Nelson inventor's sinkerlock goes down a treat

BILL MOORE
Last updated 09:26 23/12/2013
Donald Mackay
ALDEN WILLIAMS/FAIRFAX NZ
HOOK, LINE AND SINKER: Inventor of the Sinkerlock, Darren Hodgson.

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A smack in the head with a flying sinker on his boat was what it took to bring about a "eureka moment" for Nelson man Darren Hodgson.

Nine months later he's launched his invention, Sinkerlock - and first indications are that he's found a hole in the recreational fishing market that was just waiting to be filled.

Mr Hodgson took examples of his first batch to the Motueka A & P Show's fishing expo and was thrilled by the reaction, more so because one of his earliest customers was TV fishing guru Geoff Thomas of Rheem Outdoors with Geoff.

"He said it was just what he needed, left with a couple, and it's been a little bit mental since then."

Little more than a week later his Sinkerlocks are already being sold in outdoors businesses across Nelson, national chains are jumping in and he is in talks about marketing them in Australia.

A simple idea not unlike the butterfly clip used to hold up hair, the Sinkerlock locks on to the upper grip of a fishing rod and holds the sinker or lure securely, stopping it from bouncing around when being transported.

Mr Hodgson said since the launch he'd spoken to many people who welcomed the idea and had stories of how sinkers had marked or dented their boats and vehicles, or come loose to cause injuries.

He came up with the snapper-themed design himself and has employed Christchurch business Action Plastics to do the manufacturing, using tough plastic and stainless steel springs.

The Sinkerlock cost $20,000 to develop and bring to the market, and he was aided by a $10,000 grant from the Government's technology grants agency Callaghan Innovation through the Nelson Regional Economic Development Agency.

Other products have tried to address the problem but Mr Hodgson believes Sinkerlock has a number of advantages including that it allows the trace to be retained, prevents damage to the rod and is easy to deploy.

Its most important attribute was that it prevented people being injured by swinging hooks and sinkers - the very thing that got him thinking about it in the first place, he said.

It retailed at $19.99 and would hold 99 per cent of sinkers, lures and jigs and fit 99 per cent of fishing rods. He ordered 1000 before the Motueka show and on Monday ordered another 1000. The former co-owner of Anatoki Salmon in Golden Bay said the first order was a leap into the unknown but the second was demand-driven.

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He is now marketing his product as "disruptive technology" - something that "changes the way we've done things for 100 years".

- © Fairfax NZ News

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