By Cindy Atoji Keene
When he saw his former girlfriend receiving boxes of beauty samples through a monthly online subscription service, Boston entrepreneur Stash Karandanis was inspired to launch an equivalent e-commerce firm for fishermen. “I saw that the subscription box industry was providing consumers with everything from makeup to pet food, and I thought, ‘Why can’t I do this with fishing tackle?’ He launched Tackle Grab last year, shipping out jigs, lures, plugs, and flies, customized to an angler’s profile. “Our goal is to provide fishermen with convenient, affordable service which delivers hot new fishing lures to their doorstep every month,” said Karandanis.
Q: So what’s in Tackle Grab goodie box this month?
A: It depends on your ‘Angler Profile,’ an online survey that collects personalized fishing data such as fishing preferences and techniques. Every month for a low fee, starting at about $15 and up, members receive three samples of tackle suited to their fishing style. We work with major brands like Yo-Zuri and Evolve Baits to small mom and pop shops. For example, a trout fisherman might receive Fishbelly Gator Minnows, Maniac Cutter Bugs, and two PK Spoons.
Q: Do fishermen really pay attention to brands?
A: Fishermen can be like women with their accessories and handbags. Fishing is all about discovery, and anglers are always up for experimenting, whether it’s testing a new body of water or trying a new technique. The sport is also changing; in the last five years, women represent a quarter of all anglers in the country, and historically women spend more on hobbies than men.
Q: Tackle Grab uses social media, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other sites to reach potential members. But there’s the image of a fisherman as being a neo-Luddite Joe Six-Pack.
A: Fishing has been a very social sport, and now anglers are talking online about new baits or techniques as well as bragging about their big catch. A young demographic has come into the sport, with fishing making a bigger push into colleges and high schools; kids are joining fishing leagues and competing in tournaments. The stereotypes of the stogy fisherman is going the way of the dodo bird.
Q: Do fish really care about the type of tackle used?
A: Fish are very specific in their type of predation, depending on the time of year and body of water. For example, during pre-spawn, bass are starting to mate, and bluegills are known to raid the nest and eat the eggs, so if you use bluegill style bait, your success rate goes up. But it’s up to the angler to know what the fish are keying in on.
Q: What tips would you give to the beginner fisherman?
A: The most important thing to learn is basic technique – how to properly fish topwater, or on the water’s surface. Part of this knowledge is to fish a body of water thoroughly. Remember you can never fish too slow; don’t be afraid to take your time fishing. Spend as much time on the water.
Q: What lies ahead for anglers with climate change?
A: Climate change is a real issue. It’s there, and we are seeing it. More species are moving further north and bodies of water are drying out because of drought. I don’t know how this will affect angling, but in many regions, things are not going to be the same.
Q: What was the last fish that you caught?
A: I live on Cape Cod, and there’s great inshore saltwater fishing as well as freshwater ponds. The last fish I caught was angling off a beach in Barnstable – I caught a 20 pound striper using a AR lure.