THREE keen anglers have developed a new product to link hook and line they believe will revolutionise the sport and create hundreds of jobs in Northumberland.
The founders of Lynx Fishing have raised more than £1m to launch their rig link and a factory which will open next week in Alnwick with the capacity to turn out two million of them a year.
Andy Petherick, Alan Yates and Iain McGeary, who all have years of experience in the fishing tackle industry, have raised worldwide interest in the product which they say also has potential uses in the marine industry and the medical sector.
McGeary said: “This will revolutionise the fishing industry. So many fisherman lose their catch because the knots which hold their rig (hooks, swivels, weights etc) come undone or the line breaks. This product keeps the line 100% strong.
“Keeping your line from breaking is the holy grail of fishing.”
They launched the company in 2009 after chief executive Petherick was particularly plagued with the problem.
“Andy came up with the original idea. He was out fishing for eels in New Zealand and, as eels are quite aggressive and he hasn’t the best eyesight, he was finding it quite hard to tie the knots,” said McGeary.
“With our product, the line links straight to the rig through an alloy tube with no need for knots.”
The founders have put their patented “Precision Compression Technology” through tests with Oxford University scientists but will not reveal exactly how it works.
The product has been well received by the angling press and the firm says it has had enquiries from distributors worldwide. Lynx is confident of signing big contracts at the EFTTEX trade fair in Paris in June.
Its advertising quotes Richard Lee, editor of Angling Times, saying: “Every now and again you see something that has the potential to impact on the way we fish, but it is rare to find a product with such true global relevance.”
Petherick said: “We have had retailers calling it ingenious, the most innovative product in angling for years and a concept that will revolutionise the way we fish.
“If the reaction from the UK trade is any indication, we are expecting demand to outstrip capacity.”
The company has been working with an 11-strong management team and expects to recruit 40 manufacturing staff at a job fair in Alnwick on Thursday.
McGeary added: “We believe we will be working to capacity very quickly with strong interest from across Europe. But we launch in the US next year and we expect the workforce to go up to more than a hundred. It will possibly be hundreds quite soon. And unlike nearly all rigs, it will not be made in the Far East but in Alnwick.”
The company is moving into the former Alnmaritec building on Willowburn Industrial Estate, taking over 6,000 sq ft of office space and 11,500 sq ft of manufacturing space, with the option of taking on another 20,500 sq ft.
Investment has come from the Business Investors Group and the North East Technology Fund as well as private investors in the region.
The expansion has been welcomed in Northumberland and the firm has been working with the county council and has had wide support in the community.
The Duke of Northumberland said: “I am fully supportive of Lynx Fishing and its focus on local regeneration. Job creation is something that I actively encourage.”