Rod Building Demographics part 3

Yesterday I listed the state by state subscription numbers for RodMaker Magazine. They tell an interesting story, but not the whole story. Differences in geographic size have a great deal to do with how many rod builders you can expect to find in any particular state, not to mention the overall population of each state.

To get a better picture of how rod builders are spread around the Country, let’s combine the states into 6 major geographic areas. Although you could easily rearrange the way I’ve chosen to combine the various states, unless you did so in a very radical fashion the numbers wouldn’t change by much.

As you look over the map, carefully consider the land to water ratio of each area.  Are there opportunities for both fresh and saltwater fishing? Do both cold and warmwater fisheries exist in that area?  Once you do this you’ll begin to understand why the numbers exist as they do.

*These numbers represent RodMaker subscribers. They do not represent the total number of rod builders in the U.S. However, when viewed in context they provide a representative picture of the distribution of rod builders across the Nation.

Northeast – The density of rod builders is greatest here. And with good reason – this is still the area where most of the U.S. population lives. There are myriad fishing opportunities for both warm and coldwater fish and both fresh and saltwater waterways. More fishermen generally means more rod builders. Only the cold winters stop this area from harboring even more rod builders than it already does.

Southeast – The southeast offers the greatest variety of fishing opportunities anywhere in the Country. Huge expanses of both fresh and saltwater, cold and warmwater fisheries exist. Outside of perhaps the Western NC/Eastern TN High Country, fishing is a year-round activity throughout the region. Note the coastline stretching from Virginia down to and around Florida and then back along the Gulf of Mexico. The North and South Atlantic Bights meet just offshore from Cape Hatteras, NC.  This means that nearly any fish that swims, from the Arctic to the Equator, can be caught along the VA/NC coast.  More fishing opportunities, equal more fishermen, equals more rod builders.

Upper Midwest – The area’s major lakes and rivers provide tremendous fishing opportunities. Much of the area is densely populated. The Great Lakes account for one of the largest fisheries in North America and certainly is one reason why so many fishermen, and therefore so many rod builders, reside in this general area. More than most probably imagine.

Lower Midwest – Texas is the real story here. The large population of east Texas combined with the Gulf Coast compensates for fewer fishermen and rod builders just to the north. This is also another instance where having both fresh and saltwater fishing opportunities tends to create more fishermen, and therefore more rod builders.

Northwest – The bulk of the builders here are concentrated on the Pacific Shore, or fairly close to it.  The combination of both fresh and saltwater makes this a fishing paradise. If it were not for the overall low population density of this region, the area would boast a lot more fishermen and rod builders.

Southwest – This area is land rich and water poor. Almost 2/3rds of the total number of rod builders in this region live in California, and over 1/2 of those live in Southern California. No surprise – California boasts both fresh and saltwater fisheries and has one of the largest populations of the entire 50 States.  Although the region is huge, most of the rod builders here are located within a comparatively small area.

When you carefully consider the distribution of rod builders you can begin to get a better idea of where rod building related advertising, events and opportunities are likely to be stronger or weaker. Is it any wonder that the ICRBE is able to draw so well?  It’s general location is within a single day’s drive of a greater number of rod builders than any other location.

Consider the type fishing done in each region and you get a picture of the most popular types of rod blanks and components.  Think about the time of year and related weather and you get a seasonal picture of where the rod builders are likely to be fishing, and where they’re hunkered down and building rods.

Good stuff and fun to think about. And if you’re in the business, it’s imperative to understand it.

Tom Kirkman

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