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Interview & Event Article:

Talking Monster Tackle with Outdoor Pro Shop

Date: 9/22/08
Location: Rohnert Park, CA
Event Date: 9/21/08
Reviewer: Zander & Cal

Introduction: In between field tests and industry events we enjoy visiting retailers and e-tailers to find out more about their unique businesses, and this week we did both in a single trip as we traveled to Outdoor Pro Shop near the heart of Northern California wine country to learn more about the Outdoor Pro Shop retail store and their new online store MonsterBassTackle.com.


The Outdoor Pro Shop was started in Rohnert Park, CA by Ken Elie


We met the team from Outdoor Pro Shop at McCarran Airport on the way back from the recent ICAST show in Las Vegas where Ken Elie, the founder of Outdoor Pro Shop told us about his recent fishing adventures in Alaska and Mexico, and only after describing his most recent Salmon and Halibut trip did he tell us about his retail store which is located in Rohnert Park, which is about two hours north of TT headquarters. Ken also told us about the company's fast growing online e-tail store monsterbasstackle.com of which Tom Leogrande, one of our own contributing editors is a web developer for. We decided to visit the retail store and learn more about Ken's operation and see what is coming from the new e-tail site.


We crossed the Golden Gate to travel North to the OPS Rohnert Park location


Zander and Cal head up to Rohnert Park across the Golden Gate bridge to see firsthand what the Outdoor pro Shop had to offer. We were met by Pat Elie, Ken's son, who is heavily involved in the business. The best way to describe the store is a combination of tackle and specialists, there is a separate section dedicated to bass, another for steelhead, one for saltwater and long range, and another section just for fly fishing. After Pat gave us the grand tour of the shop we sat down with him to learn exactly what makes OPS unique, and what the team had in store for anglers with Monster.



Zander: Thanks for inviting us over to the store Pat, let's start with the history of OPS. How did you first get into the tackle Business?

Pat: "My father Ken Elie, the owner of Outdoor Pro Shop, has a diverse background in business working 10 years in corporate banking and 10 years as owner of a large textile manufacturing company.  In 1990 he sold the textile company and spent almost 2 years in retirement at a young age, but boredom overcame him and thus concept for Outdoor Pro Shop was hatched.  Ken decided if he was going to work 7 days a week it would be doing something he loved." 

OPS stocks a ton of reels for all types of fishing, a number of which are from more obscure brands outside of the big brands just to offer consumers more choices


"When OPS first opened there were a handful of scattered tackle stores around Sonoma and Marin County but nothing that compared in tackle selection and size of what Outdoor Pro Shop was attempting to bring to market.  What Ken envisioned for his tackle store had not been done to the scale that he attempted.  Outdoor Pro Shop first opened in April of 1994 in a 5000 sq/ft space located in Rohnert Park.  After many years of hard work, we have expanded our store to over 7000 sq/f and opened a second store in Oakland.  We now stock everything you need to fish from Baja to Alaska." 


A look at the baitcaster case

Zander: I'm always interested to find out if those in the tackle business are actually fishermen. Do you and your team personally fish, and if you do what type of fishing do you prefer?

Pat: "Everyone in our company fishes, if you don’t enjoy fishing this will not be the job for you.  All we do is talk fishing all day long; sometimes having the same conversation with different guys for days on end.  If you don’t love it you could not do it every day.  Our staff is composed of a lot of different types of anglers. We’ve got fly, saltwater, steelhead, salmon, bass tournament anglers all working in the shop. So we each have some expertise in many different types of fishing." 

The store had a massive wall of line choices and five spooling stations


"This works well because even though we are currently a bass only website in our stores we cover all species from Baja to Alaska.  Ken, the owner, is one of the best all around anglers with a strong emphasis on salt water fishing.  Ken has had the good fortune to catch world class fish in almost every species you can think of. (i.e. 375lb Yellow-fin. ) It is almost impossible for one person to fish for every species all over the world so we like to have our employees be the experts in different areas of fishing." 


Pat spools up a new reel...


Zander: Can you comment on how the tackle industry has changed over the years?

Pat: "The tackle industry has expanded the technical aspects of fishing.  Long gone are the days of a bobber and salmon eggs and sitting on the bank waiting for a fish.  Anglers now want more ball bearings, spectra lines, fluorocarbon leaders, ghost crank baits….  Everything we come to expect from our lures and gear today was almost none existent just 10 years ago." 

...which happens to be the new Shimano Citica E


"Everyday in our stores, (the main reason for our success) our employees are explaining every little part of the fishing experience.  Concepts like a fast action rod, reduced line twist reels, castable lever drag reels, must be shown and explained to each customer that comes in the door.  Think about 10 years ago, could  you have imaged a $400.00 bass rod?  I recall us deciding if we could sell $139.99 St Croix rod.  Those days are long gone.  So today we must have the latest and greatest and know how to use it."


Cal checks out the stock room in the back, the store holds inventory for both the retail store and Monsterbasstackle.com here so that they can ship the same day they are ordered


Next Section: What about Monster?









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