the worst ever and, in some areas, rivers were drying up. Thankfully that has changed and the fishing this season has been excellent and was still great in late October when this interview took place. Basically, an old-school wet season featuring early and late rains ensured a great year of business for the Darwin-based store.
“Places like Shady Camp fished well for barra, and anglers have learned to fish the neaps in the Build-up pretty much everywhere,” Ronald said.
“The billabong fishing is not so good, but the saltwater coastal barra fishing has been excellent.
“As for bluewater, there have been stacks of Spanish mackerel but little in the way of longtails.”
Ronald said water temperatures had been suggested as a cause, but he was unsure. However, sharks were a problem and giving anglers grief, and the size of the shark problem was being reflected in reel sales.
“The shark population shows in our sales,” he said. “We are selling more 8000 and 10,000 size reels so anglers can skull drag their fish to keep them away from the ‘men in brown coats’,” he explained.
Ronald said the shop was going well and they had been able to maintain a good level of local staff, normally 15 including part timers, although staff numbers were down due to the demand for tradies.
Sourcing knowledgeable staff isn’t easy: “Fishing and hunting is a religion in the Territory and hunters and anglers are switched on, so we need staff who know what they are talking about because bullshit doesn’t go far in this business,” he said.
Ronald’s father and shop founder, George, still works in the store, making a father and son team that has long played a significant role in the evolution of fishing in Territory waters. George and Col Stringer started the store in 1972. Col left the business, selling out to George in 1978, and moving on to become a pastor. George continued.
Expansion is never ending. Another bay was installed in the shop to display the new soft plastics that have been released onto the market. Six or seven years ago, the shop premises crossed from 27 Cavenagh St, literally, moving from a tight, overloaded shop of 220m² to a new facility offering more than 1,000² of shop and warehouse space.
“But we are running out of room again,” Ronald explained.
The good news for customers are the upgraded offerings.
“Squidgy lures are back with a vengeance,” Ronald said, adding “as are others like TTs and Berkley, which released an 8inch version of its Shimmer Pro.”In southern areas where anglers chase Murray cod, swimbaits are the big sellers.
Ronald said this was not the case in the Territory: “We still sell a lot of Barra Classics, Gold Bombers and Reidy’s B52s, which run slightly deeper than Gold Bombers.”
Product range is key to bringing customers through the doors, and FOW seems to have everything anyone with fishing or hunting in mind would want: rods and reels from companies like Shimano, Daiwa and Dobyns, lures from popular stables like Reidy’s and Classic plus walls of soft plastic variations.
Shimano has a great product range and is releasing a new Stradic reel, and Daiwa has a new range of rods that have been engineered to have heavier cast weights to suit big soft plastics.
Yeti products are as popular as ever, including the new pink colour released in support of cancer.
On the hunting side, waterfowl like magpie geese and ducks are a favourite of local shooters and the bag limit has increased over the years so that hunters are now allowed to harvest seven geese and 10 ducks.
Sourcing ammunition for the waterfowl season can be tough, and Ronald advised customers to get in early. He said there were some major changes in hunting products.
“Thermal technology is revolutionising hunting just as live action has done with fishing,” he said. “Hikmicro is leading the way with its telescopic sights, binoculars and range finders.
“The technology has improved markedly while costs have come down.”
Ronald said the FOW business was built on return customers: “We know people are likely to come back if they have a good experience.”
Product range is key to bringing customers through the doors, and FOW seems to have everything anyone with fishing or hunting in mind would want.