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Posted on Aug 29, 2008 in Top Shots
Beware Impostors

"Top warning! ... we just find out that there are some people in S.E Asia copying our products and trying to sell in the market without go through our authorized agency."

Granted, the king's English may not be perfect, but the gist of this email i found the other day in my inbox, from a Japanese tackle manufacturer, offers a reminder of what has become something of an epidemic in the tackle industry - as has long been the case in many industries where consumer goods are the end product.

Thus, a manufacturer may invest big bucks into R&D for a lure or reel, only to have a much cheaper knockoff flood the market. These may be very difficult to tell from the real thing and could be made anywhere -most, of course, from overseas and often from China.

For example, in the case noted above, the "project development head office" of Patriot Design Japan Ltd., writes that "The fake copied products so far we found are, The BLAST EDGE and The CYBER EDGE, both are Lures(Jigs),they even copied the model type, and the names of products exactly."

Dealing with knockoffs has become a real challenge for a big segment of our (recreational-fishing) industry. Trade laws seem fairly ineffective, especially when dealing with shady international sources of counterfeiters.

So what? you might wonder. Why shouldn't I take advantage of a nice-looking metal jig or a reel that looks as good as the "real thing" for a fraction of the name-brand price?

One reason, for those civic-minded enough to care, is that at best, much less is accrued in tax dollars on such stuff, tax dollars that generate big federal and/or state dollars for fishery resource preservation and enhancement. And while on the civic-minded thing, bear in mind the investment bonafide manufacturers (vs. counterfeiters) often make to develop a product - reasonably expecting a return on that investment (and thereby encouraged to develop more newer/better gear for us).

The other consideration goes back to the more self-serving "you-get-what-you-pay-for" adage. That is, a cheap jig may look nice enough - until the cheap split ring (or hook) straightens out with the first big fish you lose, or the cool-looking finish flakes off after a use or two. Or the reel that looks like the "real thing" proves to have a drag that refuses to operate smoothly (another big fish lost) or a handle that snaps under pressure, and so on. Exacerbating the problem: Often this stuff is purchased online where indeed looks count for everything since there's no chance to pick up and feel a product.

If you'd rather avoid buying counterfeit tackle, you can generally do so by purchasing from large, well-known, reputable tackle dealers either online, or at tackle shops, which generally stand by their gear (so can't afford to be selling knockoffs of high-quality equipment), or in many cases directly from the manufacturer. If you buy from unknown sources online, well, you get what you get. And if what you get sucks, you may find that recourse in this lifetime is not going to happen.

So as in all things, you pays your money and takes your chances. For my part, I think I'll stick to the real thing when I buy tackle and related gear; the amount paid will be more - but those "chances" that I take will be relatively small. Heck, I have enough problem trying to catch big fish, even with good gear; I don't need to handicap myself with counterfeit junk! -Doug Olander, Sport Fishing magazine