The COVID-19 pandemic sent large areas of southern States into lockdown and forced hundreds of businesses to close as sales collapsed.
It was the opposite for some sectors of the NT: outdoors shops, like Rod and Rifle Tackleworld at Katherine, had trouble keeping pace with demand for fishing, shooting and camping products.
Denied overseas travel, Territorians found the outdoors, and Trent de With, who manages Rod and Rifle Tackleworld at Katherine, has no complaints. Trent’s father Warren owns the store, and last year he told NAFA the pandemic was the “greatest thing that ever happened” for fishing and outdoor stores.
“Sales were up month after month, sometimes by as much as 75 per cent,” Warren said. Little has changed. Trent said the NT: outdoors shops, like Rod and Rifle Tackleworld at Katherine, had trouble keeping pace with demand for
fishing, shooting and the store was going gangbusters as Territorians took to the outdoors en masse, and the region was overrun with people.
“All the free camps are full, and so are the caravan parks,” Trent said. “We are having a phenomenal year in terms of sales and people.
“Many people are coming up wanting to fish for the first time. The Katherine River is fishing well, and we had a brilliant wet season.”
Trent said the cherabin were in big numbers. “In the Roper River pots were producing 15-20 cherabin a time,” he said. “It is a reflection on our wet season.”
“We skipped the Covid thing big time, and the barra have been excellent in the local (Katherine) and Roper River.” Trent said Katherine was bursting at the seams and it was amazing to experience.NAFA talked to Trent in mid-June. He said there was a big spread of people in the town, including Victorians: “And we haven’t hit peak season yet. 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.
Rod and Rifle Tackleworld is situated in Giles Street 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.
“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,” Trent said.
As for Rod and Rifle Tackleworld: Trent has overseen much expansion by adding new fishing and camping products to the already huge product rang
R&R sells Humminbird, Minn Kota and the Kroc range of shoes and clothing, while Yeti products keep going from strength to strength. And Trent is savvy with social media, which is bringing more people into the shop.