With the very hot months behind us – and now that reports are again being posted on this site more regularly – effective November 1 our full-length “AHQ Insider” fishing reports will again be available only to readers who are customers of the Angler’s Headquarters tackle store. Readers who make any purchase in the store before November 1 will have access to the store until February 1, and all purchases made on or after November 1 will give readers access to the AHQ Insider reports for 3 months from the date of purchase. For more information see the below letter, which was originally posted in February of this year when we first instituted the new policy. Finally, please note that we have now signed on with an additional distributor and have access to a much more comprehensive selection of tackle for a variety of species (not just bass). If you don’t see something that you want in our store email email@example.com and we will do our best to get it.
This year will mark ten years that this site has been providing South Carolina fishing reports. When I first starting reporting on SC lakes and coastal areas in 2006 I was fascinated with fishing, fresh out of school, single and responsible only to myself, and had leisure time. The fishing reports I provided were free, and the only revenue came when people occasionally clicked on the ads on our site. And that was okay. I had time for hobbies, even if they weren’t profitable.
While my interest in fishing our lakes, rivers, and coast has remained, soon everything else changed (except the business model). I became happily married and had two young children who require support – and time! And eventually that meant our business model had to change.
Looking for a way to keep the reports going, approximately a year ago my wife and I started the Angler’s Headquarters fishing tackle store. We hoped that by selling fishing tackle I could justify spending my time researching and writing the reports. Our thinking was that since fishermen comfortable with the internet were coming to us for fishing news and reports, if we offered fishing tackle for sale many of them would buy it from us since they were already buying fishing tackle one place or another. By offering the lowest prices online we hoped that would make us attractive.
To a certain degree this has worked, but unfortunately it has not been successful to the extent I had hoped. From looking at our site data I can see that tons of people are still reading our reports and interest is growing (currently approaching a million sessions per year), but only a tiny, tiny fraction of them are buying tackle from us. I too am a creature of habit, and since we didn’t offer tackle for sale until recently I don’t blame people for continuing to read our reports but looking to Bass Pro, Tackle Warehouse or some other retailer – as they always have – when it comes time to buy something.
Unfortunately, though, that means our current business model isn’t sustainable, and with a family to support I have to make a change. One option would be to start charging for reports, but for a number of reasons I don’t want to do that. Fishing is a luxury, and I don’t want to ask anglers to pay even more to enjoy it. Instead, I’ve opted for a course that I hope won’t cost our readers a penny.
Effective March 1 I’ve decided to make a change to the way we provide reports. They will still be free, but in order to access them you will have to have make one purchase at the Angler’s Headquarters tackle store every three months. While we encourage fishermen to look to us for rods, reels, terminal tackle, lures and more, even if you only buy one pack of hooks from us every three months that will be enough to keep your “subscription” to our fishing reports active. The technical side of the change is still being worked out, but as of March 1 anyone who makes a purchase from our store between now and then will continue to have full access to the report site until June 1. For non-customers the content will not be available without a purchase. After March 1 each purchase from the Angler’s Headquarters store will give customers access to the reports for three months from the date of purchase. For example, if you buy a pack of Trick Worms from the store on March 23 you will have access to the reports until June 23 without any further purchase.
It’s possible to look at the new policy as a “fee”, but I don’t think it is. It’s hard to imagine that anyone reading our reports regularly isn’t spending some money on fishing tackle, and since we guarantee the lowest prices online giving us some (or all) of your business shouldn’t cost anglers a penny. If this causes people to try out our site who might have continued to shop at a higher priced retailer otherwise, then we may actually save them money.
Last, I want to leave you with a few points about our store:
First, we guarantee the lowest non-sale prices for fishing tackle online. Period.
Second, since we are located in South Carolina our shipping within the region is usually faster and cheaper than other online retailers.
Third, I believe you will find that our customer service is second to none. If you ever have a question email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 803-253-4084, and if there is a product you want to buy that we don’t currently offer let us know what it is and we’ll do our best to get it.
Thank you for your time reading this message.
Jay (and Meredith)