We sat down with RJ Boyle to talk about his shop in South Florida and what makes it so different from many others.
Q:Where is your shop located?
A:We are located at 5040 North Federal Highway, Lighthouse Point, Florida. We have settled in to our 3,500 square foot location with our 1,500 square foot rod wrapping location next door.
Q:When did the shop open?
A:We opened our store in 2004.
Q:Tell us about how your business got started.
A:I never had the intent of opening a tackle store. It just seemed to happen. I had no money to really start a business. I was charter fishing locally and doing art shows with my mom several weekends a month. During the week I had to store my paintings so I rented a small warehouse bay. My friends began to hang out at this little shop where I would give art lessons and a friend suggested selling tackle. I had many friends in the fishing business as I had traveled extensively as a deckhand. I decided to put in some inventory and was given soft terms (90 days to pay) due to having a good reputation as a person. Things began to sell and as they sold I paid for them. I would figure out my profits on the sold items and buy additional inventory. We built our store inventory on items that were proven sellers. We carried no speculative inventory, as we had no extra money. Over the 12 years we have built quite a store filled with quality inventory. Our customers have become loyal, as we have strived to give the best service and knowledge in the industry. We pride ourselves on giving back as I feel all service businesses should.
It has been quite a ride so far and the best is yet to come.
Q:How has the shop evolved?
A:The shop launched during the recreational swordfish boom. The beginning days were filled with the rigging of squid and the filling of big game reels for night sword fishing. We then grew a marlin lure business (before dredges) carrying lures from all over the world. We rigged lures for boats fishing tournaments mostly in the Bahamas. Little by little we added the necessary terminal tackle to accompany all types of big game fishing. As methods of fishing have changed so has our inventory. Spooling braided lines, wrapping custom rods, selling daytime swordfish tackle and rigging cutting edge custom baits has become the norm on a daily basis now in our shop. We have changed with the times and offer exactly what you need to be successful in the big game arena.
Q:What types of fishing and outdoor activities do you focus on?
A:Our focus is in educating our customer. We have a subscription platform that covers the details on all aspects of big game fishing. We have over 50 films (some over 3 hours) that do nothing but teach technique and thought process with passion. We want our customer to excel as fishermen. The old saying that a bad day fishing is better then a good day at work does not apply here. We want to catch fish not ride around!!! You can join RJ’s Crew @ rjboylestudio.com
Q:Where do you see it going in future?
A:First, tackle will continue to change as regulation changes. The closure of areas and specific circle hook mandates will force us to become better fishermen. An example of this was the circle hook entry into the billfish divisions in tournaments. We never thought circle hooks would work. Boy were we wrong…
Secondly, select fishermen will create new fisheries. Fishermen that think outside the box will yield new techniques. Look at the Stanczyk family in the Keys with the reintroduction of modern day sword fishing. For years all we did was fish at night.
Times have changed and will continue to do so with new pioneers.
Q:Do you see more or less anglers participating in the sport?
A:I can honestly say that we see less anglers now than we did 8 years ago. The recession in 2008 changed the lives of many Americans. Families were forced to sell boats and with that came less young anglers. These kids simply did not grow up on boats for a five-year period so we have a gap in the growth of fishing. The kids found other avenues of entertainment. I believe that our industry is still recovering from the recession. If our economy grows then and only then will you see growth in the fishing industry. I hope it happens. Though it may seem large from afar the big game fishing community is very small. On a positive note social media is proving to be a powerful plus for fishing as our modern day kids are viewing the successes of fishing on a minute-by-minute basis. This media presence may be the exact thing our industry needs.
Q:Do you sell saltwater, freshwater tackle or both?
A:We sell saltwater gear specifically.
Q:Could explain some services you offer in addition to your retail products?
A:We put on 3-5 swordfish tournaments per year. We host 2 meat fish tournaments per year. We have several hands on seminars in the store. We have Bible study in our shop weekly on Tuesday nights. We put together monthly fishing outings with special needs children (Mission Fishin).
Q:What unusual item sells the most?
A:Hand painted swordfish bills and custom rigged swordfish baits would definitely be the most unusual items sold on a daily basis.
Q:Do you sell bait?
A:One of our strongholds is bait. We sell custom wahoo, billfish and swordfish baits. We also carry the best quality ballyhoo, chum and cut baits.
Q:What is the craziest thing that has ever happened in the shop?
A:Craziest bad things…
In my second shop we had thieves break into the store beside us and cut a large hole in the wall. Then made off with over 100 rods and reels.
We had a guy break through the front window and steal the register but nothing else.. We had no $ in the register.
We pride ourselves in having a cool store with many mounts for display. One customer bought no tackle, bait or clothing but he did rent a truck and bought over 20,000 in my fish mounts. Its all for sale I guess.
Q:What is your prediction for next year’s fishing season?
A:I predict that sword fishing will continue to grow worldwide in areas that you would never expect. California swords will take off! Highly migratory species will continue to move in and out of areas causing people to question populations. Everything is cyclical!
Q:Is there anything else you would like the BD audience to know about your shop?
A:We love our customers. We will continue to entertain and inform those who visit our store. Just remember…nobody was born knowing how to fish.
Lets enjoy this world that God has given us and rejoice in the coolness of fishing to bring us together.