Sunday, October 21, 2012

Touchscreen Graphs



It was only a natural progression before bass fisherman had touchscreen electronics.  Lowrance announced that they will be releasing the HDS Gen2 touchscreen over the next few months.  The new touchscreen HDS units will come in three sizes; HDS 7, HDS 9 and the new larger model the HDS 12.  All three models are Gen2 units which feature sonar overlay on your map of the lake (you can read more about Gen2 units).

Like I stated before it’s the natural progression of things.  Bigger bass= larger baits.  Heavier baits= bigger badder rods.  Touchscreen everything we use= touchscreen graphs.  It makes sense to me to be honest.  I don’t know how many times I have sat at the drivers console looking at my HDS and gone to track back or zoom out of the map screen and tried doing it by touching the screen.  I must have thought that the same functions from my phone would translate on to my graph, it didn’t but now it will.

I think it is a cool idea; my issue with it is that Lowrance just released the HDS Gen2 units this year.  Now they are releasing an even newer version of the Gen2 units with touchscreen.  This is a problem for me, it seems like Lowrance has just pulled the bait and switch on its customers.  I would be even more annoyed if I had run out and gotten the Gen2 units only now to see that the touchscreen versions are coming to market. 

Wouldn’t it have looked better if Lowrance had just introduced the Gen2 units with the touchscreen option all at once?  Sure this way all the diehard Lowrance guys out there bought the Gen2 units and spent the cash.  Now they will spend more money and get the touchscreens.  Lowrance wins, they get sales twice.  It’s a business I understand that, but it just feels dirty.  I can honestly say I am glad I didn’t have the cash to run out and buy the Gen2 units when they came out. 

I am not saying they are not cool.  I love the idea.  I like the fact that you can navigate the functions and screens with the touch of your finger.  The units are not cheap they range from $1549 to $3249.  I just hope if you buy these new touch screen units Lowrance does not come out with something better a few months later.      


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Less Content More Ads


Every month I wait patiently for my mail carrier to bring the latest issues of the bass magazines I read.  Over the last few months I have noticed a trend that has started to bother me.  It feels like more and more I am being delivered a magazine of ads as opposed to articles about bass fishing. 


Let me explain what I mean; the October issue of FLW Bass has 144 pages.  Of those 144; 53 of the pages are full page ads.  That is over 1/3 of the magazine.  Then add 9 more pages that have a 1/4 or more of the page covered in an ad.  That would make 62 pages of ads.  Almost half of the magazine is ads.  Then add in the 2 articles that are basically pushing products on you (8 more pages). You have 70 pages, 72 pages would be half of the magazine.  Oh did I mention the last page (back cover) is a full page ad as well, but aren’t they all on every magazine on the market.  Add in all of the pictures of anglers sporting the logos and there is more advertising in the latest issue of FLW than on a 30 minute TV show.
 
 
I decided I should go back and look a little more at other FLW issues.  I found even more ads in a smaller issue.  In the August-September issue there was 133 pages.  Of those 133 pages 57 of them were full page ads.  13 pages had more than 1/4 of the page covered in ads.  70 pages of ads, over 50% of the August-September FLW Bass issue were ads.



I am not trying to single out FLW but it was in their magazine that I noticed it.  So I figured I needed to look at Bassmaster as well.  In their September-October issue there were 81 pages.  Of those 81 pages 26 were full page ads.  13 more pages had 1/4 or more of the page covered in ads.  39 pages of ads, almost 50% of the issue were ads. 


I wanted to look at one other bass fishing magazine to compare their ads to Bassmaster and FLW.  One of my favorite bass fishing magazines is Bass Angler Magazine (BAM) which has 4 issues a year.  The fall issue had 96 pages.  12 of those were full page ads and 8 were 1/4 or more page ads.  Less than 20% of the magazine is ads. 


I just threw a lot of numbers out there, but if you have these issues of Bassmaster, FLW and BAM I encourage you to have a look for yourself.  Flip through the magazines and count all the ads.  Don’t get me wrong I understand it is the nature of the beast, subscriptions equal how much they can charge for ad space which in turn means more ads, more readers more ads more money.
 

Yes, you have to sell ad space to make money.  Bass fishing websites are no different.  Look to your right of what you are reading.  Ads, logos to help promote my sponsors, those companies that were willing to take a chance on me. 

 
Go to Wired2fish.com (after your done reading this) or any other major bass fishing website, heck just fishing websites for that matter, and what do you see, ads lots of them.  Shinny logos as far as the eye can see.  Lures, boats, rods and reels galore line page after page of fishing websites.
 

The fishing world is different than the rest of the magazines on the market I understand that.  When you read Time magazine and they do an article on say Mitt Romney it’s not going to sound the same as say an article in Bassmaster about football head jig fishing.  The article on Romney would not include Mitt pushing the newest product from his sponsor.  The article in Bassmaster would sound more like this.
 

When fishing an Atomic Tackle Company 1/2oz football jig, I look at the water clarity temp and season we are fishing.  I like to dress my jig with a Nemesis Bullet Craw in a color that matches my jig.  I spool on 12lb Vicious fluorocarbon for feel.  I use an Abu Garcia Revo paired with a 7ft medium heavy Catoctin Creek Custom rod.  I make sure to dip all of my plastics in JJ’s Magic garlic dipping sauce before offering them to the bass for that little extra kick they need to hold on to that Nemesis Bullet Craw so I can get a good hook set.
 

In that one paragraph alone I dropped 7 references to different companies.  Sure when KVD does it in Bassmaster they don’t get to go well, let’s see Strike King was mentioned 23 times and Quantum had 15 name drops so times that by 5 and that’s what we get to charge them for the article.  I get it, companies get lots of exposure without paying for it in bass fishing magazines and websites so they have to make up for it in the number of advertisements in the magazine or on the website.




I bring all of this up to get to the real point.  If every post I did on my blog was like this one with ads plastered all over it no one would read it.  I doubt you have made it this far.  If you have congrats; thanks for sticking with me.  Is the content that FLW, Bassmaster, Bass’in etc. really worth dealing with all the ads we have to look at?
 


Personally, I don’t think so anymore.  It is beginning to feel like the big boys in fishing magazines are basically repackaging articles.  If it is not repackaged; rewritten or even the same article with a different pro (day on the water), the content seems weak.  It seems more and more the articles are the 10 lures you need in your tackle box, or the 6 new reels.  The articles seem more like advertising; they are pictures with a short little blurb about the product.  I am in no way saying my content is any better.  However, at least after this crazy post I won’t be bombarding you with tons of ads per post.

 

Don’t get me wrong I understand Bassmaster and FLW have photographers and writers they have to pay.  Along with editors, Pro’s (blogs on the Bassmaster website) designers etc.  I believe they should be paid and given a salary on which they can live.  My real issue is if they are being paid to write articles shouldn’t the articles, and the whole magazine for that matter have real content?  Shouldn’t those of us paying to read it learn something from what we are reading?  Let me step back I am not saying every article has bad content and you can’t learn from them.  The puff pieces the ones with the pictures and a little blurb about the lure, is that really an article or is it just another way to sell ad space without the reader really knowing.
 


Bass Times were running articles from pros on the Berkley pro staff talking about how to fish HAVOC lures.  Yes the articles were full of content but in the corner it said special advertisement from Berkley.  If Bassmaster and FLW want to run those pieces highlighting products give us something with it, a review of the product what was good or bad about it.  Don’t just tell us who makes it, how much it cost and the website for the manufacture. 

 

So I am wondering, what are your thoughts about the number of ads in the magazines?  Do you think there are too many?  How do you feel about the content?  I want to hear from you.