Looking through a catalog of fishing equipment, picking out the things you need, and then sending off an order can be an exciting way to shop for tackle. And the thrill of opening the package when it arrives is almost as good as Christmas. The items are usually priced low and you can find just about anything you want in a catalog.
What You Will Find in Mail-Order Catalogs
When you open a catalog you'll find just about any kind of fishing equipment available in many colors and sizes. Page after page of plugs, depth finders, trolling motors, and even boats are shown to their best advantage.
Tackle manufacturers buy pages in catalogs to display their products. Those willing to pay big bucks have several pages of items, but the smaller manufacturers can't afford this and their products may not be shown even if available. If there's an item you want to order but it's not shown, ask about it.
The Pros of Mail-Order Catalogs
Prices are good in mail-order catalogs. You can find just about anything you want and get it at some of the lowest prices around. It's fun going through a catalog and marking items you want and making a wish list. The marked catalog can be left for others to find when a birthday or Christmas is near.
Catalogs show good pictures of fishing tackle and you can usually choose from any color or style made by that particular manufacturer. Catalogs can contain merchandise from a huge number of companies and show more than just about any store could display. And they are convenient — you can look at them anytime you have a few minutes and do it in the comfort of your home.
In some cases, you also can save some money on sales tax when ordering by mail. If you order from another state, and the mail-order company doesn't have a store in your state, you don't have to pay sales tax on the items. This may mean a few pennies on a plug but on an expensive item like a trolling motor it can be significant.
The Cons of Mail-Order Catalogs
When ordering from a catalog it takes time to get what you want; you can't walk out of the store with it immediately. And you can't handle the items and test them; you can only look at them. There's no way to determine if an item is exactly what you want and no way to try it out beforehand.
Shipping and handling can get expensive on mail-order merchandise. This is especially true when you order a small number of items. When ordering a few plugs the shipping and handling can run the cost up higher than the marked prices at local stores.
Returning merchandise can be much more difficult when ordering by mail, too. Although some companies include a label to return the merchandise, you usually have to go to the post office and pay postage to send it back. And there's a delay between shipping the merchandise and getting credit for it, and if it gets lost in the mail you may be held responsible, unless you purchased insurance from the post office or paid for a return receipt.