Covid-19 affected people differently. While southern States went into lockdown, the Northern Territory opened with more locals taking advantage of the outdoors lifestyle.
Rod & Rifle Tackle World shop front is literally an outdoors gallery and well worth checking out.
Warren de With owns Rod & Rifle Tackle World at Katherine. Warren’s son Trent manages the store, while Warren says he is working on an exit strategy.
As for Covid, Warren says the pandemic is the “greatest thing that ever happened” for fishing and outdoor stores.
Contrary to early warnings of dire consequences, sales of fishing, shooting and camping products across the Northern Territory, and particularly in Katherine, were well ahead of 2019.
“We became so busy it was unbelievable,” Warren said.
“Sales were up month after month, sometimes by as much as 75 per cent.”
Warren said there was a big, noticeable increase in people going back to the outdoors because they couldn’t travel south or overseas.
“People who had never camped or fished before took it on, and many returned with stories of seeing things they never knew existed,” he said.
“Places like Katherine Gorge and the surrounding country are wonderful for bushwalking, camping and fishing.”
With Katherine’s perfect location, people can travel only an hour or so out of town and be camping beside a river or billabong enjoying all the Territory has to offer.
Rod & Rifle Tackle World is situated in Katherine, a city at the cross-roads for fishing in the Northern Territory with the Daly, Roper, and Victoria Rivers all under three hours away.
Warren said Territorians made up for the lack of tourists so much so that the tourism trade wasn’t missed. He credited the NT Government decision to issue 25,000 tourism vouchers worth $200 each as playing a major role.
“It was a fantastic help to tourism operators like fishing guides,” he said. “Fishing tour operators were flat out keeping up.”
Warren believes the next couple of years will offer excellent opportunities for outdoor businesses and tourism operators.
“Caravan sales are already peaking and there is a six-month waiting list for a new caravan,” he said.
“I don’t expect we will be able to travel overseas the way we used to for a couple of years so Australia has a fantastic opportunity for domestic tourism to expand.”
As for Rod & Rifle Tackle World, Warren said his son Trent had overseen much expansion by adding new fishing and camping products to the already huge product range.
“We now sell Humminbird, Minn Kota, clothing, the Croc range of shoes, while Yeti products keep going from strength to strength.”
In store, the business now runs with seven staff, three more than it did a year ago and Warren said Trent was savvy with social media and that was bringing more people into the shop.
The De With family have operated Rod & Rifle for over 40 years. Pictured are Trent, Warren and Debbie De With.
Find us at
14 Second Street, Katherine, NT 0850
Phone 08 8972 1020
Search @rodnriflekatherine on Facebook or Instagram