INDUSTRY NEWS: November 2016


Bass Pro Shops acquires Cabela’s for $5.5 billion

October 4th, 2016

Fishing and hunting equipment chain Bass Pro Shops agreed to buy rival chain Cabela’s for $5.5 billion.

The agreement will help the privately held company to nearly double its store count in North America. The combined company will own 184 stores in the United States and Canada.

It was not immediately clear whether the acquisition would result in any store closings, but the companies said in a statement that Springfield, Mo.-based Bass Pro Shops will “celebrate and grow” the Cabela’s brand, according to USA Today.

Long known for large-format destination stores, Cabela’s has lost ground to smaller, nimbler competitors and online retailers. Sales at stores open at least a year fell 1.3 percent in the first half of this year, compared with a year earlier, according to a securities filing.
The number of purchases at Cabela’s stores fell 8.1 percent during that period, reflecting a drop-off in foot traffic as customers bought less clothing and footwear from the retailer, although hunting sales increased and average revenue per transaction rose 8.2 percent.

The deal marks a dramatic expansion of the outdoor retailing empire controlled by Bass Pro Shops CEO Johnny Morris, who founded the company in 1972. The billionaire will lead the newly combined entity as CEO and will retain majority ownership.

Bass Pro Shops has about 99 stores and 20,000 employees. Cabela’s has about 85 stores and had about 19,700 employees at the end of 2015, according to a securities filing.

Cabela’s credit card division held by the subsidiary, World’s Foremost Bank based in Lincoln, Neb, sold its $ 5.2 billion in receivables to Capital One Financial Corporation which will now mange the cards and work towards converting users to the Bass Pro Shops brand.

B.A.S.S. to allow 10-foot rods in 2017

Birmingham, Ala.
The 40-year-old rule, rule C8, that has limited Bassmaster tournament competitors to rods that were 8 feet or shorter will be changed for 2017, allowing competitors to use rods as long as 10 feet.

The new rule will apply to all B.A.S.S. trails, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens and all B.A.S.S. Nation and youth events.

Restrictions on rod length began in the west, and they were the catalyst for the development of the popular and effective flippin technique. Dee Thomas of California, the ‘Father of Flippin’ began winning tournaments in the state by ‘dipping’ jigs in stands of tules with a 14 foot surf casting rod. When competitors complained, Thomas developed the flipping presentation, which delivered the lures to the same spots with a 7 ½ foot rod.

The 8 foot maximum was added to B.A.S.S. rules by B.A.S.S. founder Ray Scott and Tournament Director Harold Sharp in 1976. Back then, competitors were paired by random draw and took turns controlling the boat. There were no pro anglers and co-anglers; everyone was fishing for the same prize, two to a boat.

Scott and Sharp believed a rod longer than 8 feet gave the angler operating the boat a distinct advantage over the other.

Today’s Elite Series events pair one angler with a marshal or cameraman who is not fishing. Open tournaments involve a pro angler or ‘boater’ who is fishing for a larger prize and the co-angler or ‘non-boater’ who is restricted to the back of the boat.

An article in the September 2016 B.A.S.S. Times Magazine, written well before the rule change was formally proposed, noted that some tournament circuits in the western U.S. began allowing longer rods years ago to accommodate the growing popularity of large, heavy swimbaits. Elite Series anglers also like longer fishing rods for smallmouth bass techniques, including the float-and-fly method which is impractical with a rod shorter than 9 or 10 feet.

The float-and-fly technique involves using a 1/8 to 1/16 ounce jig suspended 10 feet or more beneath a plastic bobber on line as light as 4-pound test, and it is particularly popular on smallmouth fisheries during the cold winter months. That means it could come into play early as the Bassmaster Elite Series begins its 2017 regular season on Tennessee’s Cherokee Lake, Feb 9-12.

Smithsonian Water/Ways Exhibit Coming to Okeechobee

In partnership with the Florida Humanities Council, Okeechobee Public Library, Okeechobee Main Street and Okeechobee Tourist Development Council the Smithsonian Water/Ways Exhibit will be available for public viewing from December 17, 2016 through January 28, 2017.

The Smithsonian Water/Ways Exhibit is designed to illustrate the importance of water as a critical component of life on our planet. Come and discover the central nature of water in our lives by exploring how we use water, how water unites communities and affects every element of life, including culture, climate, health, economics, politics, agriculture, transportation, industry, landscape, settlement, migration and even spirituality.

As part of the Okeechobee exhibit, artwork from famed marine wildlife artist and conservationist Guy Harvey will also be on display.

The exhibit will be at the Okeechobee County Historical Courthouse located at 304 NE 2nd Street, Okeechobee, FL.