Fish Rules reels in a deal with Stockholm-based Fishbrain

The Palm Beach startup has been acquired by one of the most popular fishing apps

It’s a prize catch for Swedish fishing app developer Fishbrain, who has just acquired Jupiter-born Fish Rules. The exact terms of the deal have not been made public, but Fish Rules founder Rick Blalock confirmed to Refresh Miami that he has become a full-time employee at Fishbrain.

Blalock, in his role as a strategic product manager, also said that Fishbrain will integrate all the data available in the Fish Rules app. The separate app will continue to be active. Alongside co-founder Albrey Arrington, Blalock [pictured above] has been developing Fish Rules for the better part of a decade, having gone full-time in December 2020. Arrington will work with Fishbrain in a consulting capacity.

Fish Rules helps anglers stay on top of relevant fishing regulations in their area. It is active for freshwater fishing in Florida, Texas, and Alabama; and it works for saltwater fishing everywhere from Maine to Texas, California, Hawaii, and the Caribbean. Fish Rules’ app currently has 700,000 users.

“Fishbrain is pretty much the number one fishing app,” said Blalock, noting it has upwards of 12 million users and approximately 150 employees around the world. Blalock had been in contact with Fishbrain’s CEO since they talked tech over lunch at a fishing innovation trade show in Orlando a few years ago. When Fish Rules was trawling for funding earlier this year, Blalock got back in touch. When each party started laying out their future plans, Blalock said they realized “woah, this is just too strategic.” The rest is history.

The Fish Rules team started the app with $2,000 and an idea. “We didn’t overthink it,” Blalock recalled. “We identified a pain point and decided to go for it.” He noted that success can take time, but small wins gradually compound into a bigger achievement.

Blalock hopes that news of Fishbrain’s acquisition can inspire other founders in Palm Beach and beyond. He shared two key takeaways. 

First, “you can start small, with not a lot, and do something that impacts millions of people.” In his case, the people affected are anglers. But the startup also has made a positive impact on the environment and the ocean ecosystem.

Second, “when you go all in and focus, you can move fast.” For Blalock, the decision to devote the bulk of his time to Fish Rules last year proved fruitful. “As soon as I went full-time, everything started revving up.”

Next up for Blalock is to integrate Fish Rules into Fishbrain’s app. Now a week into the job at Fishbrain, Blalock reports that everything has gone well so far: “It has been awesome. I’ve never come to a new company and just been able to start and immediately make an impact. But because we’re all in the same industry and have a similar user base, I was able to jump in on the first day.” Blalock will also leverage the relationships he has built through Fish Rules to expand Fishbrain’s US business.

Ultimately, the most exciting part of the acquisition for Blalock is to be able to help “many more people fish without fear: fishing sustainability and knowing the regulations.”


Riley Kaminer