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Event Article

Here is to the next ten years...


Date: 12/31/09
Tackle type: All
Manufacturer: Many over the past 10 years
Reviewer: Zander

Letter from the Editor: It is hard to believe that ten years have gone by so quickly, what started out as nothing more than an hobby site has turned into a huge community of anglers from across the globe that share a passion for fishing and the tackle we employ in that pursuit.


Ten years ago I was spending every minute I could fishing for bass in Northern California Reservoirs, that Norman crankbait is still one of my favorites

The beginning: The real beginning of TackleTour started long before any html code was ever inputted, it started when JIP and I used to escape the monotony of inland living and head to the Northern California Coast to go fishing. We were in high school back then and from the very first surf perch I was hooked for life. Back then I was driving a 1978 Ford Fiesta and it was a harrowing adventure just to get over the hill, there were times when we had to push start that car just to get home. Mid year while making a U-turn the steering shaft snapped leaving me turning a free spinning steering wheel….bad times.


JIP and I hiked deep into backcountry fishing for trout back in the day


But like an unexplainable magnetic force we were constantly drawn to the ocean and it really didn’t matter if we caught anything, it was just a delight to be out fishing. I owned a whopping two spinning combos back then, one was a Shakespeare two piece rod that had half of the inserts missing, and the other was a Daiwa trout rod which I used for fishing everything from trout to stripers (the latter of which was a very bad idea).


We combined JIP's love for photography with my love for writing...


When JIP and I graduated from High School we both went on to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to pursue our majors. We took a break from fishing, as we got distracted by other time consuming activities including mountain biking, golf and let’s not forget dating. Still fishing was never far from our minds.


...toss in my sweet ride and we were in business


The Site is Born: Fast forward a few years later to the year 2000, and by now I was focused almost completely on my new favorite species... largemouth bass. It was in September when I was sitting in front of my computer desperately searching for information to compare products and other than manufacturer pages there really wasn’t a whole lot of information that I found that explored the tackle in as much depth as I desired. Most of what I read was nothing more than straight regurgitation of press releases. I wanted experiences focusing on the tackle just as much as the fishing techniques themselves.


In the Fall of 2000 we started coding the site and populated it with a number of reviews that I'm embarrassed to read when I look back


It took about a week for me to begin writing about the tackle I was fishing at the time starting with my go to plastic, the Yamamoto Hula Grub, and a few weeks after that to put together a structure for a site where I could share that information with others who might have an interest. I never wanted to tell people what to buy, just to share data and experiences so they had more information to make their own decisions if the product made sense for their unique applications. We didn’t get much traffic for the first two years, but I enjoyed buying tackle and writing about it, and as time went on we further defined our testing methodologies.


JIP quickly gravitated towards saltwater fishing


In the second year I started to get serious about trying to get more information about the tackle before it was released. Manufacturers for the most part ignored us so I decided to drive to Las Vegas after work and attend a tackle show I had heard so much about….ICAST.


Two years into the site I made my first trip to ICAST


I dragged my wife along to help keep me awake during the eight hour trek and while she caught up on some sleep I went to the Las Vegas Convention Center and found that I didn’t qualify as accredited press. I didn’t work for a printed publication after all and trying to explain that I owned an online tackle review site wasn't going anywhere. I went to the business center and printed out a few articles I had written and came back to registration where I was finally let into the show.


Four years in Cal joined us...


I was like a kid in a candy store, here I was presented with tackle months before they would actually be released. It was an absolute dream come true, until it became a nightmare of sorts. There were a few supportive manufacturers but most banned me from taking pictures, some spent more time ushering me out of their booths than talking to me. I heard “Who are you?” I’ve never heard of TackleTour.” a lot that day.


...with his first review, the Purple Powerhouse... the Daiwa Alphas


I’ll never forget one Tier 1 reel manufacturer which pulled me aside and issued a stern warning that I wasn’t allowed to take pictures of their booth or products and made me delete all my images one by one. They literally stood over me making sure I had nothing on my 2.4 megapixel camera. It was quite an experience. Though I left that show with very little content I was filled with determination. These days a show like ICAST can fill 80 plus pages of content, that day I wrote three, suffice to say it was a long drive home.


We've met some great people along the way


That year I bought more tackle and wrote more than I ever have before, and JIP started the forum on the site so we could have a back and forth dialogue with our readers. By year’s end traffic had quadrupled, something had changed….it was you. You, our readers, came out in full force. Not only were we receiving article requests daily, the support from readers from all over the world was nothing short of inspiring.


Both JIP and I went to school at Cal Poly with Rich Zielenga, founder of Tackle Warehouse, and we hooked up with Rich at El Salto and have been working together ever since. Rich is hands down one of the best guys in the industry.


Over the next two years we continued to grow over 100% year on year as more and more readers came to the site. We had another surge when we brought a passionate new editor into the fold, you know him as the “dark lord,” our Enthusiast Editor Cal. A frequent contributor on our forum he brought a unique perspective (or sickness if you want to call it that) centered around enthusiast class JDM tackle starting with his first review of the “Purple Powerhouse,” the Daiwa Alphas.


A year ago Tom Leogrande joined the team, not only does he also run Monster Fishing Tackle but is a kicka$$ angler on Clear Lake 


Cal added a thrilling new element to the site and built up a community of die hard enthusiasts in the process. Cal started out as member on our forum, moved on to become a full time editor and I now call him a good friend.


One of the most respected outdoor writers in the business is our friend and Contributing Editor Terri Battisti with Pro Angler Gary Dobyns at Lake Pardee


Along the way we have made a lot of friends including our readers, professional anglers, forum moderators and some really great people in the industry itself.


Jonah Li of Hi's Tackle Box in San Francisco showed me a lot of things I didn't know on Clear Lake earlier this year


Today I can honestly say that TackleTour is more than I ever thought it would be. It is a place for everyone who loves to fish, anglers that want to seek out information and a home for self proclaimed tackle junkies like us.


From all of us at TackleTour, thank you... our readers, and here is to the next ten years!


These days I like writing just as much as I enjoy testing tackle and fishing (okay almost as much), and I’m thankful that there are those of you that still want to read what we write. TackleTour simply would not and could not exist today if it were not for the most important ingredient of all…. and that is you, our dedicated readers. So as we move into this New Year, here is to all of you, the heart and soul of TackleTour. Thank you all for joining us for the ride thus far, we look forward to the exciting journey that that will be the next decade. Bring on the Search for One!









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