ShellBobbers are fishing bobbers made from spent shot-gun shells. Entrepreneurs and fishing buddies Jeff Stafford and Dusty Holloway pitch their Fishing Ammo brand in the Shark Tank in episode 422. Fishing Ammo is what the name of their business is, but ShellBobbers are the “flagship product.” The Fishing Ammo line also includes apparel, fishing rods, and a combo cooler/tackle box the guys have in development.
The Fishing Ammo website says they want to grow their brand for fishermen and hunters, but the ShellBobbers will most likely be the featured product in the pitch. Every fisherman has bobbers in his (or her) tackle box, so creating a bobber that is recycled should appeal to the fishing crowd. Folks who hunt and fish will like the appearance too; there's nothing that says hunter quite like a spent shot-gun shell!
Are ShellBobbers a viable product?
Anything that floats can be used as a fishing bobber. I've used corks, balloons, and even empty plastic water bottles as bobbers in a pinch – so why not shot-gun shells? If they float, they'll do the job. The shape of the ShellBobbers look like they'd fit into a tackle box a bit easier too, the ubiquitous round style bobbers sometimes don't fit into the compartments and find their way to the bottom of the box.
ShellBobbers are made in the USA from spent shell casings, so they're both green and patriotic! I'm always partial to businesses that manufacture in the USA, so that's one thing the Fishing Ammo guys ave going for them. This is a product I'd likely purchase when gearing up my tackle box for a new fishing season. Most of the fishing I do is in the ocean with bottom rigs and lures, but I use bobbers off docks and piers on occasion. I do go for fresh water fish when the opportunity presents itself and I use bobbers when fishing for brook or lake trout, so I always have a bunch in my box.
Will Fishing Ammo catch a Shark?
The Sharks will have some issues with this product. Other “outdoorsman” type of businesses haven't fared well in the past, but not because of the niche – it was due to valuation and other “issues.” Muddy Water Camo couldn't get together on the numbers earlier in season 4 and AirBedz didn't know how to sell their product. Maybe Jeff and Dusty can do a better job of valuing and selling their product.
There is a market for ShellBobbers and they'll probably sell a bunch of them just for the novelty of it. At less than 8 bucks for three bobbers, they won't break anyone's bank, either. The one objection I foresee the Sharks having is that ShellBobbers is the only unique product in the Fishing Ammo line right now. They can certainly sell a lot of tee shirts, but is that a business the Sharks want to be in? I'd like to know more about the cooler/tackle box because that sounds like a product a lot of fishermen would be interested in.
I can see Lori going for this, if she believes she can sell ShellBobbers on QVC. The fishing ammo guys have done well on fishing related shopping shows and it could translate to mass sales too (there are a lot of fishermen out there). I'm just not sure Lori is the fishing type. Daymond might be another good match, if he believes in the brand; he certainly knows how to sell tee-shirts.
I'm not sure if Fishing Ammo will get any solid offers, but I see a half a dozen ShellBobbers in my tackle box in the near future: fishing season is just getting under way in my neck of the woods (unless you count ice fishing – which I detest). Whether the Sharks do a deal or not, I am “IN!”