Rapala VMS Corporation, a Finnish manufacturer of fishing lures, equipment and tools, has started the international rollout of a brand for recreational fishing called 13 Fishing. In July, Rapala acquired a total of 49 percent of the share capital of Clearwater, Florida-based DQC International Corp., which owns 13 Fishing. Prior to the acquisition, DQC was owned by majority owner James Coble, who started the brand in 2011, and minority shareholders Phil Feigh Chu and Yu-Wei Chang. In order to promote the growth of 13 Fishing both in the U.S. and international markets, Rapala injected $10 million in cash into the company. Rapala VMC also entered into an unlimited worldwide licensing and exclusive distribution agreement, excluding the United States.

During the brand’s inception, 13 Fishing recognized that ice anglers were overlooked by the industry and developed an entire program that redefined the sport of ice fishing. From there the brand’s popularity exploded as it expanded the same out-of-the-box thinking to other fisheries, most notably to the North American bass market. Now, through what is, according to the company, the widest distribution and marketing network in the industry, Rapala VMC Corporation takes 13 Fishing global to over 25 countries, accompanied by a new European website.

Rapala said that despite the extraordinary times, the recreational fishing industry has seen exceptional participation growth in 2020 in many markets as people rediscover or try new outdoor hobbies in wake of the global Covid-19 pandemic. “Fishing is not about the number of ball bearings or some fancy new reel coating that can’t be explained. It’s about getting out there and challenging yourself. Relying on your senses and giving it everything you’ve got,” said Jari Kokkonen, director of growth & innovations at Rapala.

Enrico Ravenni, Rapala’s executive vice president, explained that chain retail stores in Europe have been particularly eager to stock wide ranges of 13 Fishing, with good levels of pre-orders in some regions. Off the back of such a successful reception, Rapala intends to further accelerate its 13 Fishing international development initiatives in 2021 with a substantial rod range increase to an already extensive range, as well as doubling the spinning reel offering to meet soaring demand for the brand.

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