This year the 42 exhibitors at the Johannesburg SAFTAD (SA Tackle Agents and Distributors) trade show hosted visitors from 167 retail companies – 91 on Saturday and 76 on Sunday. This is about 14% fewer than in 2016 when retail representatives from 192 companies visited the show, which had 40 exhibitors. SAFTAD reported a 20% decrease in visitor numbers in 2016 from previous years.

Statistics from the Department of Trade and Industry reveal that the total value of fishing equipment (rods, fishing-hooks and other line tackle, fish landing nets, etc) imported into South Africa in Q2 2017 amounted to R44.3-m, a 15% decline from Q2 2016 (R51.3-m) and a 0.1% decline from Q2 2015 (R44.35-m).

This is despite an increase in the number of fishing equipment units being imported (quarterly comparison) from 1.37-m in Q2 2015, 1.75-m in Q2 2016 to 1.77-m in Q2 2017 – a 29% increase from 2015.

Photo by Nicol du Toit

As reported in the Q3 2017 edition of Sports Trader, Fishing’s not for the faint hearted, the Rand’s unpredictability  against the dollar, the economic slump, rising unemployment and the drought in some parts of the country, are severely affecting the fishing industry’s trading environment.

“The growth in import volumes are at the lower end of the market and the number of imported accessories, like lures, are a lot higher than other, more expensive fishing items such as rods and reels,” Carin Hardisty reported. Despite being lower priced fishing accessories account for about 90% in the volume of imports and 40% of the Rand value.


A clear dip in fishing equipment imports (both in value above and in units below) can be seen in 2014 and Q1 and Q2 2015, with a recovery period during Q3 2015.


Globally, the fishing trade is seeing changes in trading conditions. International fishing and cycling brand, Shimano recently indicated a weakening of their European and North American fishing trade markets.

Fishing interest decline has been reported in the UK market as total rod licence sales this year dropped by almost 14% since 2010, with corresponding income falling by $3-m, according to Angling International.

Between 2000 to 2010, in comparison, sales increased by 37.5% to a record high of 1.4-m, generating income of 24.1-m pounds, figures produced for the Angling Trades Association (ATA) indicate.

However, “coarse and salmon licences in England and Wales declined to less than 1.266-m by 2015/2016, despite increased sales of short-term and concessionary licences,” Angling International reports.